Here is something that benefits us externally and internally. Known as the medicinal herb, it supports the natural repair process of damaged skin. It is the natural healer Aloe Vera. And did you know that it is also edible? It does make refreshingly healthy juices and smoothies. And while you mostly see it being consumed as a juice, it is quite common to see it added to yogurt and beverages too.

The gel found within this very succulent plant's fleshy leaves is believed to have remarkable calming and healing properties. Its goodness has long been known to those who practice home remedies. Infact, families often pass down the benefits of aloe vera through generations. Commonly used in herbal medications, this is an easy-to-grow plant especially in warmer climates and has been recognized for its antibiotic and antifungal compounds that reduce pain and skin irritation. Aloe vera contains enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and sugars that are all beneficial to the human body and the presence of these reduce swelling, cleanse and sooth the body and also aid digestion.

The uses of Aloe vera are varied. It can not only be consumed but can also be made into gels or powders and even be added to products. Many skincare products contain aloe vera because of its moisturizing benefits.

Aloe Facts
1. Aloe Vera though bitter, is an acquired taste. If it is your first time, give it some time and you will begin to enjoy it.
2. Regular intake of aloe vera juice prevents constipation.
3. It is used in many forms for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. It is an antioxidant.

Aloe and Beauty
Being allergic to aloe vera is very rare but to check; apply a small amount of the gel on your inner arm and let dry. If a burning sensation is experienced wash off with water and avoid using it until you have checked with your doctor.
1. It helps smoothen the skins surface and reduce marks.
2. To prevent dandruff it can be applied on the scalp.
3. It helps give your face a soft and radiant look.
4. For a Scrub: Mix 4 tbsps of Aloe vera gel with 1 tbsp of fine Himalayan salt and apply to your body.
5. For Cream: Blend together 50 grams of aloe vera gel, peeled cucumber and water till smooth and refrigerate in a sealed bottle for up to a week.
6. For Spray: Mix Aloe Vera juice or gel with water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and spray the affected area. This mixture can last upto a week if refrigerated.

Did You Know
1. It contains 18 amino acids
2. It is commonly used to sooth sunburned skin.
3. It is rich in compounds that help treating diabetes and elevating blood lipids.
4. It eases muscular conditions and allergies.
5. Raw aloe is very slimy but cooking it does reduce the sliminess considerably, but it still does have a slippery feel to it.

RECIPES
Aloe and Blueberry Smoothie
1 cup aloe vera gel
1 cup orange juice
1 cup frozen blueberries

Blend all the ingredients together till smooth and serve chilled.

Simmered Aloe
1 cup Aloe vera gel (or as required)
1 cup sugar
1 lemon juice

Put together chopped aloe gel cubes along with sugar and lime juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium flame until the liquid is no longer slimy. Allow to cool and serve over plain yogurt.

Aloe Vera, Apple and Cucumber Juice
2 tbsp liquid aloe vera (extracted from leaves)
1 cucumber
1 apple
1 tbsp lemon juice

Blend the cucumber and apple well. Add lemon juice and aloe vera to it. Blend together and serve chilled.

Aloe Vera Refresher
Aloe vera gel (fresh)
Rock sugar
(quantity as required)

Rinse the sap from the aloe vera gel with water. Then boil and sweeten with rock sugar as per taste and chill. Serve chilled with lemon.