You’ve probably heard of Aloe Vera from it’s popularity as a sunburn treatment as well as a topical remedy for everything from cuts to scars, but did you know that it can do so much more? Read on to learn why this plant is one of the most powerful natural health discoveries in existence and the benefits of eating Aloe Vera.
- What is Aloe Vera?
- What are the benefits of eating Aloe Vera?
- What are the possible side effects of Aloe Vera?
- Organic, Pure, and Aloin-Free
- 6 Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair, Skin and Weight-Loss
- Here are some benefits of aloe vera for hair, skin and weight loss:
- 17 Proven Benefits & Uses of Aloe Vera
- How to Use Aloe Vera?
- Aloe Vera Nutrition
- Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
- What is aloe vera gel good for?
- Shop Aloe Vera
- How to Cut Aloe Vera Leaves
- How to Use Aloe Vera Leaves
- 1) I use the leaves to tackle skin irritations.
- 2) I rub it on my face & neck once or twice a week.
- 3) Once a month I’ll slather Aloe vera all over my hair & scalp making certain I get the ends good & saturated.
- 4) I squeeze the gel out into a small bowl & mix it with clay to make a mask.
- 5) I rub the aloe vera leaves on the heels of my feet too.
- 6) The leaves can also do wonders for the puffy skin under your eyes!
- 7) When the mood strikes I’ll throw a few chunks of the gel in my smoothie before blending.
- How to Store Aloe Vera Leaves (plus how long they stay fresh)
- Nine health benefits and medical uses of Aloe vera
- 1. Teeth and gums
- 2. Constipation
- 3. Diabetes-induced foot ulcers
- 4. Antioxidant and possible antimicrobial properties
- 5. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) irradiation
- 6. Protection from skin damage after radiation therapy
- 7. Depression, learning, and memory – an animal experiment
- 8. Wounds from second-degree burns
- 9. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- How to Use Fresh Aloe Vera
- Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera)
- Aloe Vera Care Guide
- Aloe Vera Plant Problems
- Community Comments
- What are the risks of using aloe vera?
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- Aloe Vera Products and How to Find
- Recommended Dosage
- Risks and Side Effects
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is one of more than 400 varieties of the Aloe species and a member of the succulent family. What makes Aloe Vera unique is a special compound known as Acemannan as well as dozens of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that naturally occur within the inner gel of the leaves.
Native to the Arabian Peninsula, usage of this evergreen perennial for its health benefits can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt. Today it grows everywhere in just about any climate and is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal purposes worldwide. Aloe Vera is used for a variety of topical applications, including treatment of wounds, burns, relief from rashes/itching, and fading scars – but it’s also being consumed, which begs the question:
What are the benefits of eating Aloe Vera?
Study after study suggests that there are numerous benefits to eating Aloe Vera for everything from digestion, skin, immunity, hydration, and more. Whether drinking Aloe Vera water, taking a concentrated Aloe Vera supplement, or simply eating raw Aloe gel, the leaves consist of 99.5% water with the remaining .05% solid material containing a wide range of compounds that include water-soluble and fat-soluble minerals, vitamins, enzymes, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, organic acids, and glyconutrients that completely nourishes the body.
Loaded with minerals, Aloe Vera supports a healthy cellular enzyme system and makes our metabolism function as it should be. There’s calcium for bones, teeth and cellular signaling; zinc and magnesium, which are essential for our metabolism, plus magnesium keeps your nerves, muscles, heart rhythm and bones healthy; chromium enhances insulin that provides energy to cells. Other minerals included copper, potassium, and sodium—the latter two helps keep our electrolytes in balance.
Immune System Boosting
Aloe vera naturally provides a source for vitamins A, C, D, E, B, B-1, B-2, B12, and folic acid. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that help to protect cells, and the folic acid can help increase the antioxidants in other healthy foods to absorb vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins B-12 aids in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular and nervous system, along with serving multiple metabolic functions.
Skin Repair & Hydration
Consuming Aloe gel can also improve the health of your skin. it also helps keep your skin supple and hydrated.
Aloe vera has 20 amino acids essential for the production of muscle tissues, too, 8 of which are not naturally produced by the body and must be supplemented in your diet. There are also 7 key enzymes that can enhance nutrient absorption and helps break down food.
Studies have found Aloe Vera is beneficial to the digestive system and overall gut health as well. It also buffers stomach acid, which helps to counteract foods that cause indigestion.
Using Aloe Vera for joint health has become popular due to its positive effect on inflammation. The combination of other benefits make oral Aloe Vera a good choice for providing overall joint support.
What are the possible side effects of Aloe Vera?
Nearly the only possible side effects from eating Aloe Vera occur when people accidentally or unknowingly consume the aloin-containing outer skin of the leaf. Too much consumption of aloin can cause stomach cramps, intestinal spasms, diarrhea, or kidney issues which is why it is important to opt for an organic pure Aloe Vera product that has been specially processed to remove any aloin.
Note: As with nearly any substance, a very small percentage of people may have an allergic reaction to Aloe Vera. Always begin with a small dose to see how you react and speak to a healthcare professional if you have pre-existing medical conditions or dietary restrictions.
Why is Aloin bad?
Aloin occurs naturally in the latex skin of Aloe Vera leaves. It is a type of anthraquinone glycoside, which has powerful laxative properties. Some people eat that part of the plant to relieve constipation. However, health professionals generally do not believe it as a safe or effective laxative. Aloin concentrations vary throughout the plant so results may be unpredictable. For this reason, great care must be taken when harvesting or attempting to eat raw Aloe Vera.
