The Bitter Beauty of Aloe Vera

Uses and Functions of the Spiky Plant

By: Victoria Ifatusin

Roses, daisies, tulips and lilies are plants typically associated with beauty and are lovely when worn in one’s hair. But what about aloe vera?

Known for its odd and spiky shape along with its bitter taste, it is a plant that is often ignored. Despite its funny look, this “wonder-plant” has many purposes good for intake and external factors of the human body.

Aloe vera is a plant that comes from the plant genus Aloe. It usually blooms in tropical climates with hot weather such as West Africa and Indonesia, cultivated for agricultural and medicinal reasons.

The plant dates back to Egypt, where it was originally used for medicinal uses. According to an article published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, ancient Egypt referred to the plant as the “plant of immortality,” due to its many duties. It eventually sprung out to be utilized therapeutically in countries like China, Japan, India, Greece and Mexico.

Aloe vera heals sunburns. Research has shown that aloe vera is a great lotion used on sunburns and mild burns. It treats the epithelial level of skin. The upper layer of cells that cover the body. Due to the nutritional and antioxidants that are included in the plant, the burn heals faster.

It prevents acne. Auxin and Gibberellins are two hormones that are found in aloe vera that supply wound healing properties that reduce skin inflammation. According to, “aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.”

It serves as a moisturizer. For people with an oily skin complexion, aloe vera is their go-to application for their skin. For women, it is recommended for the face before the application of makeup to prevent the skin from drying. For men, aloe vera can be used after shaving as it can heal small cuts caused by a razor.

It acts as a heartburn relief. According to, “1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).” Since the plant is low in toxicity, it serves as a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.

It helps to lower blood sugar. Aloe vera can be taken for heartburn relief. It can also be taken to reduce blood sugar. According to a study in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy, two tablespoons of aloe vera juice can cause blood sugar levels to reduce in people with type two diabetes.

Aloe vera serves as a laxative. The plant also aids digestion, as many researches and tests have been tried with successful results. Most results showed that the gel of aloe vera was able to relieve constipation and allow digestion.

As one can see, aloe vera is truly an all-purpose plant. The list of positive effects this plant has on the human body is virtually endless.

You can drink it, eat it, moisturize with it, calm irritated skin and so much more. It’s a great holistic alternative for individuals who aren’t comfortable using over-the-counter products to combat common pains.

Another great benefit, is the plant’s ridiculously low price. Instead of buying a pre-formulated aloe vera gel from a health and wellness store, you can go to almost any store with a gardening section such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, and buy your very own aloe vera plant for less than 20 dollars.

If you’re looking to make a small yet significant change in your life, add aloe vera to your daily routine. You will not be disappointed.

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