Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aloe vera

KM: After a long weekend soaking up the Italian sun in Sorrento, I feel as though my topic is appropriate assuming my situation. Though the weather was beautiful, the sun was viciously hot. No amount of sunscreen could have protected me fully from the radiation. Luckily I had access to Aloe vera, which soothed my skin. Aloe vera, as we saw walking through the Vatican Gardens, is used to moisturize skin as it soaks to the deepest layer of tissue. Since I already knew this purpose of the plant, I decided to do some further research. I found numerous uses for Aloe vera. In the Philippines, the plant accompanies milk to treat kidney infections. In Japan, it can be found in yogurt, or beverages. I never imagined orally consuming this product. Physicians, including Greek and Romans, have taken advantage of it in their practices. Aloe serves as an anti-inflammatory and is often used as a natural remedy and in medicines.

I was surprised to learn that this plant belongs to the lily and onion family! Each thick, green leaf contains a gel housing many nutrients including various minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. Commonly, in the center of the plant is a flower, also known as a stalk, typically yellow, which contains the plants seeds. These seeds can be replanted to expand the growth of Aloe vera.

To grow, Aloe vera requires a fair amount of sunlight, which is ironic because it is used to treat people who soaked up too much sun! During the winter months, it should be kept inside near a window and doesn’t ask for much water. In the summer, it does well outside, requiring water often.

I’m am fascinated by this plant and I can understand where it gets it’s nickname, the “miracle plant” because it has helped sooth my Italian sunburn.

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