Organic, Pure, and Aloin-Free
Experience all the benefits of Aloe Vera for yourself!
6 Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair, Skin and Weight-Loss
Aloe vera is extensively used in beauty products and for good reason. It’s got antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the ability to help treat everything from constipation to diabetes. The green-cactus looking plant that sits out in your garden isn’t just a plant with its roots in folklore, it’s the crux of a million dollar industry that extends from beauty creams to healthy juices and diet supplements. Over time, aloe vera has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use. But, what makes this miracle plant so distinguishable? There are some incredible benefits of aloe vera. So, keep reading to know what we are talking about.
The aloe vera plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defence to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for it’s unbelievable healing properties.This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, Vitamin A, B, C and E. Another part of the aloe vera plant which is used is the ‘sap’, a yellow-coloured liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside. When dried and purified, the powdered aloe is often used as a laxative, though it’s effectiveness is questionable.
One of the most crucial elements found in aloe vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins.Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine and British herbal medicine have all advocated aloe vera as a healer, when applied or consumed orally. Let’s go over some of its most prominent benefits.
Here are some benefits of aloe vera for hair, skin and weight loss:
Aloe Vera For Skin
There are many aloe vera uses, like aloe vera for face and skin. Bill C. Coats writes, “Since the skin needs nutrition of its own, Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen, can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin.” And we’re about to show just how you can do that. Once you move past the slimey texture of natural aloe vera gel and apply it to your skin, you’ll notice how soothing and cooling it is. And it’s for these exact reasons that Ayurveda refers to aloe vera as the miracle herb that can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.
(Also Read: 7 Amazing Reasons To Drink Aloe Vera Juice Everyday)Skin Care: Aloe vera has multiple health benefits for skin, hair and weight-loss.
Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, Delhi-based dermatologist says, “Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which gives it its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. It can moisturise the skin without making it greasy, which makes it a great buy for those with oily skin.” She also suggests drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach because it improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. And, you know that if you’ve got a healthy inside, it’ll give you a glowing outside which in this case is radiant skin.
Aloe vera or aloe vera-based products can be used in the winter as well as in the summer and by people of all skin types. Aloe vera treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin which is why it’s recommended by dermatologists to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks. One way to use aloe vera is to apply the gel directly, another would be to make a pack using aloe vera along with some other special ingredients from your kitchen. So, now you know that aloe vera for face is like a magical gel that has an amazing impact on your skin.
1. Aloe vera for dry skin – Take some aloe vera, a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of milk and a few drops of rose water. Blend this mix till you get a paste. Apply it and leave in for about 20 minutes or so.
2. Aloe vera scrub – Grab half a cup of fresh aloe vera gel, a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. The sugar will help exfoliate and scrub off dead skin, the aloe vera will deep clean the skin and the lemon will help fade out scars and tan. Stir the three ingredients together and use it to scrub both face and body.
3. Aloe vera for acne – Take some aloe vera gel, blended walnuts with a flour like consistency and honey. Aloe vera’s healing properties coupled with the anti-oxidants from honey will leave you with smooth and clear skin.
4. Aloe vera for sensitive skin – Grab some aloe vera gel, cucumber juice, yogurt and rose oil and blend them to a paste. Apply and leave for around 20 minutes, then rinse it off.
(Also Read: 10 Dos and Don’ts for Naturally Beautiful Skin)
Aloe Vera For Weight Loss
It’s not just the beauty industry that’s obsessing over the benefits of aloe vera, the health industry can’t stop raving about it either. Known as ghritkumari in Hindi, the plant has millions of takers around the world and is used in the form of gels, cream and juices, due to the aloe vera’s wondrous health benefits. According to Britt Brandon, the author of The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health, “Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximise your weight loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight-loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes and sterols, aloe vera ensures your diet is not only supportive of weight loss, but also improves the body’s absorption and utilisation, improving overall health as well as weight loss success.”
(Also Read: Weight Loss: Here’s Why You Should Drink Fennel Seed (Saunf) Water For Weight Loss)
Weight Loss: There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight-loss.
Aloe vera is used in a wide range of health products, like diet supplements, juices etc. It’s rich in anti-oxidants which means it helps cut out free radicals in the body and boost your immunity. It’s also a good source of protein so it helps muscle development and gives you copious amounts of energy. There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight loss, but it should be consumed regularly and over a long period of time for it to really work.
How to drink aloe vera juice: The natural taste of aloe vera is so bitter that you wouldn’t think of consuming it as is. Take the gel, dice it into small pieces and blend. Now. mix a bit of this with some other fruit or vegetable juice that’s preferably sweet. You can also use the leaves of aloe vera, blend them, strain and drink. If you find it too bitter then mix it up with honey and drink. You can also add some lemon to this mix.
Aloe Vera For Hair Fall
Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature’s Soothing Healer says, “Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Aloe vera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.”
The perfect pack: Here’s a delicious hair mask that you should apply once a week or every fortnight.
(Also Read: Losing Hair? Eat These 9 Foods to Prevent Hair Fall)
Hair Fall: The Perfect hair mask using aloe vera.
CommentsMix equal quantities of aloe vera juice and extra virgin coconut oil. Apply and leave it in for as long as possible for strong, smooth and bouncy hair. Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that brings with it a treasure trove of benefits. The best way to enjoy it, without the fear of added chemicals, is to grow it in your own kitchen garden or balcony. It takes very little to look after an aloe vera plant, but the benefits you get in return are many. So go ahead, invent your time and money into a healthier you today!
