21 Surprising Benefits of Aloe Vera
The health benefits of aloe vera are numerous, beginning with improving the digestive system all the way to preserving food; it can result in optimal health in the long run. It strengthens the immune system, delays the aging process, cures dermatitis, alleviates menstrual problems, reduces arthritis pain, heals wounds, cures nausea, eliminates ulcers, lowers blood sugar levels, prevents diabetes, reduces oxidative stress, inhibits cancerous growth, heals the side effects of radiotherapy treatments, promotes hair growth, and soothes acid reflux symptoms.
This widely useful plant also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, improves cardiovascular functions, alleviates joint and muscle pain, enhances life span, and cures gum diseases. This plant has been used for ages to alleviate pain, since it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies are still being conducted to discover more benefits of the aloe plant that will undoubtedly make it even more important in the medicinal practices of cultures all around the world.
Aloe vera is also known as medicinal aloe, and some of its common names are Lily of the Desert, Burn Plant, and Elephant’s Gall. It belongs to the family of succulent plants in the genus ‘Aloe’. The origin of aloe vera is believed to be in Sudan and has been used for more than 6,000 years. The great virtues of this plant have been recognized by many civilizations, including the Egyptians, Spanish, Persians, Greek, Italians, Africans, Japanese and Indians. It grows best in warm, dry climates and is densely found in India, Africa, and other arid zones. This species has a wide usage in herbal medicine. The aloe vera plant has compounds such as mannans, polysaccharides, lectins, and anthraquinones that are extremely beneficial for human health.
Aloe Vera plant is often a stemless or sometimes very short-stemmed juicy plant that grows 60–100 cm (24–39 in) height, and the offsets spread out wide. The leaves of this plant are thick and fleshy; and the color varies from green to grey-green. Some varieties of this plant have white flecks on the upper and lower portions of the stem surfaces. The margin of the leaves is like saw-tooth and the flowers bloom during the summer. This plant can be easily grown both indoors and outdoors.
How does Aloe Vera help you?
For decades, the soothing nature of aloe vera has been known and respected by the people who believe in naturopathy. It has 18 amino acids that work in association with other compounds of the human body to deliver numerous health benefits. Aloe Vera is best known for its natural healing of the skin, wounds and other skin issues. However, it also has many other benefits like curing heart diseases, diabetes, asthma and arthritis. If you include aloe vera products in your regular nutritional plan, you will automatically notice a regenerated body and an attractive, youthful appearance. The common healing qualities of aloe vera are discussed below.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Improves Digestive System: Aloe vera helps in the proper functioning of the digestive system. The adaptogenic properties of this plant are beneficial for proper digestive function. It ensures better nutrient absorption and also eliminates harmful elements through smooth excretion. A healthy digestive process positively affects your thoughts and actions, thus promoting overall health. Thus, it cures irritable bowel syndrome and keeps constipation, piles and other gastrointestinal conditions from damaging your system.
Aloe vera has compounds called polysaccharides that have the ability to cure a host of digestive disorders and even ulcers. Ulcers are one of the most prominent consequences of digestive problems that are effectively cured by this plant extract. Many studies have proved that it cures issues like Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers and other digestive tract disorders. If you suffer from ulcers and consume aloe vera extract for at least 3 – 4 weeks, you are sure to notice positive results.
Boosts Immune System: Drinks made from aloe vera juice possess natural detoxifying properties that effectively cleanse the digestive system and the circulatory system. As the absorption level of nutrients accelerates, it results in better blood circulation and also improves the body’s nutritional quality within the cells. When the blood is oxygen rich, it automatically provides nutrients within the cells more proficiently. These healthy cells ensure your body’s ability to ward off infections, thereby strengthening your immune system. It has the capability to neutralize harmful bacteria; its rejuvenating properties work within your body to keep it fresh and active throughout the day. Many studies have shown that these antitumor and immunomodulatory properties are due to aloe vera polysaccharides.
Halts Cancerous Growth: As discussed in the previous sections, aloe vera helps in strengthening your immune system; the use of aloe gel also destroys cancerous tumors effectively. According to studies published in International Immunopharmacology (1995), aloe vera polysaccharides contain some effective macrophages that produce huge volumes of nitric oxide, which has antitumor potential. In naturopathy, there are innumerable methods of cancer prevention and the aloe vera-based method has proven to be one of the most successful ones. However, some experts say that it may when used alone may not be very effective in advanced cases so a combination of proper herbs like spirulina, cat’s claw and advanced therapies like intravenous vitamin C should also be included. It is always advisable to start any kind of cancer treatment after consulting a medical professional or physician.
