Chemical free, 100 per cent natural and boasting a multitude of benefits, aloe vera is one plant you need to be growing on your kitchen windowsill. The juice from its fleshy green leaves – and the gel made from it – has been used to soothe all manner of skin complaints and stomach upsets since Roman times, making it a great natural alternative to some medicines.
Soothes irritable skin conditions
The gel from aloe vera plants is incredibly gentle and bursting with vitamin E – making it a great soother for your baby’s dry and itchy skin. Found in the inner tissue of the plant leaf (or on the shelf in your local pharmacy), it’s ideal for soothing eczema and nappy rash and is made up of 96 per cent water, which allows the skin to breathe. 'While it doesn't have any medicinal properties and so won't heal skin, aloe vera does help eliviate symptoms,' says Matthew Patey, CEO of the British Skin Foundation.
Apply the gel a few times and allow it to completely dry before covering.
Acts as a natural healer
Thanks to an anti-inflammatory component called B-sitosterol and infection-fighting properties, aloe vera gel is a brilliant healer – no wonder it’s included in lots of after sun products. You can use it to treat your family’s burns, scrapes and sunburn – just dab a small amount on. However, if your baby has sunburn it’s always best to get GP advice first.
A miracle post-birth body product
Aloe vera is a really popular home remedy for stretch marks because it contains collagen, which helps repair skin. Apply the gel daily, and liberally, to affected areas and leave it on two hours before washing off.
Great for indigestion
Because aloe vera contains the laxative compounds barbaloin, aloin and aloe-emodin, it can help you go to the toilet when you’re too scared to poo after childbirth. It’s also known for helping indigestion and for soothing an upset stomach. If you’re taking it to help stomach problems, it’s best to take it as a juice so it’s quickly absorbed – the suggested dose is two tablespoons a day for a few days.
What do you use aloe vera for? Let us know in the comments box below.