17 Proven Benefits & Uses of Aloe Vera
The health benefits of aloe vera include strengthening the immune system and delaying the aging process. It also helps in alleviating menstrual problems, reducing arthritis pain, and healing wounds. It helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, aloe can also help reduce oxidative stress, inhibit cancerous growth, and heal the side effects of radiotherapy treatments. It has long been used to promote hair growth, soothe acid reflux, and alleviate pain since it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe vera is a short shrub that is known widely for its medicinal properties. The other common names of aloe are lily of the desert, burn plant and elephant’s gall. It belongs to the family of succulent plants in the genus ‘Aloe’. It grows best in warm and dry climates and is densely found in India, Africa, and other arid zones.
Aloe vera plant is often a stemless or sometimes very short-stemmed juicy plant that grows around 60–100 cm (24–39 inch) in height and the offsets spread out wide. The leaves of this plant are thick and fleshy and the color varies from green to gray-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.
Watch Video: 8 Best Benefits Of Aloe Vera
8 Best Benefits Of Aloe Vera | Organic Facts
How to Use Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant with many amazing uses, and its benefits are typically obtained by breaking off a stalk to extract the gel-like substance within.
- You can apply the gel topically to your skin and hair.
- You can also use it in smoothies.
- If you are unable to get fresh aloe, then you can look for aloe vera powder or extracts.
Freshly made aloe vera gel Photo Credit:
Aloe Vera Nutrition
Aloe vera is a nutrient-powerhouse. It contains about 75 active ingredients like minerals, sugars, vitamins, enzymes, salicylic acids, and also amino acids. In terms of vitamins, aloe contains vitamins A, C E, and B12. Moreover, it also rich in folic acid and choline. The mineral wealth in aloe contains calcium, potassium, zinc, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and sodium. It also contains glucose and fructose.
Aloe is also a residence to some incredibly amazing phenolic compounds like anthraquinones.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
The health benefits of aloe are discussed below.
The adaptogenic properties of aloe vera are beneficial for proper digestion. 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.
Dr. Meika Foster, University of Sydney, Australia, in her study reports that aloe vera has amazing laxative effects. Thus, it helps to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 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 ulcers. Ulcers are one of the most prominent consequences of digestive problems that are effectively cured by this plant extract. Many studies have proven that it counteracts 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 will surely notice positive results.
A 2008 study suggests that aloe vera has antiviral and antitumor properties that help to stimulate the immune system. It helps to protect you from various diseases like herpes simplex, varicella-zoster, and even influenza.
Beverages made with 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 health. 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 and its rejuvenating properties work within your body to keep it fresh and active throughout the day.
Inhibits Cancerous Growth
Research published in 2008 shows that aloe vera gel can help in fighting cancer. This is because of two major compounds called glutathione S-transferase and phorbol myristic acetate, which helps in inhibiting tumor growth.
Many studies have shown that these antitumor and immunomodulatory properties are due to the presence of polysaccharides in aloe vera. However, some experts say that, when used alone, it may not be very effective in advanced cases, so a combination of herbs like spirulina, cat’s claw, and therapies like intravenous vitamin C should also be included. It is always advisable to start any kind of alternative treatment after consulting a physician.
Heals Side Effects of Radiotherapy
During cancer treatment, radiotherapy is inevitable in most cases. Cancer patients often experience side effects due to radiotherapy.
According to a study cited in Radiation Oncology, aloe vera application helps prevent the acute skin side effects in patients treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer. It also accelerates healing. If you drink aloe juice in such conditions, it will also help you in healing the radiation burns.
Aloe has been used for skin care since ancient times for its moisturizing and antiaging effect. The inner gel extracted from the aloe leaf is considered as a natural remedy for skin abrasions. Many skincare and personal care products, toiletries, and cosmetics include aloe extracts.
In fact, if you have its plant at home, simply tear a small part of the leaf, take the gel and apply it in the raw form on your face; after doing a patch test. Most people prefer drinking its juice, which also enhances skin health, as the properties of the plant work internally.
The Journal of Dermatological Treatment says that the topical application of aloe gel combined with tretinoin is extremely useful in treating acne. Another study has also highlighted the ability to use aloe vera topically to treat sunburn.
Aloe vera has been a primary component of many skin products that help in retaining youthfulness. The added support of aloe in any skin cream enhances its function as a wrinkle fader and skin rejuvenator. The anti-aging properties of aloe keep your skin fresh and supple.
According to anecdotal evidence, aloe vera is an excellent choice for promoting hair growth naturally.
You can apply its gel to the entire scalp and hair to treat hair loss as it has an enzyme that is beneficial for stimulating hair growth. Aloe vera shampoo may help improve blood circulation and keeps you away from stress and mental strain. In fact, it has anti-inflammatory properties that effectively treat androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. If you use it regularly as a conditioner, you are sure to prevent premature hair loss.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Aloe is noted for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties that work instantly on the pain and swelling resulting from arthritis. Its juice is also extremely effective in calming the swelling and inflammation that are closely associated with arthritis. In fact, topical application, drinking aloe juice or eating aloe vera, its pills or capsules all show positive results in reducing arthritis 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. 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 when your diet contains less intake of red meat, sugar, milk, fried foods, and white flour.
Other aloe vera benefits include:
According to a study by Dr. Amar Surjushe, Department of Dermatology, Grant Medical College and Sir J J Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, India, “Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers’ wounds”. If used externally, it is the best option for dressing wounds. 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 by 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.
Relieves Menstrual Discomfort
Aloe extracts have shown to be an excellent stimulant of the uterus. Consuming its juice is very beneficial during painful menstrual cramps.