Heals Side Effects of Radiotherapy Treatments: In cancer treatment, radiotherapy is inevitable in most cases. Cancer treatment patients often experience many uncomfortable side effects due to radiotherapy. Topical application of aloe vera gel to the radiation area will make the patient immediately feel the soothing effect and it also accelerates the healing response. If you drink aloe vera juice in such conditions, it will also help you in healing the radiation burns.
Cures Dermatitis: Aloe vera has been used for skin ailments since ancient times. The pure inner gel extracted from the aloe leaf is the best natural remedy for skin abrasions and it also helps to diminish the symptoms of aging skin conditions. Today, many topical skin care products and even personal care products, toiletries, and skin cosmetics include Aloe vera extract. Aloe is now recommended as the most widely-used ingredients for popular skin care products. In fact, if you have its plant in your home, simply tear a small part of the leaf, take the gel and apply it in raw form on your face. This therapy will prove to be far better and more effective than many expensive skin creams on the market. Most people prefer drinking aloe vera juice, which also enhances skin health, as the properties of the plant work internally. It also helps in curing stings, rashes, acne, and psoriasis.
Promotes Hair Growth: Aloe vera has proven to be an excellent option for promoting hair growth naturally. The hair products that contain aloe vera are essential to retain voluminous and healthy hair. You can apply its gel on the entire scalp and hair to treat hair loss. It has an enzyme that is beneficial in stimulating hair growth. Aloe vera shampoo improves blood circulation and keeps you away from stress and mental strain. In fact, it has anti-inflammatory properties that effectively treat ‘Androgenetic Alopecia’. If you use aloe vera regularly as your shampoo and conditioner, you are sure to prevent the disturbing problem of premature hair loss.
Reduces Arthritis Pain: Aloe Vera is noted for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties that work instantly on the pain and swelling resulting from arthritis. Its juice is extremely effective in calming the swelling and inflammation that are closely associated with arthritis conditions. In fact, topical application on swelling or drinking aloe vera juice both show positive results in curing arthritis pain.
Relieves Joint and Muscle Pain: The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera help it to work efficiently on joint and muscle pains. Applying aloe gel topically eases inflammation of the joints. Aloe juice can also be consumed to reduce inflammation throughout the body, thus revitalizing your body. In some studies, it has been reported that people who regularly consume aloe vera juice for at least two weeks experience a significant improvement in inflammation issues. However, it works efficiently only when your diet is also regulated for the same goals. You need to reduce your intake of red meat, sugar, milk, fried foods, and white flour consumption.
Cures Wounds: Aloe vera has been considered a natural healer ever since it was discovered thousands of years ago. If used externally, it is the best option for wound dressing. In fact, in many cases it is seen that aloe vera works like magic, even in the most serious of emergency room wound cases. The juice instantly seals the wound while drawing the flow of blood to the wound, thus enhancing the process of wound healing. In many studies, it has been proven that aloe effectively treats third-degree burn victims and it restores the burned skin faster. In some instances, it is also known that large amounts of aloe vera gel can heal wounds of gunshots and tissue tears.
Cures Menstrual Problems: The extract of aloe vera has been shown to be an excellent stimulant of the uterus. Intake of its juice is very beneficial during painful menstruation.
Alleviates Nausea: Nausea can occur due to a host of reasons, including consuming contaminated food, having a virus or flu, or even due to chemotherapy treatments. There are many man-made medicines for nausea, however nowadays doctors are also prescribing natural options for treatment. Oftentimes, nausea feelings originate from disorders in the stomach or in the digestive tract. Aloe vera juice is excellent for a sick stomach and makes you feel better by bringing a calm feeling throughout the body. This indirectly helps to alleviate the feelings of nausea.
Reduces Blood Sugar Level: Aloe vera is also used for lowering blood sugar levels. Consumption of aloe vera has beneficial effects on reducing blood sugar levels. A result of the study of effects of aloe vera on diabetic rat models suggests that it is useful in the treatment of diabetes.
Prevents Oxidative Stress: Aloe vera gel is rich in vitamins like vitamin B12, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C, niacin and folic acid. These vitamins are required for a proper functioning of human body. The body’s defensive system is thus kept intact with the regular intake of its juice and thus keeps you away from the dangerous impact of oxidative stress.
