The skin-saving succulent » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

Find out the amazing benefits of aloe vera on the skin

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By Dr. Kaycee Reyes

Got a lotta love for aloe vera? You should, because this succulent you tend to ignore is supercharged with skin benefits you will surely love! The use of aloe vera dates back to thousands of years and has been widely known across cultures and generations. It was believed to have originated in Africa, until it eventually spread across the world. The Egyptians used it for beauty, regarded it as a sacred symbol, and even utilized it to gauge someone’s wealth. The Greeks and Romans, on the other hand, believed that aloe vera was an all-in-one cure for diseases. The Japanese even regarded it as an elixir; while the Indians and Chinese used aloe vera as well for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. In short, our ancestors were right: Aloe vera is indeed a “miracle plant,” a “fountain of youth,” and a “plant of immortality,” and now modern science tells us why.

 Aloe, or aloe barbadensis, is a genus with around 500 species of succulent plants, including the well-known aloe vera. It thrives in warmer climates such as Central and South America and Southeast Asia, but is very common and can be found almost elsewhere in the world. In the Philippines, aloe vera is known as sabila, sabila-pina, or dilang-halo. When you cut open an aloe vera leaf, it contains a clear gel at the center and a yellowish liquid called aloe latex. The gel is where all of the goodness comes from, as it is packed with vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12), minerals (calcium, sodium, iron, magnesium, and potassium), polysaccharides (antiviral properties), and fatty acids (anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties). Internally, the aloe vera gel has been reported to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, eliminate toxins, improve nutrient absorption, fight infection, lower cholesterol…

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