Reduces Blood Sugar Level
Eating aloe vera pills can have beneficial effects on reducing blood sugar levels. A study on the effects of aloe vera on diabetics, published in Phytomedicine, suggests that its consumption helps lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels.
Prevents Oxidative Stress
Aloe vera is rich in vitamins like vitamin B12, B1, B2, B6, and vitamin A, E, C, niacin, and folic acid. These vitamins act as antioxidants to keep the body’s defense system intact and reduce the free radical activity.
Soothes Acid Reflux
A study published in Elsevier’s Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, aloe vera can provide an effective treatment against gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Acid reflux is a critical condition that involves heartburn and discomfort. You can try the natural remedy of consuming aloe juice, which can help you treat it. However, you should try to avoid eating fried and processed food to evade the problem altogether.
Aloe vera, when used internally, automatically improves blood quality and thus helps in re-balancing the other components in it like cholesterol and glucose. It effectively lowers bad cholesterol levels and total triglyceride content.
Improves Cardiovascular Function
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. A 2011 study shows that aloe vera gel can also prevent myocardial oxidative stress.
Fight 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 brush normally. This will soothe your gums and cure any kind of infection or bruises. Aloe vera juice can also help in keeping the gums healthy. Just gargle the liquid around your mouth before swallowing. Also, try to increase your intake of vitamin D. Both these measures will be enough to get your gums back in shape within a few months. A study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences confirms its use as an effective mouthwash and its ability to cure dental plaque.
A thin layer of aloe gel can act as a natural food preservative. In an experiment, aloe preservative was able to keep grapes fresh for more than 35 days. Furthermore, a 2014 study cited in Cambridge Core shows that the pure aqueous extract of aloe vera can inhibit the growth of certain microbes. This extract when coated on tomatoes helped delay ripening and was effective in increasing its overall shelf-life.
Many scientists say that this benefit of aloe can bring a new dimension to food safety regulations around the world. Further experiments showed that dipping fruits and vegetables in aloe vera gel effectively eliminated E.coli, retained freshness, and also extended their shelf life. The FDA has also approved it as a natural food flavoring agent.
Boosts Blood Oxygenation
Blood oxygenation benefits the supply of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to vital organs. In some studies, it has been reported that aloe vera aids in blood oxygenation.
Did You Know?
The origin of this burn plant is believed to be in Sudan and has been used for more than 6,000 years. The immensely great virtues of this plant have been recognized by civilizations, including the Egyptians, Spanish, Persians, Greeks, Italians, Africans, Japanese, and Indians.
Aloe vera can do much more than soothe sunburn, says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., an Omaha-based dermatologist. “Its stems store water, creating a clear, gel-like substance that contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids,” he says.
This adaptation helps the succulent plant survive in tropical climates around the world — or in a pot in your windowsill — but the species can go beyond beautifying your garden. There’s a long history of using aloe vera gel as a home remedy, and it’s likely safe to use topically, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Either snap a leaf off of your plant or stock up on a bottle of aloe vera gel. Like any other skincare product, do a patch test to see whether you are sensitive to the gel before putting it on inflamed skin.
What is aloe vera gel good for?
If you’re dealing with redness, try reaching for aloe. The leaves’ goo contains compounds that suppress inflammation, says Jennifer Gordon, M.D., a dermatologist in Austin, as well as the pain reliever carboxypeptidase.
Soothing psoriasis flare-ups.
Applying an aloe extract cream several times daily might reduce redness, scaling, and itching inflammation due to mild to moderate psoriasis, the Mayo Clinic states. It may take a month or more to see improvements, however, so talk to your doctor about other treatment options if you’re concerned.
Beyond its antibacterial properties, the gel has salicylic acid, an exfoliant that unclogs pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory on acne-producing oil glands. Also look for products with benzoyl peroxide to kill pimple-causing bacteria and retinoids to prevent skin cells from clogging in the first place.
Speeding up the healing process.
“Aloe vera contains agents known to help inhibit fungi, bacteria, and viruses,” says David Lortscher, M.D., a California dermatologist. It may help speed healing of wounds, including first- and second-degree burns, according to the Mayo Clinic. Always seek professional care if you have deep burns or burns covering a large area of the body.
Helping with cold sores.
Dabbing on an aloe-containing cream could get that pesky lesion to go away faster due to those antiviral properties, some past research suggests.
With all of its moisturizing and soothing benefits, aloe vera deserves some space on your counter for more than just the summer. Stock up on the gel or buy the plant itself straight from Amazon:
Shop Aloe Vera
Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel amazon.com $19.95 Costa Farms Live Aloe Plant amazon.com $22.28 Amara Beauty Aloe Vera Gel amazon.com $15.95 Green Leaf Naturals Organic Aloe Vera Gel amazon.com $11.95 Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.
One of the very best perks about growing Aloe vera is those plump leaves full of gel and juice which you get to harvest. I’ve been growing this medicinal plant for years and love that it not only looks good (especially when planted in a terra cotta pot) but has so many fabulous properties. Today, I’m sharing with you all the details on how I use and store aloe vera leaves.
I’ve seen articles with titles like “40 ways to use aloe vera,” “20 ways to use aloe vera,” and so on. I have 7 ways I use it on a fairly regular basis. My Aloe vera pot will be ready for some serious harvesting in about 6 months but right now I’m buying large, single leaves which you can find in the produce section at Natural Grocer’s, an international market, a Mexican market or Whole Foods. Each large leaf lasts me about 2 weeks.
My newly repotted plants. I’ll have a bounty of Aloe vera in no time!
