From earliest times, people recognized something special about the aloe plant. Aloe vera gel has long been lauded for its vast array of health benefits. Ancient civilizations like the Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, and American Indians all used aloe vera to treat everything from baldness and insomnia to burns, fevers, and wounds. An ancient Sumerian clay tablet depicts aloe being used for digestive benefits as far back as 4,000 years ago.
We’ve chosen several gel products from what the Egyptians hailed as the “plant of immortality.” While the Egyptians might have been overselling it a little, there’s no doubt you’ll find something in aloe’s long list of healing properties to enhance your own health and wellness.
Seven Minerals presents their pure and organic aloe vera gel made with no xanthan, carrageenan, or carbomers – synthetic materials commonly found in lotions that can irritate people with sensitive skin. It’s harvested in southern Texas from fresh-cut aloe leaves instead of powder, making this gel one of the highest in purity and potency. To avoid the sticky or watery texture that’s often a complaint with pure aloe products, Seven Minerals uses an all-natural seaweed extract as a thickening agent instead of a synthetic one. Combining that with a unique cold-pressed process gives this gel a smooth, silky texture. As a result, it absorbs quickly into your skin and leaves no residue. Packed with over 200 active natural compounds, this product comes with a free 47-page e-book detailing the many ways to use them. Did you know Cleopatra applied pure aloe vera gel to her skin as part of her beauty regimen? Thankfully you don’t have to be royalty to obtain the same benefit in yours.
A powerful combination
Among aloe vera’s many attributes are two naturally occurring hormones that contain wound healing, anti-inflammatory properties. Put that together with apple and orchid stem cells, cucumber, and manuka honey, and this product by Honeyskin packs a powerful antioxidant punch. What’s great about manuka honey is it’s both antibacterial and bacterial resistant – meaning bacteria won’t build up a tolerance to it. Apple stem cells protect skin from stress, fight wrinkles, and promote the growth of human stem cells. Honeyskin also throws cucumber into the mix, which is well known for reducing inflammation as well as hydrating and firming your skin. The result is a robust recipe for radiant skin in a bottle. Were you aware the incredible aloe is also helpful in fading dark spots? Whether caused by sun exposure, acne, or natural aging, a compound called “aloesin” can reduce these dark areas known as hyperpigmentation.
No color added
If you’re looking for strictly aloe vera gel, Fruit of the Earth provides just that. This product comes in two 24-oz bottles in a clear gel with no color added. The whole family can use it to soothe sunburns, scrapes, or insect bites, as the aloe alleviates inflammation and promotes quicker healing. Bring one on vacation and keep the other one on hand at home. It’s also a useful remedy on stretch marks or a dry scalp. Aloe vera contains antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, which hydrate dry skin. Besides its many topical uses, did you know you can also drink the juice of the aloe plant? It’s a rich source of antioxidants that fight free radicals in your body. This means decreased risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. The juice is praised for controlling blood sugar, preventing ulcers, and can even be used as an effective mouthwash since it inhibits the bacteria that cause plaque. If you decide to drink it, be sure to choose a commercial-grade, certified organic juice and do not ingest a gel product.
One of the purest products
Unless you squeeze the gel out of an aloe leaf itself, this is just about as organic as a product gets. Superior filtered, NaturSense offers a thin, silky gel free of nearly all stabilizers and thickeners. Food grade in purity, it can remain fresh for two years without refrigeration. All-natural aloe can vary in color by season, and NaturSense aloe comes in four respective seasonal hues. Use it alone or combine it with your favorite natural lotions. It comes with instructions on how to blend this pure gel with other ingredients to make your own natural care products like hand sanitizer or hair conditioner. It’s believed aloe vera may improve your absorption of other botanical herbs and vitamins. Aloe also contains cooling properties similar to menthol, which is why it’s so popular to soothe sunburns and other minor burns.
Kelli Brandenberger is a contributing writer to Islands, an award-winning brand founded in 1980 that speaks to international travelers who have an affinity for the Caribbean and beyond. The website showcases destinations, resorts, cruises, and recommendations by the Islands’ staff. Kelli is a writer and editor who spends as much time as possible near the water. Her favorite Caribbean destinations are found in Roatan, the US and British Virgin Islands, and secluded mountain resorts of the Pitons in St. Lucia.