Nature’s Unlikely Superheroes
February 21, 2011
There are plants celebrated the world over for the sheer number of benefits
they have to offer. Bamboo, for example, is used for everything from building
houses to working up appetites in Asian cuisine. The great American
botanist George Washington Carver developed hundreds of uses—
culinary, cosmetic, and industrial—from the simple peanut. But particularly
impressive are the plants that thrive in the world’s most arid climates, such
as jojoba and aloe vera. Even as these drab-looking succulents eke out a
life rooted in dry, desert soil, the resources they provide basically enable
survival in an otherwise unlivable landscape.
Jojoba is believed to have originated in the American southwest, aloe vera
in the arid regions of North Africa. Both are climates where prolonged
exposure to the sun and the elements can damage the skin. But natives in
both regions learned centuries ago that the landscape that gave them the
conditions responsible for their skins’ burns and cuts also offered them
their remedy. The oil extracted from jojoba seeds can both treat wounds and supply restorative hydration to
skin and hair. Jojoba oil’s beneficial properties come from the fact that it matches the molecular structure of
hair and skin sebum. As a result, it can quickly penetrate the skin and scalp without leaving an oily residue.
Moisturizing aloe vera extract is equally effective, especially in treating sunburn, and with its anti-bacterial
properties, it can also be used in the treatment of other minor skin infections.
Of course, the super benefits of jojoba and aloe vera extend way beyond the extreme conditions of desert
survival, and today’s marketplace thankfully offers any number of personal care products formulated with
either. What’s amazing to consider is how these simple plants bring such tremendous benefits to our daily
lives, providing us with a pure and natural alternative to maintain our health and the beauty of our skin.