How to Cut Aloe Vera Leaves
I cut off a desired portion of the Aloe vera leaf, remove the “spiny” sides & then cut that chunk in half. For topical applications, I use it this way leaving the skin on. I rub it on as is or squeeze out the clear gel & juice. When put in smoothies, I cut it into chunks being careful not to scrape too close to the skin.
There’s a yellowish latex next to the skin which usually oozes out & I don’t use it. There are sources which say to avoid it so I do. Do a little research & make up your own mind on this 1. And, don’t consume the skin.
I just cut this leaf off of my plant. You can see the yellowish latex dripping out.
How to Use Aloe Vera Leaves
1) I use the leaves to tackle skin irritations.
If I have a skin irritation (rash, bug bite, etc) I rub the cut aloe vera leaf all over it. Because I store it in the fridge, the cool goo feels oh so good.
2) I rub it on my face & neck once or twice a week.
After it dries a bit, I put moisturizer or oil over that followed by sunscreen. Always sunscreen on my face – I live in the Arizona desert after all!
3) Once a month I’ll slather Aloe vera all over my hair & scalp making certain I get the ends good & saturated.
I’ll leave it in for an hour or so & sometimes overnight before shampooing it out. I have dry, fine hair & although this doesn’t make it soft & silky (let’s be real here!), it does make it feel a lot more moisturized.
4) I squeeze the gel out into a small bowl & mix it with clay to make a mask.
I leave it on for 10 – 30 minutes & then rinse off with cool to warm water. The clay is purifying & the aloe is moisturizing so it’s a great (& oh so cheap!) way to pamper your face & neck.
5) I rub the aloe vera leaves on the heels of my feet too.
I’ve never paid too much attention to ugly cracked heels because I’ve never had them before. Up until now, that is. The dry, hot desert has taken its toll. I love to wear sandals & go barefoot almost all year long. After 2 years of shoeless life here, the cracked heels set in. Oh boy, are they painful!
Just before hitting the hay, I plaster on the aloe vera gel & juice all over my feet & then put on cotton socks. Not the most glamorous way to sleep but it does help.
6) The leaves can also do wonders for the puffy skin under your eyes!
Sometimes the eyes get puffy & sore whether it’s due to allergies, the wind, not enough sleep or a wee too much beer. I cut a couple of pieces of aloe (leaving the skin on) & put them in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. Just sit back, put your feet up & place the chunks under your eyes. 5 or so minutes of that refreshes the eye area & makes me feel all “depuffed”.
7) When the mood strikes I’ll throw a few chunks of the gel in my smoothie before blending.
It’s very hydrating, especially in the summer.
See how I cut, use & store Aloe vera leaves:
How to Store Aloe Vera Leaves (plus how long they stay fresh)
You want to keep your Aloe vera leaf as moist & fresh as possible. What I do is simple: wrap the cut end in tin foil, tie it with an elastic band, put it in a large plastic shopping bag, wrap that tightly & then tie with another elastic band.
I’ve found that Aloe leaves stay fresh for about 2 weeks or so. Keeping them any longer than 3 weeks the leaves get a bit “funky, funky”. As with most everything, freshest is best.
If you’re going to use it up within 1-3 days, leave it out on the counter (if the temps aren’t too warm). You could also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap but I don’t have any. A large shopping bag works just fine & I like to reuse as much as I can.
What You Should Know About Aloe Vera Leaves
When you first cut off or into an Aloe vera leaf freshly cut from the plant, the odor given off can be a bit pungent. Don’t worry it’s just the nature of this useful beast – there’s nothing wrong with it. It’ll eventually go away. I’ve found that leaves you buy in the store don’t have this smell.
Once you’ve rubbed the gel on your chosen body part, you can use your fingernails to poke out a bit more of the juice (you’ll see this in the video). Good to get every last drop I say!
As an experiment, I cut a couple of pieces of Aloe vera, wrapped them tightly in foil & put them in the freezer for 5 days. The results weren’t too good for me. The skin was mushy & the gel & juice were watery. I’ll stick with storing them in the fridge.
There’s that juicy gel oozing out that we all want.
I love the way Aloe vera looks growing as a houseplant or in the garden. But I especially love its wonderful properties and how healing and soothing it is. How do you use Aloe vera?
Nine health benefits and medical uses of Aloe vera
The medicinal claims made about Aloe vera, as with many herbs and plants, are endless. Some are backed by rigorous scientific studies while others are not. This article focuses mainly on those that are backed by research.
1. Teeth and gums
A study published in General Dentistry reported that Aloe vera in tooth gels is as effective as toothpaste in fighting cavities.
The researchers compared the germ-fighting ability of an Aloe vera tooth gel with two popular toothpastes. They found that the gel was just as good, and in some cases even better than the commercial toothpastes at controlling cavity-causing oral bacteria.
The authors explain that Aloe latex contains anthraquinones, compounds that actively heal and reduce pain through natural anti-inflammatory effects.
The scientists warned that not all gels they analyzed contained the proper form of Aloe vera – they must contain the stabilized gel that exists in the center of the plant to be effective.
Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs – Commission E – approved the use of Aloe vera for the treatment of constipation. Dosages of 50-200 milligrams of Aloe latex are commonly taken in liquid or capsule form once daily for up to 10 days.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled in 2002 that there is not enough data on the safety and efficacy of Aloe products; so, in the U.S., they cannot be sold to treat constipation.
3. Diabetes-induced foot ulcers
A study carried out at the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy, India, and published in the International Wound Journal looked at Aloe’s ability to treat ulcers.
They reported that a “gel formed with carbopol 974p (1 percent) and Aloe vera promotes significant wound healing and closure in diabetic rats compared with the commercial product and provides a promising product to be used in diabetes-induced foot ulcers.”
