Homegrown First Aid: Aloe Vera's Medicinal Uses

Though she initially turned to it for arthritis, the author discovered aloe vera's medical uses included relief from bleeding, insect bites, burns, and indigestion.


| May/June 1979



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Aloe vera has multiple medicinal uses.

PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

When I first developed arthritis in my hands, the doctors tried every remedy from aspirin to gold, but my fingers stayed so swollen and stiff that I couldn’t make a fist. In fact, the oppressive ailment actually kept getting worse despite the “best professional care.”

Then one day I was painfully trying to grasp a pen (I had to get some bills paid) when a childhood memory flashed into my mind: When my family had lived in the Southwest, one of our Mexican neighbors had claimed that a person could heal a great number of ailments with the juicy pulp of the Aloe vera plant. So, since I’d already tried every other antidote, I bought one of the so-called “medicine plants,” started drinking teaspoons of extracted aloe juice, and rubbed my hands twice daily with the gel from a broken leaf.

It wasn’t long before most of the swelling and stiffness in my joints went away. I could even wear my wedding band again! And, to this day — as long as I regularly “treat” myself — my aloe “doctor” has continued to control my arthritic symptoms.

The range of aloe vera's medicine uses beyond relieving inflammation soon became apparent too. A few weeks after I began healing myself with aloe, I noticed that my hands were getting smoother and more refined. Then I massaged my arms, legs and face with the oily gel, and the skin became softer and “younger” looking — in short, revitalized. Now I use this “natural lotion” regularly, and my face never chaps or dries out even in winter!

(I’m hardly the first to use aloe for beauty; research shows that the plant was Cleopatra’s secret cosmetic! In fact, the many wonders of the “wands of heaven” — as some American Indians call the plant — have been known for thousands of years. The Greeks appreciated the healing powers of the spiked leaves, Columbus took some “potted physicians” along on his second voyage to the New World, and Aloe vera is even rumored to have grown throughout the Garden of Eden!)

This living “first-aid kit” did so much for me — after nothing else had brought me relief — that I wanted to learn all I could about it. In order to get an expert opinion, I looked up a biochemist who was studying the plant. This researcher confessed that Aloe vera’s curative properties defy accurate scientific analysis. He had discovered, though, one reason why the spiny-leaved plants heal so effectively: They contain numerous cleansing agents and catalysts, as well as (apparently) “every compound essential to the formation and proper function of the human cell.”

carmen ortiz
11/24/2012 9:25:45 PM

I use it for burns also. The most recent was a second degree burn. I always cool burns with cold water as soon as it happens to stop the internal heat which makes it worse. After, I go to my plants, pull a leaf and put the liquid on the burn. I have no scars. (If I could only stop being careless, no more burns. LOL)






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