By Jennifer Di Francesco
The Desert summer is upon us. Our skin dries out and is generally more susceptible to the ravages of heat and sun. This means extra precaution needs to be taken to treat the skin in caring ways. The most prevalent natural remedy we have at our fingertips – that grows abundantly in our desert climate – is Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is known as the “lily of the desert”. The Arabic word “alloeh” means “bitter”; hence, the word for the aloe plant was formed, since the liquid inside this plant has a bitter taste and was used so often internally. Since 68 to 30 B.C. Cleopatra used the gel on her skin as protection from the sun.
In our day and age, we need a bit more protection from the sun than Aloe Vera, yet these healing plants’ benefits are numerous. The Aloe plant is 95% water. The remaining ingredients are amino acids, essential oil, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glycoproteins. In many instances, these ingredients are what we look for in just one over-the-counter product, and they are all housed in a plant in our backyard! The useful part of aloe for topical use is the gel. This is obtained from the cells in the center of the leaf. This topical remedy can be used to treat burns, frostbite, psoriasis, cold sores, skin damage caused by radiation from cancer and wounds. There is supporting evidence that aloe is able to affect circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the skin to increase productivity of blood flow and have anti-bacterial qualities. The wonderful qualities of this resilient plant ensure that regardless of the temperature and climate of our desert the plant is obtainable. Aloe can withstand freezing air temperatures as well as severe drought, so it is always alive. In previous posts, the benefits of lavender oil were overviewed. Now, a formulation can be made of Aloe and lavender oil; both amazing for a burn. We tend to forget about the profound healing effects from some of the simplest, most natural resources. We must not overlook that Aloe is currently a multi-billion dollar business – it’s an ingredient in many cosmetics we purchase and is one of the most widely used substances in the U.S for bruises and burns. What better way to use the healing effects of this plant by snipping off a juicy leaf and scooping out a meaty part of the center where the living juice resides? Your skin will appreciate this age old natural remedy.