The Aloe barbadensis plant has long been synonymous with burn care. The common name Aloe vera means true or genuine aloe and it is native to Africa. A liquid or pill form is taken internally for digestive health, and to detoxify the liver and blood. Externally, the plant's gel is used for a number of traditional health and beauty remedies.
Aloe vera gel helps to heal burned skin. It is effective in treating sunburn, as well as all minor surface burns. The wet side of a split leaf from the plant is placed directly onto the burn. This can be repeated as often as needed. Aloe contains glycoproteins which reduce inflammation and pain. The gel also contains polysaccharides, which stimulate skin growth and repair. Aloe gel has natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, all of which are beneficial to minor burns. Severe open burns should not be treated, as they need to be brought to medical attention.
Aloe vera contains vitamin E, which is indicated for the healing of scars and wrinkle prevention. It also stimulates the skin to produce collagen and elastin, important for youthful looking skin. Aloe ointments are useful in treating dry skin disorders such as eczema, while its antibacterial properties are good for fighting acne. The antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful when applied to rashes to reduce swelling and itching. Aloe vera gel directly from the plant can be applied to skin.
Hair and Scalp
Aloe can be added to shampoos and conditioners. The amino acids strengthen the hair and make it shiny. Aloe also helps balance scalp and hair pH. Aloe gel or liquid can be rubbed directly onto the scalp to treat dandruff. You can combine aloe with other herbal ingredients such as jojoba, a known hair moisturizer. It can also be mixed with tea tree oil, which is another remedy for dandruff. Aloe vera hair products can be used on a regular basis without any adverse effects.