The wonders of aloe vera

I WAS introduced to aloe vera many years ago, when I witnessed its healing properties first hand, seeing someone’s severe skin infection disappear through nothing other than raw Aloe vera juice.

This is one plant you need to include in your herb garden as it has become a world renowned commercialised plant with lotions and juices now on sale.

But nothing beats the natural plant itself used in its raw form.

Why then is Aloe vera a wonder?

It is the skin doctor. Aloe vera is a quick remedy for cuts, burns, wounds and skin irritations. It is also now used in beauty therapy to treat skin abnormalities such as acne and blemishes.

Furthermore, it is outstanding for first degree burns and even in treating deep wounds.

For a brand new look apply the fresh gel to the face and leave it to dry for an hour and rinse your face afterwards.

However, aloe vera’s use is not limited to external uses only though it has a bitter taste when taken orally. The plant has become popular for treating stomach ulcers and for boosting the immune system. This is achieved by simply cutting the leaf in two and scraping the gel in to a glass of warm water that is taken orally. But as is the case with any medications always consult your doctor before taking or mixing it with any other prescribed drugs.

There has been some concerns to its toxicity with regards to the amount of aloin it contains.

Aloe vera is a plant of the Lily family which contains many other aloe species which are popular for flowering during winter. Visiting our savanna landscape this time of the year, one will not miss the red and yellow blooms of Aloes.

However the origins of Aloe vera are a bone of contention as it has become common in many parts of the world.

Aloe vera is a very popular plant in the garden considering it is easy to propagate, drought resistant and produces attractive blooms. The parent plants quickly send out young Aloes which grow fast and can be separated from the mother plant.

Vegetative propagation is always recommended as most Aloe species hybridise with other nearby plants forming new distinctive Aloe plants.

Grow your Aloe vera on rockeries or any area where high fertility is doubtful. However the plant will reward you if planted in a well drained fertile area.

As with other succulents Aloe vera suffers if planted in water logged soils, causing the crown to rot. Also plant Aloe vera in a full sun position. Alternatively Aloe vera can be successfully grown in pots requiring re-potting once pot bound.

Position your pots in the best attractive spots in your garden, preferably against a wall in multiples.

Common pests on Aloes are scale, red spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids. All these require the use of systemic insecticides such as malathion, dimethoate and summer oil. Aloe vera’s healing properties cannot be brushed away. You either decide to grow your own or buy products with aloe extracts!

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