4. Antioxidant and possible antimicrobial properties
Share on PinterestAloe vera may be used on skin conditions or superficial cuts for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, published a study in the journal Molecules.
The team set out to determine whether the methanol extract of leaf skins and flowers of Aloe vera might have beneficial effects on human health. The scientists focused on the extract’s possible antioxidant and antimycoplasmic activities.
Mycoplasma is a type of bacteria that lack a cell wall; they are unaffected by many common antibiotics. Antimycoplasmic substances destroy these bacteria.
They reported that both Aloe vera flower and leaf extracts had antioxidant properties, especially the leaf skin extract. The leaf skin extract also exhibited antimycoplasmic properties.
The authors concluded that “A. Vera extracts from leaf skin and flowers can be considered as good natural antioxidant sources.”
5. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) irradiation
Scientists at Kyung Hee University Global Campus, South Korea, wanted to determine whether baby Aloe shoot extract and adult Aloe shoot extract might have a protective effect on UVB-induced skin photoaging; in other words, whether they could protect the skin from the aging effects of sunlight.
Baby Aloe shoot extract (BAE) comes from 1-month old shoots while adult Aloe shoot extract (AE) comes from 4-month old shoots.
In an article published in Phytotherapy Research, the authors concluded: “Our results suggest that BAE may potentially protect the skin from UVB-induced damage more than AE.”
6. Protection from skin damage after radiation therapy
A study carried out at the University of Naples, Italy, tested five different topical creams to see how effective they might be in protecting the skin of breast cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. One of these creams contained Aloe.
They divided 100 patients into five groups of 20; each was prescribed a different topical treatment. They applied the creams twice daily, starting 15 days before radiation therapy treatment, and carried on for 1 month afterward.
During the 6-week period, the participants underwent weekly skin assessments.
In the journal Radiation Oncology, the scientists reported that the preventive use of the topical hydrating creams reduced the incidence of skin side effects in the women treated with radiation therapy for breast cancer, none performed significantly better.
“All moisturizing creams used in this study were equally valid in the treatment of skin damage induced by radiotherapy.”
7. Depression, learning, and memory – an animal experiment
A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that Aloe vera reduced depression and improved memory in mice.
After carrying out experiments on laboratory mice, they concluded: “Aloe vera enhances learning and memory, and also alleviates depression in mice.”
Further studies are needed to establish whether humans might also receive the same benefits.
8. Wounds from second-degree burns
A team of plastic surgeons compared Aloe vera gel to 1 percent silver sulphadiazine cream for the treatment of second-degree burn wounds.
They reported in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association that the burn wounds among the patients treated with Aloe vera healed significantly quicker compared with those treated with 1 percent silver sulfadiazine (SSD).
The researchers added that those in the Aloe vera group experienced significantly more and earlier pain relief than those in the SSD group.
The authors wrote: “Thermal burns patients dressed with Aloe vera gel showed advantage compared to those dressed with SSD regarding early wound epithelialization, earlier pain relief, and cost-effectiveness.”
9. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A randomized, double-blind human trial carried out at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom investigated Aloe and IBS. Their results were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Participants with IBS were given either Aloe vera or a placebo. After 3 months, there were no significant differences in symptoms of diarrhea.
However, the researchers wrote:
“There was no evidence that AV benefits patients with IBS. However, we could not rule out the possibility that improvement occurred in patients with diarrhea or alternating IBS whilst taking AV. Further investigations are warranted in patients with diarrhea predominant IBS, in a less complex group of patients.”
How to Use Fresh Aloe Vera
There are plenty of ways you can use aloe vera, both topically and internally.
1. Heals burns
Due to its soothing, moisturizing, and cooling properties, aloe vera is often used to treat burns.
A 2013 study with 50 participants found that people who used aloe vera gel to treat superficial and partial thickness burns showed better results than the group that used a 1 percent silver sulfadiazine cream.
The aloe vera group showed earlier wound healing and pain relief. Plus, aloe vera had the benefit of being inexpensive.
More research is needed, but the available evidence suggests that aloe gel can be beneficial for burn wound healing.
If you have a sunburn or another mild burn, apply aloe vera a few times a day to the area. If you have a severe burn, seek medical help before applying aloe.
2. Improves digestive health
Consuming aloe vera may benefit your digestive tract and help to soothe and cure stomach ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A 2018 review looked at three studies with 151 people. Results from the studies showed that aloe vera significantly improved symptoms of IBS when compared to a placebo. No adverse effects were reported, though more research is needed using a larger study size.
Additionally, aloe vera may help inhibit the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is found in your digestive tract and can lead to ulcers.
3. Promotes oral health
Aloe vera toothpaste and mouthwash are natural options for improving oral hygiene and reducing plaque.
Results of a 2017 study found that people who used an aloe vera toothpaste showed significant improvements to their oral health.
The study included 40 adolescents who were divided into two groups. Each group used either an aloe vera toothpaste or a traditional toothpaste containing triclosan twice daily.
After 30 days, the aloe toothpaste was found to be more effective than the triclosan toothpaste in lowering levels of candida, plaque, and gingivitis.
People who used the aloe vera toothpaste showed better overall oral health without experiencing any adverse effects.
4. Clears acne
Using fresh aloe on your face may help clear up acne. You can also purchase aloe products designed for acne, including cleansers, toners, and creams. These may have the extra benefit of containing other effective ingredients, too.
Acne products made with aloe may be less irritating to the skin than traditional acne treatments.
A small 2014 study found that a cream combining conventional acne medication with aloe vera gel was significantly more effective than acne medication alone or a placebo in treating mild to moderate acne.
