Wednesday, December 30, 2009
In 2009, I have discovered the joys of two amazing ingredients that I now use every single day. Aloe Vera Juice and Unrefined Coconut Oil. This post is about aloe. I'll save coconut oil for next time.
Aloe Vera is a desert succulent plant with a tough green exterior and a translucent fleshy interior. While we usually see aloe sold in bottles looking like bright green gel, this is not actually its natural state. Color, gelling agents, stabilizers, preservatives, and even fragrance may be added to aloe juice to create that emerald concoction we see on store shelves. True aloe vera is a clear gelatinous fillet cut straight from the plant or is also available as pure juice. You can find gallon jugs of aloe vera juice (99% organic aloe vera juice with citric acid/potassium sorbate or some other food grade preservative) at Trader Joe's or health food stores like Whole Foods.
Most of us know that aloe is an excellent remedy for sunburns and rashes. But it does sooo much more than that! Here are some of aloe's wonderful benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory topically and internally
- Detoxifying topically and internally
- Amino Acid, Vitamin and Mineral-rich
- Immune Boosting
- Scar Healing/Tissue Repairing
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
About a year ago, my facialist and I were talking about my very difficult skin that has for years been prone to inflammation and cystic breakouts due to hormones, stress, etc. She said "Hey, do you ever drink aloe juice? It just occurred to me that this might be helpful to you." This thought was based on the fact, I think, that she perceived my skin concerns to be emotionally-seated and the result of a fire/liver imbalance (ayurvedically speaking). The day of her recommendation, I went out and bought a jug of organic aloe vera juice and began drinking the recommended serving of 2 to 8 ounces each day. Let me tell you, it's got a strong tart taste that strikes you as fairly unpleasant. I recommend mixing it with a 100% juice at first. I promise it gets easier.
I now drink 6 oz each morning mixed with 6 oz of water. Not only have I gotten used to the taste, but I now crave it if I have to go without. On a trip to New York, I had to run into a Whole Foods in Manhattan for a small bottle of pure aloe vera juice and could hardly wait to crack it open outside! I also mist it onto my face twice a day in place of a toner.
As, for the benefits I experienced? Aloe has been the number one factor in helping to clear up my skin, minimize pores and scarring, and reduce hyperpigmentation and redness. In fact, I went went without it for a month and my skin began to backslide, but quickly cleared up as I started drinking it again a couple of weeks ago. This effect inspired me to blog about this amazing plant! I also recently learned that my great aunt, who has now outlived all her siblings, drinks aloe vera juice every single day. I will follow her example and keep it a part of my morning for the rest of my life as I can't say enough good things about aloe and I encourage others to try it if they feel it may help them too.
Just like with any supplement, check with your doctor before taking it internally.