Soothes Acid Reflux Symptoms: Acid reflux is often wrongly known to be a disease, while it is actually just a symptom that involves heart burn and discomfort. Initially, you can try the natural remedy of consuming the soothing aloe vera juice, which usually works effectively and initiates proper functioning. However, you should also avoid eating fried foods and processed foods.
Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides: Aloe vera gel, when used internally, automatically improves the blood quality and thus helps in re-balancing the other components in your blood like cholesterol and glucose. It effectively lowers cholesterol and total triglyceride content. Blueberries are also powerful, cholesterol-lowering agents, thus you can imagine how great a natural remedy it can be if you combine blueberries and aloe vera. Before starting the powerful pharmaceutical drugs immediately, you should try out this natural remedy.
Improves Cardiovascular Functions: Aloe vera extract accelerates the supply of blood and purifies it at the same time. This blood accelerates the delivery of oxygen to the organs in the body, thereby maximizing their functionality. Organs like the brain and the heart need oxygen compulsorily that is supported by this purified blood. Therefore, aloe vera indirectly keeps the blood fresh and rich in oxygen to serve these purposes perfectly.
Cures Gum Diseases: Dental and gum diseases can also be cured by aloe vera. You can try out this natural remedy at home; put some aloe vera powder on your toothbrush, then do your normal brushing. The aloe vera powder will soothe your gums inside and cure any kind of infection or bruises. Even if you only drink aloe vera juice, your gums will still be very healthy. Just gargle the liquid around your mouth before swallowing. Also, try to increase your vitamin D intake, both these measures will be enough to get your gums back in shape within a few months.
Preserves Food: Professor Daniel Valero, from the University of Miguel Hernández in Alicante, Spain has proved that a thin layer of aloe vera gel can act as a natural food preservative. In the experiment, they immersed some table grapes into a bowl of aloe vera gel and then kept it in the refrigerator temperatures. The table grape without aloe vera gel went bad in 7 days, but the gelled ones stayed fresh for more than 35 days and left its taste intact.
Many scientists say that this one benefit of aloe vera can bring a new dimension to the food safety regulations around the world. Further experiments showed that dipping fruits and vegetables in aloe vera gel effectively eliminated E.coli, retained the freshness, and also extended its shelf life. The FDA has also approved it to be a natural food flavoring agent.
Boosts Oxygenation of the Blood: Blood oxygenation benefits the supplying of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to vital organs. In some studies, it has been reported that aloe vera aids in blood oxygenation. However, more evidence is required to back up this potential benefit.
Delays the Aging Process: Aloe vera has been a primary component in many skin products that help in retaining youthfulness through healthier skin. The added support of aloe in any skin cream enhances its function as a wrinkle fader and skin rejuvenator. The anti-aging properties works on the skin and keeps it fresh, supple, wrinkle-free and bright. The properties of aloe vera make it penetrate quickly within the various layers of the skin, even down to the muscles of the body. In fact, it’s penetrating ability can even go deep into the bones. Thus, it is probably the best natural way to nurture and rejuvenate the skin cells.
How to use aloe vera?
Aloe vera with many uses is a succulent plant, and its benefits are typically obtained by breaking off a stalk to extract the gel-like substance within, and either applying this topically to the skin, or ingesting it. The gel can also be combined with other natural ingredients to form part of your health or beauty routine.
What is aloe vera good for?
You can apply aloe vera gel to relieve sunburn, acne, irritated and dry skin; some people also perceive benefits in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, and anti-ageing benefits in applying the gel to fine lines and wrinkles. The gel may also be ingested to help relieve acid reflux and mild constipation. Aloe vera gel can even be diluted and combined with other natural ingredients to make a homemade mouthwash.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant, which, despite its resemblance to some types of cacti, actually belongs to the Aloe family. These plants are found growing in many dry regions in the world. Aloe vera plants can also be cultivated as a pot-plant in your own home, where it can prove useful for all sorts of health and beauty purposes.
What does Aloe Vera do?
Aloe Vera has a range of healthy effects on the human body; when applied topically, it can soothe irritated skin, sunburn, and act as a moisturiser; when ingested, it can help ease certain types of gastro-intestinal discomfort. It contains a number of substances (including vitamins, minerals and enzymes) that may play a part in how Aloe Vera achieves these effects.
Where to buy Aloe Vera?
You can purchase aloe vera plants at your local plant nursery; there are also many online retailers from which you can buy one. There are also a myriad of health and beauty products on the market that contain Aloe Vera; you should be able to buy these from your local supermarkets, pharmacies, and of course online.