In this study, improvements were seen in lower levels of inflammation and fewer lesions in the group who used the combination cream over a period of eight weeks.
5. Relieves anal fissures
If you have anal fissures, applying an aloe vera cream to the affected area several times throughout the day may help promote healing.
A 2014 study found that using a cream containing aloe vera juice powder was effective in treating chronic anal fissures. People used the aloe cream three times a day for six weeks.
Improvements were shown in pain, hemorrhaging upon defection, and wound healing. These results were significantly different from those of the control group. While this research is promising, further studies are needed to expand upon this research.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera)
Aloe Vera Care Guide
Sitting your Aloe Vera plant in any South facing window is a great choice because it will get lots of sunlight. Like most succulents, it’s literally designed for such places and as a result you will get lots of good quality and even growth.
However Aloe’s will also be quite happy in a north facing aspect, growth will be slower and you will have to rotate the plant pot every month or so to ensure an even look. In general the Aloe Vera plant is adaptable when it comes to light and it’s difficult to go wrong.
Good strong light – even with some direct sunlight – will help you to grow a quality looking Aloe
During Spring and Summer water thoroughly every time the soil has dried out. Where you decide to put the plant will dictate how long it takes for the soil to dry out and therefore how long you need to wait between watering’s. Anything from a week up to three would be normal.
Aloe’s can use a lot of water in hot weather so don’t let the watering can be a stranger.
In Autumn (Fall) and Winter, water much less frequently. Some people don’t water their plants at all during Winter and if it’s in a very cool spot this is probably a very good idea in order to prevent root / stem rot.
Humidity is really not important for almost all succulents and this includes the Aloe Vera plant.
Too much fertiliser on Aloe Vera’s can produce very soft and bendy leaves which is normally undesirable in the rigid structural striking varieties. It’s a good idea therefore to feed only once in Spring and once again in Summer with either a cactus or an all purpose feed. Only feed established plants.
Like it’s light requirements, an Aloe Vera will take very high temperatures in its stride so don’t worry about overheating. It will expect a cooler temperature in Winter though, but not less than 5°C / 41°F.
In a short space of time, Aloe Vera plants usually produce a lot of offsets or suckers which will gradually fill the pot. Repot when the pot becomes very congested.
You can either keep all the plants together in a bigger pot if you prefer a “busy” appearance, or separate some of the offsets for propagation or to give away as gifts.
When it comes to Aloe Vera plant propagation it’s good news. It’s very easy! Offsets or suckers from Aloe’s are very straight forward to get going, as they do it mostly by themselves with little assistance from us.
When you repot, gently separate the offsets from the parent ensuring each one has at least a few roots of its own. Use a free draining compost mix and water well, wait a few weeks before you water again and never heavily until the offset has properly established.
Speed of Growth
Your Aloe Vera plant growth will be moderately fast in good conditions. Very little growth should be expected if conditions are poor and of course over the Winter months when everything slows down.
Height / Spread
They normally only reach 45cm / 18in in height. But spread (over many years) can be immense due to the offsets which fan out around the plant.
The Aloe’s do sometimes flowers indoors. Some types will flower annually and others less.
To flower the plant needs to be established and have reached maturity (4 – 6 years old). Good light conditions are also needed. They can flower at any time of the year and the flowering stem comes shooting out so quickly you might not notice it until it’s already pretty long.
Aloe variegata or the “Tiger Aloe” with flower buds that are just days from opening
Is Aloe Vera Poisonous?
Some people can have adverse skin reactions to the Aloe Vera sap, but most people don’t have any issues when it’s applied topically. However it can be toxic in high levels when consumed and the plant is poisonous to cats and dogs.
These plants get heavy. Really heavy. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you pick a pot which is wider than it is tall, i.e. a typical cactus style bowl that is wide and shallow. This will drastically help prevent the plant from tipping over when it starts to become unbalanced. Failing that, be sure that the container is heavy otherwise it will tip over at some point.
Aloe Vera Plant Problems
There are black spots on my Aloe Vera leaves
Normally this is caused by over watering.
Mushy leaves / Plant death
Again normally caused by over watering, or exposure to sub zero temperatures.
Wrinkly / droopy / almost transparent leaves
In most cases this is the plant begging for water. It normally only gets like this when all its internal water supplies (inside the leaves) are depleted. This will be some weeks or even months after you last watered it.
However if you’re sure you’re watering the plant often, it is quite possible you have actually overdone it instead. Take the Aloe out of its pot and check the roots, if they are dead or mushy then you have Root Rot and this is the cause of your wrinkly / droopy leaves.
– Take the plant out of its pot to get a look at the roots. If most of the roots are healthy cut off the dead and mushy ones and then repot with fresh gritty compost. Go easy on the watering going forward. Your plant should reestablish itself quickly.
– If most or all of the roots are dead, you are likely going to lose the plant. Either try the first point, and hope for the best, or cut off the biggest leaves reducing the plant size by about half. While not a guarantee, it’s possible with less leaves for what little roots are left to support them, the plant will pull through.
Broken / snapped off leaves
This has probably been caused by naughty people, perhaps curious about the Aloe Vera gel inside the leaves. If you know who it was and you have an offset to share, give them a plant of their own!
About the Author
Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.
Also on Ourhouseplants.com
(Gallery) Credit for the photo of the massive Aloe blooming in her front room to Miss Gelly
(Article) Credit for the second Aloe Vera photo to Sweet Succulents
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What are the risks of using aloe vera?
