Originally from Africa, aloe vera is a succulent plant with spiky, fleshy leaves that contain a clear gel that has healing properties. Aloe vera gel has been used as a skin soother for thousands of years—in fact, legend has it that Cleopatra used aloe as part of her beauty routine.
The ingredients in aloe vera gel can relieve pain, reduce swelling, ease itching, and increase blood flow to injured skin to help the healing process. People use aloe vera gel to treat sunburn, poison ivy, and other rashes. They also use it to treat insect stings and frostbite, and as a first aid remedy for minor burns (ones that don’t blister), cuts, and scrapes.
The best source of aloe vera gel is a live potted plant that you can keep on your windowsill (more on this below). Using the gel straight from the plant ensures that it’s fresh and that its active ingredients are full-strength.
For sunburn, rashes, insect stings, and frostbite: Simply spread aloe vera gel gently on irritated skin and let it soak in and dry. Many people find that aloe vera gel stops pain and itching as soon as it touches the skin. You can reapply it as often as you wish.
You can buy aloe vera plants at most plant stores and nurseries. They are very easy houseplants to grow. Place your plant in or near a window and water it thoroughly when the soil dries out. Be sure the pot has good drainage and don’t water it too often: overwatering aloe vera plants may cause the spongy leaves to rot at the base of the plant.
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