Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aloe: A plant every household should have

It's funny how some of us who are descendants of those from the Caribbean or even the South, forget the little things our Grandma's used to do to 'make it better.' 

My Grandmother was from St. Thomas and I grew up watching her brew things and grow things and cook things (many of which we didn't want to eat especially when you could get a Happy Meal from around the corner).  My mom used to torture us with our season dose of Cod Liver Oil - the liquid kind (there was a lot of crying and hiccuping during those episodes).  My Grandma grew her own herbs (the legal kind, thank you very much - she was cool, but not 'Cheech and Chong' cool) - and in her little kitchen in the Bronx, no less.  She would boil orange and lemon rinds and make teas and tell us to drink up because we'd feel better. 

I stroll down memory lane to say that Grandma and Momma knew what they were talking about, and I find it so refreshing that I am not one of few in my peer group, who actively and consistently continue with such practices, hence my blog ode to the plant "ALOE" (insert echoing sounds).  Being a sufferer of acne, I finally rediscovered that for a dollar a week (that's the cost of one aloe leaf in my neighborhood), that I have been able to combat over 20 years of -what I hate to say out loud- my shame.  Here is a list of 40 ways to use Aloe (I have seen this list on several sites but will reference AloeVeraForLiving.com for sharing this information from http://planetgreen.discovery.com).  Enjoy, and I hope incorporating Aloe in your life helps in some small or major way!

Topical Aloe Uses
1.    Pamper yourself to a soothing body rub. Slice aloe leaves lengthwise and use the inner sides as a biodegradable body scrub in the shower.
2.    Treat burns from minor mishaps in the kitchen—from grease splatters or hot utensils.
3.    For more major kitchen mishaps like a scald, mix some aloe gel and vitamin E oil into a little jar for a homemade burn healer.
4.    Banish black and blue bruises by swapping on the good goo.
5.    Soothe and heal sunburns the feel-good way. Aloe contains cooling properties similar to menthol.
6.    Take the sting or itch out of insect bites.
7.    Reduce tissue damage from frostbite.
8.    Alleviate mysterious rashes.
9.    Make feet baby soft with an exfoliating foot mask by mixing together a half cup of oatmeal, a half cup of corn meal, four tbsp. of aloe vera gel and a half cup of unscented body lotion.
10.    Help heal herpes outbreaks.
11.    Fight Athlete’s Foot.
12.    Swab over blisters for quick relief.
13.    Use as an antidote to allergic skin reactions.
14.    Replace creams and lotions as a general moisturizer for dry skin. Aloe is fast absorbing!
15.    Prevent pesky pimples and treat acne.
16.    Soothe Psoriasis.
17.    Prevent scarring and stretch marks.
18.    Help rid of Rosacea.
19.    Shrink warts.
20.    Reverse signs of aging skin and wrinkles. Cleopatra did!
21.    Help eliminate Eczema.
22.    Brighten skin. Aloe can decrease pigmentation and dark spots.
23.    Make skin new again with an exfoliating, organic sugar scrub by mixing together two tbsp. of aloe vera, 2 tbsp. of organic brown sugar and 1 tsp. of organic lemon juice.
24.    For rougher patches mix together an organic salt skin scrub using two cups of sea salt, one cup of aloe vera, one cup of organic coconut oil and two tbsp. of local, organic honey.
25.    Speed up hair growth by massaging aloe into the scalp, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and rinsing.
26.    Reduce hair dandruff by mixing aloe vera juice with coconut milk and wheat germ oil. Massage into scalp and rinse.
27.    Replace aloe with conditioner for silkier, smoother hair.
28.    Remove eye makeup.
29.    Treat minor vaginal irritations.

Oral Aloe Uses
30.    Drink aloe vera juice to relieve gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion.
31.    Sip it to aid in elimination. Many times, it’s recommended for its laxative effects.
32.    Take a swig to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including bloating and discomfort.
33.    Take aloe orally to relieve heartburn, arthritis and rheumatism pain.
34.    Boil leaves in a pan of water and breathe in the vapor to alleviate asthma.
35.    Drink to lower blood sugar levels—especially for diabetics.
36.    Strengthen gums and promote strong, healthy teeth by taking orally or use toothpaste with aloe vera ingredients.
37.    Drink to help ease congestion, stomach ulcers, colitis, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections and prostate problems.
38.    Take orally to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides for a healthy heart.
39.    Sip to minimize inflammation and infection of the eye and ear.
40.    Toast to its general detoxifier and health boosting qualities!

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