Aloe Vera is found in many “health” drinks. You can eat this raw (quite bitter). There are many variations, and found in many different types of products from smoothies to shampoos!
I am a bit suspicious of the processed versions, and suspect the ingredient is often just there to “sell” the product.
Be warned there is an irritant side this plant too – which you must be careful to exclude. Its the rich orange part right under the leaf skin (the latex layer). The rest of the fleshy stuff is a wonderful natural gel to help the skin condition ! Research has indicated it contains enzymes, hormones, vitamins, sugars, minerals, steroids, amino acids and other substances which:
- aids collagen synthesis and helps heal scar tissue
- has antiseptic and pain relief properties
- has anti-inflammatory action
- has anti-aging properties
- is exfoliating and encourages cell renewal (has some salicyclic acid)
- enhances penetrative effect of other ingredients into skin (contains lignin)
- has a cleansing effect (contains some saponins, which are soapy)
Many of the goodness properties are lost by the processing methods, so its possible that the aloe vera extract you buy from shops many not really be doing anything much. Better keep this as a houseplant and use it fresh. Some do experience an allergic reaction to this (bit of skin redness) so be cautious. If you do buy processed, go for the least processed that you can find. When its mixed in with other ingredients, you cannot be sure there is enough of it in a product to actually even be of any benefit. Green colour is not a good sign at all…its either leaf mixed in (not good) or it means colour has been added for marketing purposes!
Fresh is best. Frozen is good if you can find it. Lightly heat treated and packed in sterile bottles with mild preservatives is ok. Freeze dried is ok. Highly heat treated is not good.
By Kalpna, Cosmetic Scientist at Spa Isha Aromatherapy