Indoor plants offer surprising benefits, from purifying the air in your home to improving your mood. The benefits of an aloe vera plant are particularly evident, as anyone who has ever rubbed the plant’s gel on a bad sunburn will know. If you’re growing the pungent succulent at home, there’s no need to spend money on aloe products from the drugstore. With the right knowledge, it is easy to harvest aloe vera from home and benefit from its medicinal properties.
The active compounds in aloe vera have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and promote the growth of new skin cells. That’s why the plant is used as a treatment for everything from dry skin to first- and second-degree burns.
If you have an aloe vera plant growing in your garden or on your windowsill, you can harvest the mature leaves once they have developed a reddish color at their base. Use a knife or shears to cut them close to the stem and be careful not to prick your hands on the jagged edges of the leaves.
Your freshly cut aloe vera leaf should release a yellowish liquid from the opening. This substance is called aloesin and can be toxic. Let it drain completely by laying the cut end of the leaf on a plate or bowl for at least an hour.
Why aloe vera is essential for treating dark spots on the body
Few body care products focus on treating dark spots, but hyperpigmentation can happen anywhere. Luckily, there’s no easier-to-formulate ingredient in body lotions than why aloe vera is A+ for dark spots.
The ingredient you may not have thought of to treat those same spots: Aloe vera. A common misconception is that aloe vera is only useful for relief after sunburn, but it actually has countless additional benefits, treating dark spots being one of them.
Aloe vera contains a natural compound called aloesin, which has lightening abilities that can help speed up the fading process. In one study, aloe was applied to the skin four times a day for two weeks. Aloesin was found to be effective against post-acne hyperpigmentation in this study.
In another report, topical application of aloesin was found to directly prevent hyper-pigmented skin from producing more melanin – hyperpigmentation simply means excess production of melanin in your skin, so it’s essential to prevent the pigment-producing cells from becoming overactive.
Unexpected uses for aloe vera that go beyond sunburn
Aloe is one of the succulent plant species and is said to have originated from the arid Arabian desert. There are about 500 species of aloe, only some of which have medicinal properties. Aloe Vera has serrated, lance-shaped leaves, starting wider at their base and then tapering to a point. The root systems of aloe plants tend to spread out, but not deep into the ground. Therefore, when transplanting aloes, it is common practice to move them to a wider, but not deeper, pot as they grow. An important characteristic of the root system is that it forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a fungus that penetrates inside the roots to allow better access to mineral nutrients from the soil.
Uses of aloe vera
Aloe vera is used in the cosmetic industry for the preparation of shampoo, face cream, shaving cream and moisturizers. It is also used in pickles and vegetables. To treat fever, enlarged liver, spleen and other glands, aloe is used. It is used to treat gonorrhea, constipation, menstrual suppression, hemorrhoids, jaundice, rheumatic diseases, as well as for the treatment of burns and bruises.
Health benefits of aloe vera
1. It is used as an antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and germicide.
2. To treat skin diseases
3. To treat problems treated by urine, ulcers, pimples.
4. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
5. It is a well-known adaptogen
6. It helps digestion
7. It helps in the detoxification process
8. It’s heart healthy
Aloe Vera Cultivation Practices
• Aloe vera can be grown in a wide range of soils from sandy to loamy soil.
• It thrives best in light sandy soils.
• Soil should be well-drained soil as it is likely to get waterlogged.
• It is suitable for hydrogen potential (PH) up to 8.5
• In black cotton soil, growth would be faster
• It can tolerate saline soils
• It thrives best with taller foliage
• It is a warm tropical crop
• It can grow in various climatic conditions.
• It can grow successfully in regions with low rainfall and dry areas with hot and humid conditions.
• It is very sensitive to extreme cold.
• It does not support frost and cold weather conditions.
3. Land preparation
• Land can be prepared by plowing twice before cultivation.
• Remove weeds carefully to reduce crop-weed competition
• Prepared small channels for the drainage of additional water that is collected on the ground.
• Apply 15-20 tonnes/hectare of well-rotted farmyard manure or cow dung during the last tillage period to increase soil fertility.
4. Propagation of Aloe Vera
• Aloe vera can be grown by suckers or rhizome cuttings.
• For root suckers, select medium-sized root suckers.
• Plant the suckers carefully without damaging the mother plant at the base.
• Plant directly into the main field.
• For rhizome cuttings, take cuttings about 6cm long with 2-3 nodes and place them on prepared seedbeds.
• Once sprouts appear, transplant them into the main field.
• 15,000 suckers are needed for 1 acre of nursery.
• The required distance between plants is 40 cm.
• Root suckers or rhizome cuttings are planted so that 2/3 root suckers/rhizome cuttings are below ground.
• Aloe vera can grow in both irrigated and rainfed conditions.
• Once the sucker is planted in the main field, irrigate immediately.
• For a good yield of aloe vera, plan a few waterings on hot days.
• In the rainy season, avoid waterlogging the field.
7. Cross-cultural operations
• The earthwork must be carried out after approximately 40 days. After applying a top dressing of fertilizers, hilling is also carried out.
• Regular weeding is necessary to reduce crop-weed competition.
8. Manures and fertilizers
• Application of 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare of well-rotted FYM or cow dung manure. Apply the same dose of FYM should be applied each year.
• Apply N for nitrogen; P for phosphorus; K for potassium.
(N:P:K) 50:50 base fertilizer.
• The Aloe vera plant is ready to be harvested from the second year after planting.
• Leaf picking can be done during the monsoon or in the evening.
• A total of three harvests can be made in one year.
• Aloe vera is a labor intensive crop.
• Leaves will regenerate again after harvest for up to five years after planting the aloe vera.
10. Post-harvest practices
• After leaf harvest, the crop is allowed to lose moisture in the field to prevent mold growth.
• Stack and store in a concrete floor.
11. Aloe vera products.
• Products for the skin – fresh gel, tonic and massage cream.
• In food – juices, jams, pickles, powder, it is used in desserts and yogurts.
12. Economic life and yield
Commercial yield of aloe vera can be obtained from the second and fifth year and after replanting the plant. The average yield of aloe vera is 40-45 tons of leaves.
Aloe vera provides many nutritional substances, including vitamins, antioxidant vitamins and amino acids. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E and some B vitamins, as well as folic acid. Vitamins A, C and E are vitamins with an antioxidant effect, which means that they can protect against damage caused by free radicals.
In addition, aloe vera contains 19 of the 20 amino acids necessary for health and seven of the eight amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and that we absorb through our diet.
Aloe vera and cancer
Some claim that aloe vera has anti-cancer properties, although there have been very limited studies on the use of aloe vera in cancer prevention. A 2015 study suggested that raw aloe vera extract helped prevent the growth of breast and cervical cancer cells and increased the therapeutic effectiveness of convection drugs, such as cisplatin.
However, further study is needed before confirming any claims of aloe vera to have such effective anti-cancer properties at the cellular level.
Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has also specifically classified aloe vera whole leaf extract as a potential carcinogen.
Aloe vera is a natural product now frequently used in the field of cosmetology, medicine and herbal medicine whose many benefits we cannot afford to miss at home.