Chances are you will have heard of aloe vera, even if you don’t know what it is or what it does. It’s actually an extract from a relatively unassuming succulent plant that grows wild in tropical climates but can easily be cultivated indoors as a potted plant.
Where does aloe vera come from?
The extract from the moist middle of the plant has been used for millennia as a practical medicine and beauty product. It was even dubbed the “plant of immortality” by the ancient Egyptians over 6000 years ago. The ancient Greeks claimed it cured everything from baldness to insomnia and Native Americans referred to it as the “wand of heaven”.
The case for aloe vera as a wonder herb is not consigned to the past though. There are many pages still being written about the health properties of aloe vera including one website that lists 40 practical uses of the plant removing eye make up to speeding up hair growth.
Aloe vera is about 96% water with the important ingredients in the remaining 4%. These include18-20 types of amino acids as well as vital proteins and antioxidants.
One website claims that these nutrients actually prevent hair loss as well as strengthening the cuticles to improve the suppleness and shine of the hair. Aloe vera also contains a complex carbohydrate, acemannan, which helps to remove toxins from the follicles.
DIY solutions to hair loss
The same site recommends trying a range of 6 home-made hair masks that will all contain Aloe vera, designed to prevent hair loss. It suggests that additional ingredients such as fenugreek and tea tree oil will also, make hair thicker, longer and stronger in a month.
Another simple mask is made from aloe vera and lemon juice which again, prevents hair fall at the same time as giving hair volume and shine.
Ultimately, despite the wonderful historical epithets and its presence in many off-the-shelf hair products Aloe vera isn’t going to stop alopecia in its tracks or restore lost hair. It may well keep hair loss at bay for longer though and prevent early loss through external environmental factors by promoting a healthy head of hair and scalp.