Introduction to Aloe
There is a common belief that all aloes are “Aloe Vera”, much like in previous generations when all vacuum cleaners were referred to as “hoovers”, and Hoover was purely one brand amongst many others, of vacuum cleaner!
There are some 450 different aloe species in the world – Aloe Vera is one, and Aloe Ferox is another and are the two most commonly used in health products today. Aloe Vera does not grow naturally in South Africa, and interestingly, the Aloe Ferox is endemic to South Africa, meaning that it doesn’t occur anywhere else in the world. Here, it grows wild in vast areas, stretching from the western Cape, through the southern Cape, eastern Cape and all the way up to the Wild Coast.
What are the health benefits of aloe, in skincare?
Most people know somebody who has been burned, or sunburned and has treated the burn with a cut aloe leaf and received instant relief. Or used a broken piece of aloe to treat a mosquito bite or flea bite, right? That was how our indigenous people used what they described as the “miracle plant” as far back as the 1600’s when it was used daily as a first aid product.
These days, aloe is still used for these purposes, and many more, but luckily with scientific research and modern technology, the aloe comes packed in a more user-friendly form than in a leaf with ferocious thorns!
So what is it in the aloe that does all the magic?
Essentially, it is the abundance of natural, long-chain sugars in the aloe which hold the key. These sugars, working together in synergy with the various other components of aloe ferox, combine to offer anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.
How can aloe improve sexual health, when used topically?
These three attributes of aloe, together with its recognised restorative qualities and soothing gel-like texture, lend themselves perfectly to being included in products which can improve and impact one’s sexual health and wellness, and is included in many over-the-counter lubricants.
If used prior to and during sexual activity, aloe’s soothing properties allow the muscles to relax, and its topical application can stimulate the senses of, and boost blood circulation to, the penis. Aloe is a known vasodilator and with improved circulation, better erections can be attained.
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Many women experience vaginal atrophy as well as dry, itchy and even cracked skin in these intimate areas. A product which includes a meaningful amount of aloe gel can therefore be used as a daily moisturiser for these areas to help prevent and treat these conditions. Aloe is known to help regenerate new skin cells, so can assist in slowing down or even preventing atrophy, if used regularly. Similarly, with increased blood flow to this area, a woman’s libido can also be increased.
Add to this, two specialised (imported) probiotics, and you have a product that moisturises, soothes itchiness, treats broken or cracked skin, helps to prevent UTI’s, improves libido and provides all the lubrication needed for a healthy sex life!