Aloe Vera … A useful house plant – Part 2
Houseplants offer some surprising perks, from purifying the air in your home to improving your mood. The benefits of an aloe vera plant are, especially, obvious, as anyone who has ever rubbed the gel from the plant on a nasty sunburn knows. If you grow the pricky succulent at home, there’s no need to spend money on aloe products from the drugstore. With the right knowledge, it’s easy to harvest homegrown aloe vera and take advantage of its medicinal properties.
Active compounds in aloe vera have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and promote the growth of new skin cells. That’s why the plant is used as a treatment for everything from dry skin to first and second-degree burns.
If you have an aloe vera plant growing in your garden or on your window sill, you can harvest the mature leaves once they develop a reddish colour at their base. Use a knife or shears to cut them close to the stem, and take care to avoid pricking your hands on the leaves’ serrated edges.
Your freshly cut aloe vera leaf should release a yellowish liquid from the opening. This substance is called aloesin, and it can be toxic. Allow it to drain completely by resting the cut end of the leaf over a plate or bowl for at least one hour.
Why aloe vera is key for treating dark spots on the body
Not as many body care products priortise dark spot treatment, yet hyperpigmentation can happen anywhere. Fortunately, there’s no ingredient that’s easier to formulate in body lotions that, according why aloe vera is A+ for dark spots.
The ingredient you may not have thought of for treating these very marks: Aloe vera. A common misconception is that aloe vera is only useful for post-sunburn relief, but it actually has countless additional benefits, dark spot treatment being one of them.
Aloe vera contains a natural compound called aloesin, which has brightening capabilities that can help speed up the fading process. In one study, aloe was applied to the skin four times a day for two weeks. Aloesin was proved effective with fading post-acne hyper-pigmentation in that study.
In another report, topical application of aloesin proved to directly inhibit hyper pigmented skin from producing more melanin- hyperpigmentation simply means excess melanin production in your skin, so keeping the pigment-producing cells from becoming overactive is key.
Unexpected uses for aloe vera that go beyond sunburns
Aloe is a member of the succulent plant species and is believed to have originated in the arid Arabian Desert. There are some 500 species of aloe, only some of which contain medicinal properties. Aloe Vera has tick serrated leaves that are lance-shaped, starting wider at their base and then tapering to a point. The root systems of aloe plants tend to grow wide, but not deep into soil. Therefore, when transplanting aloe it is common practice to move them into a wider, but not deeper pot, as they grow. One important feature of the root system is that it forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a fungus that penetrates inside the roots to allow better access to mineral nutrients in the soil.
Uses of aloe vera
Aloe vera is used in cosmetic industry for the preparation of shampoo, face cream, shaving cream, and moisturisers. It is also used in pickles and vegetables. To treat fever, enlarged liver, spleen and other glands aloe is used. It is used to treat gonorrhea, constipation, menstrual suppressions, piles, jaundice, rheumatic disease, and also for the treatment of burns and bruises.
Health benefits of aloe vera
1. It is used as an antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotics, antifungal, antiseptic and germicidal.
2. To treat skin disease
3. To treat urine treated problems, ulcers, pimples.
4. It is good source of vitamin and minerals.
5. It is a well-known adaptogen
6. It helps with digestion
7. It helps in detoxification process
8. It is healthy for heart
Cultivation practices of aloe vera
• Aloe vera can be cultivated in a wide range of soil from sandy to loam soil.
• It thrives best in light sandy soils.
• Soil should be well-drained soil because it is susceptible for water-logging.
• It is suitable in potential of hydrogen (PH) up to 8.5
• In black cotton soil, growth would be faster
• It can tolerate soil with salty nature
• It thrives best with higher foliage
• It is a warm tropical crop
• It can grow in various climatic condition.
• It can successfully grow in low rainfall region and dry areas with warm humid conditions.
• It is very sensitive to extreme cold condition.
• It can’t tolerate frost and cool climatic condition.
3. Land Preparation
• Land can be prepared by ploughing twice before cultivation.
• Remove the weeds thoroughly to reduce the crop-weed competition
• Prepared small canals for the drainage of extra water which is collected in the field.
• Apply 15-20 tonnes/hectares of well rotten farm yard manure or cow dung manure during the time of last ploughing is added to increase the soil fertility.
4. Propagation Of Aloe Vera
• Aloe vera can be cultivated through root suckers or rhizome cuttings.
• For the root suckers, select medium size root suckers.
• Carefully plant the root suckers without damaging the mother plant at the base.
• Plant directly in main field.
• For rhizome cuttings, take about 6cm length cuttings with 2-3 nodes and place on prepared seed beds.
• Once sprouts are popping up, transplant it in the main field.
• 15,000 suckers are required for 1 acre of nursery.
• Required plant to plant distance is 40cm distance.
• Root suckers or rhizome cuttings are planted in such a way that 2/3 position root suckers/rhizomes cutting should be under the ground.
• Aloe vera can grow in both irrigated and rain fed conditions.
• Once sucker is planted in the main field, provide the irrigation immediately.
• For the good yield of the aloe vera, provide couple of irrigation in hot days.
• In rainy season, avoid water logging in field.
7. Intercultural operations
• Earthing up should be carried out after around 40 days. After applying a top dressing of fertilizer, earthing up is also done.
• Regular weeding is necessary to reduce the crop-weed competition.
8. Manures and fertilizers
• Application of 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare of well -rotten FYM or cow dung manure. Apply same dose of FYM should be applied every year.
• Apply N for nitrogen; P for phosphorus; K for potassium.
(N: P: K) fertiliser 50:50 basally.
• Aloe vera plant is ready for harvesting from second year after planting.
• Picking of leaves can be carried out in monsoon or evening.
• Total of three harvests can be carried out in one year.
• Aloe vera is a labour intensive crop.
• The leaves will again regenerate after harvesting up to five years after planting of the aloe vera.
10. Post-harvesting practices
• After harvesting of the leaves, the crop is allowed to loose moisture in field to prevent the growth of mould.
• Stack and store in concrete floor.
11. Aloe vera products.
• Skin products- fresh gel, toner, and massage cream.
• In food – juice, jam, pickles, powder, it is used in desserts and yogurts.
12. Economic life and yield
Commercial yield of the aloe vera can be obtained from second and fifth year and after the plant is re-planted. Average yield of aloe vera is 40-45 tonnes of leaves.
Aloe vera provides many nutritional substances, including vitamins, antioxidants vitamins, and aminoacids. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E and some B vitamins, as well as folic acid. Vitamins A, C, and E are vitamins with an antioxidant effect, meaning they can protect against damage from free radicals.
Additionally, aloe vera contains 19 of 20 amino acids necessary for health and seven of the eight amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and that we take in through our diet.
Aloe vera and cancer
There are claims that aloe vera has anti-cancer properties, though there have been very limited studies of using aloe vera in cancer prevention. A 2015 study suggested that aloe vera crude extract helped prevent breast and cervical cancer cell growth and increased the therapeutic efficacy of convectional drugs, such as cisplatin.
However, further study is necessary before confirming any claims of aloe vera as being as effective anticancer properties on a cellular level.
Additionally, the international agency for research on cancer has also classified specifically whole leaf extract of aloe vera as a potential carcinogen.
Aloe vera is a natural product now frequently used in the field of cosmetology, medical and herbal science that one cannot afford to miss its many benefits in the home.