Aloe VeraI don’t know about you, but I hate getting burned, whether it’s sunburn or burns in the kitchen, burns are painful. Fortunately, I know how to treat burns quite effectively with herbs and one of my favorite burn treatments is aloe vera. That’s why I keep aloe vera gel in my first aid kit and have an aloe vera plant in my home. Aloe vera is well-known for its ability to treat burns, but it has many other uses which I’ll discuss after I relate my experiences using it as a burn remedy.

Treating Sunburn

I sunburn easily so it is fortunate that I’ve learned to get rid of the pain of sunburn rapidly. I start by slathering aloe vera gel liberally over the burn. After applying the aloe gel, I spray the sunburn every five to ten minutes with a natural enzyme spray to keep the skin moist. Alternatively, a spray bottle filled with water will also work. I also reapply the gel every hour or so until the sunburn stops hurting, which usually takes two to three hours. In recent years I’ve also discovered that adding lavender essential oil to the aloe vera gel increases its effectiveness. It not only helps the burn to heal, but it also rapidly easing the pain.

Tips for Treating Burns

Shoulder BurnWhen it comes to kitchen burns, the first thing I usually do is to run cold water over the afflicted area and then apply real vanilla extract. It’s a tip I learned from a professional chef and it vanilla is quite effective at relieving the pain for minor burns. When that’s not enough I also apply aloe.

The worst burn I ever had was made by grabbing the handle of a cast-iron frying pan that had been in the oven. Cold water didn’t help and neither did the vanilla. So, I cut a leaf off of my aloe plant and applied a cut piece of the gel to the burn. That helped, but only for about 60 seconds; then the piece of aloe actually grew warm and the burn started to hurt again. This continued to happen as I applied more aloe several times.

Getting tired of the pain, I decided to chill the pieces of aloe vera leaf. I sliced up the whole leaf and put the pieces into a bowl of ice water while holding an ice cube over the burn. For the next 30 minutes, I would apply a piece of cold aloe to the burn and replace it as soon as it became warm, going through about 15 pieces before the pain subsided. I then applied a little honey and a bandage and had no further problems.

Internal “Burns”

As I suggested, aloe vera isn’t just for burns. Its second major application is a drink to heal the gastrointestinal tract. You might think of gastrointestinal irritation as a type of internal burn that aloe helps to soothe and heal. Many people have found that taking an ounce or two of a high-quality aloe vera juice daily is helpful for gastritis, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Chron’s disease.

Aloe vera juice doesn’t just decrease inflammation in the GI tract. It also helps to promote a more favorable balance of intestinal bacteria, decrease colon transit time, improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients, reduce putrefaction (toxicity) in the bowel, and relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can also be used for problems like infected gums, post-surgical gum wounds, and sore throats by using it as a gargle or mouthwash.

Nourishing and Antimicrobial Actions

Aloe Vera PlantsA native of Africa, aloe uses the mucilaginous gel in its leaves to store water for times of drought, but the gel stores more than just water. It also stores nutrients the plant needs and protects those nutrients with chemicals to keep bacteria, viruses, and fungus at bay. Aloe vera leaves are so efficient at storing water and nutrients that the plant can live for months after being uprooted. These qualities make aloe nourishing and antimicrobial, especially if you’re using fresh leaves.

In addition, the leaves also contain elements needed to make rapid repairs if leaves are torn or damaged, which gives aloe healing properties as well. It speeds the healing of cuts, lesions, dermatitis, and just about any type of skin problem where the skin is dry and red. It's why I prefer to moisten herbal powders with aloe vera gel instead of water when making a poultice. Aloe is particularly good at mixing with charcoal to make poultices for spider bites or infected wounds.

Immune Issues

People have also found drinking aloe vera juice to be effective in curing internal inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even lupus. It appears to help balance the immune system via its balancing effect on the intestinal tract. There are even reports of people using whole leaf aloe vera juice to help AIDS and Epstein-Barr patients.

These results cannot be achieved with just any aloe vera juice. Many aloe products contain only 10 percent juice and 90 percent water. An aloe product that tastes like water is probably just that, mostly water. Real aloe juice should be yellowish in color and has a strong sour, bitter taste.

Aloe Vera for Burnout

Aloe Vera FlowersIt’s no secret that I’m fascinated with the energetic or emotional effects that plants have on us, and the uses of aloe vera as a flower essence are a great example of the parallels between the physical and the emotional. We don’t just get burned physically, we sometimes get burned emotionally, and aloe can help that as well. Specifically, aloe is helpful when someone feels burned out.

Aloe flower essence helps people who have become emotionally depleted and exhausted by engaging in too much fiery activity. Enthusiasm and excitement are a good thing, but you can overuse them, push yourself too hard, and wind up “burning the candle at both ends.” The body becomes drained of vital energy and the person starts to break down because they aren’t taking time to nurture themselves in a healthy way.

Aloe flower essence helps a person to exercise their creativity, drive, enthusiasm, and excitement in a more balanced way. It calms the fiery side of life and brings in more of the watery side of life, rest, relaxation, fun, play, social activity, and self-nourishment.

Since the physical often mirrors the emotional, aloe vera juice is probably a great remedy for workaholic personalities who are suffering from inflammatory ailments like arthritis. It’s also a good choice for people with autoimmune problems, especially rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, who push themselves too hard and need to learn to slow down and nourish their souls better.

None of us like getting burned, physically or emotionally, but it’s good to know that aloe vera is there to help us when we do get burned. If you don’t have aloe in your first aid supplies or an aloe plant in your home I’d recommend you remedy that situation so you’ll have this herb on hand the next time you get burned.

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