The name aloe vera comes from the Arabic word “alloeh,” meaning “shining bitter substance.”
Aloe vera has a long history of use as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments. The plant is native to Africa, but grows wild in tropical climates around the world.
The aloe vera plant is a short-stemmed succulent that stores water in its leaves. The leaves are thick and fleshy, with serrated edges. Most aloe vera plants have a green to gray-green color, but some varieties are striped or spotted with yellow, orange, red, or white.
Aloe vera gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the innermost part of the aloe vera plant leaf. Aloe vera gel is used in many cosmetic products, such as lotions, creams, and ointments.
The gel is also used in alternative medicine. Aloe vera is sometimes used as a laxative for constipation. It is also used topically for wounds, burns, cold sores, and other skin conditions.
What’s Inside Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that contains more than 75 active components, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinone, or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, and amino acids.
The plant also contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E, which are antioxidants that can help protect the skin from damage. Aloe vera also contains minerals such as calcium, sodium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
Aloe vera gel is made up of about 96% water, with the other 4% made up of a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, sugars, enzymes, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids, and phenolic compounds.
The gel contains some key compounds that have been shown to improve the hair and scalp health:
Saponins: Saponins are a type of phytochemical that can act as a natural cleanser. They help to remove dirt, oil, and other build-up from the scalp and hair.
Phenolic compounds: Phenolic compounds are a type of antioxidant that can help to protect the hair and scalp from damage.
Enzymes: Enzymes are a type of protein that helps to break down other substances. They can help to remove dead skin cells from the scalp and hair.
Amino acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They can help to nourish and condition the hair.
There is also some evidence to suggest that aloe vera gel may contain compounds that can help to protect the skin from damage caused by the sun.
Dangers of Aloe Vera to health
Aloe vera is generally safe for most people when used appropriately. However, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of.
When taken orally, aloe vera can cause digestive upset, such as diarrhea, cramping, and bloating. It can also interact with certain medications, such as blood sugar-lowering drugs and diuretics.
When applied to the skin, aloe vera can cause skin irritation, redness, and itching. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using products containing aloe vera.
Benefits of Aloe Vera for hair
Aloe vera has long been used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including sunburns, skin problems, and digestive issues. However, aloe vera has recently gained popularity as a hair treatment.
Here are just a few ways in which aloe vera can benefit your hair:
Conditions hair. Because aloe vera is packed with nutrients, it can help to condition your hair and make it softer and shinier.
Prevents dandruff. Dandruff is often caused by a fungus known as Malassezia. Aloe vera has anti-fungal properties and can help to get rid of dandruff-causing fungus.
Soothes the scalp. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe an itchy, dry, or irritated scalp.
Stimulates hair growth. Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes which help to remove dead skin cells from the scalp. This can help to stimulate hair growth and prevent dandruff.
How to use Aloe Vera for your hair
There are a few different ways you can use aloe vera to improve the health of your hair. Here are a few ideas:
Add aloe vera gel to your shampoo. Simply add a few tablespoons of aloe vera gel to your regular shampoo and use as usual.
Make a homemade aloe vera hair mask. Mix equal parts aloe vera gel and coconut oil and apply to your hair. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and then shampoo as usual.
Use aloe vera gel as a leave-in conditioner. After shampooing and towel drying your hair, apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to your damp hair. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to the gel for a relaxing scent.
If you’re looking for a natural way to improve the health of your hair, aloe vera may be a good option to try. You can purchase aloe vera gel at most health food stores.
Alternatively, you can also grow your own aloe vera plant. Simply cut off a piece of the plant and squeeze out the gel.
How to Extract Aloe Vera Gel from a Plant
1. Cut off a leaf from the aloe plant, as close to the base as possible.
2. Rinse the aloe leaf under cool water.
3. Cut off the thorny edges of the leaf.
4. Cut the leaf in half lengthwise.
5. Use a spoon to scoop out the gel from the leaf.
6. Store the gel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Aloe vera can be a great addition to your hair care routine. Try incorporating it into your hair care routine and see if you notice a difference in the health of your hair!