Monday, August 27, 2007

One-stop beauty shop

Aloe, a member of the lily family, is called kumaari (the virgin) in Sanskrit as it offers possibilities for rejuvenation and renewal. It is aptly called so, as the herb imparts youthful energy and enhances feminity. There are about 300 species, but Aloe indica Royle is the most popular. It is also known as Aloe vera (common or true aloe).

Growing aloe at home:
Growing an aloe plant at home is the easiest way to get fresh concentrated gel. It is easy to grow, requiring only good drainage, mild temperatures, and occasional watering. It tolerates either full or partial sunlight, but requires more frequent watering in full sun.
When harvesting your Aloe vera plant, always take an outside leaf first, as this will have the greatest curative properties. Break off the top of the leaf, cut it lengthwise and scoop the pulp out.

For dull skin: Apply aloe pulp on your face. It clears blemishes and gives you fresh, baby soft skin. Drinking 10 ml aloe juice daily also helps cleanse your skin.

For wrinkles: Aloe prevents wrinkles and defies signs of ageing. Aloe vera pulp penetrates quickly and deeply, and it is retained by the skin better than water. Its enzymes remove dead cells, provide moisture and nutrition, and restore the skin’s elasticity.

For acne: Aloe clears acne by opening the skin pores and removing the excess oil. The scars left by acne should be treated with aloe pulp.

For sunburn: Aloe provides effective protection against both UV-A which causes premature ageing, and UV-B which causes sunburn and skin darkening. Application of aloe juice along with turmeric removes sunburn and reduces oiliness.

For dull hair: Mix fresh aloe pulp with curd (for very oily hair, add fuller’s earth too) and apply it to your hair half an hour before bath. It will make your hair bouncy and lustrous.

For wounds and bruises: Aloe gel hardens into a natural bandage due to its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties and is widely used for the external treatment of minor wounds and inflammatory skin disorders, cuts, bruises and abrasions.

Precautions: Aloe gel is generally safe for topical use, but it is best to apply it to a small area first to test for possible allergic reaction.