Researchers warn against the chronic use of aloe vera; however, if the aloe product is free of aloin — an extract of the plant that has been found to cause colorectal cancer in rats — it may be OK as a topical remedy for sunburn. Aloin is found between the outer leaf of the aloe plant and the gooey stuff inside.
- Side effects. Topical aloe vera might cause skin irritation. Oral aloe, which has a laxative effect, can cause cramping and diarrhea. This may cause electrolyte imbalances in the blood of people who ingest aloe for more than a few days. It can also stain the colon, thus making it difficult to visualize the colon during a colonoscopy. So avoid it for a month before having a colonoscopy. Aloe gel, for topical or oral use, should be free of aloin, which can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Risks. Do not apply topical aloe vera to deep cuts or severe burns. People allergic to garlic, onions, and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. High doses of oral aloe are dangerous. Don’t take oral aloe if you have intestinal problems, heart disease, hemorrhoids, kidney problems, diabetes, or electrolyte imbalances.
- Interactions. If you take any drugs regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using aloe supplements. They could interact with medicines and supplements like diabetes drugs, heart drugs, laxatives, steroids, and licorice root. The oral use of aloe vera gel may also block the absorption of medicines taken at the same time.
Given the lack of evidence about its safety, aloe vera supplements should not be used orally by children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Kim Chang, aesthetician with the Baylor Aesthetics Studio
Aloe Vera gel is typically used when you get a little too much sun and need some relief. However, an expert at Baylor College of Medicine says Aloe Vera has multiple benefits for your skin.
“Aloe Vera has lots of uses,” said Kim Chang, aesthetician with the Baylor Aesthetics Studio. “It contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C, and it is highly anti-inflammatory. It can help treat burns, acne and dry skin.”
Chang added that when it comes to acne, Aloe Vera works best on superficial surface acne rather than cystic or deeper acne.
“The enzymes in it can also help exfoliate the skin to make it smoother, but if you are looking for something stronger I would recommend using a grainy exfoliator paired with a pure moisturizer,” she said.
Although Aloe Vera can help moisturize, Chang said when overused, it can dry out the skin. She says that the enzymes in the plant act like an exfoliator and any time you exfoliate the skin too much it will begin to become too oily or too dry depending on your skin type.
Another benefit to Aloe Vera is that it can help with future lines and wrinkles. “One popular question is, can it help get rid of my wrinkles, and the simple answer is no. A big thing to differentiate is that it doesn’t reverse your skin from aging , but helps prevent you from getting deeper wrinkles and lines,” Chang added.
Aloe Vera can also be used on the hair to treat dandruff by rubbing it into your hair and scalp.
Chang says the best way to use Aloe Vera is to carefully cut open a plant’s leaf, scoop out the gel-like insides and apply that to the affected area. If you don’t have a plant at home, Chang says that products containing Aloe work just as well. Although a fresh plant is better to use, the benefit of using products containing aloe is that the product will typically contain other ingredients that will help with what you are trying to treat.
If you are looking to go the extra mile, Chang says you can even find drinks that contain Aloe Vera. “Some people believe that Aloe Vera drinks might help support collagen in your skin which prevents the signs of aging, but there has been little research to support this claim,” she said.
Did you know that the manufacturing of aloe vera extracts is one of the largest botanical industries in the world? In the U.S., it has found widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. If you walk down the health and beauty isles of your local grocery store, you’ll likely see multiple products made with aloe vera. But this well-known plant has a long history of medicinal use.
In traditional Indian medicine, aloe vera is used for constipation, skin diseases, worm infestation, infections and as a natural remedy for colic. And in Chinese medicine, it’s often recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases.
Aloe vera was officially listed as a purgative and skin protectant by the U.S. pharmacopoeia in 1820 and was clinically used in the 1930s for the treatment of radiotherapy burns to the skin and mucous membranes. Today, cosmetic companies commonly add sap or other derivatives from aloe vera to a range of products, including makeup, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream, shampoos, tissues and moisturizers. The plant is even used commercially as an ingredient in yogurts, beverages and desserts.
Most people have heard of the aloe plant and know that it has some benefits, but may not fully understand its potential as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of issues affecting your skin, digestion, immunity and more.
Aloe vera is one of approximately 420 species of the genus Aloe. The botanical name of aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis miller, and it belongs to the Liliaceae family. It’s a perennial, xerophytic, succulent plant that’s green and has triangular, fleshy leaves with serrated edges.
The geographic origin of aloe vera is believed to be in Sudan, and it was later introduced in the Mediterranean region and most other warm areas of the world, including Africa, Asia, India, Europe and America.
Aloe gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe plant leaf. Aloe latex comes from just under the plant’s skin and is yellow in color. Some aloe products are made from the whole crushed leaf, so they contain both gel and latex.
Most people use aloe gel as a remedy for skin conditions, including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores, but there’s a host of other aloe vera benefits. And aloe latex is used to improve depression, constipation, asthma and diabetes.
Aloe vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the Aloe species; astonishingly, more than 75 potentially active components have been identified in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids. It provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and eight of the nine essential amino acids.
Aloe vera contains many vitamins and minerals that are vital for proper growth and function of all body systems. Here’s an easy explanation of aloe vera’s active components:
- Aloe vera contains antioxidant vitamins A, C and E — plus vitamin B12, folic acid and choline.
- It contains eight enzymes, including aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase and peroxidase.
- The minerals present include calcium, copper, selenium, chromium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc.
- It provides 12 anthraquinones — or compounds known as laxatives. Among these are aloin and emodin, which act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
- Four fatty acids are present, including cholesterol, campesterol, beta-sisosterol and lupeol — all providing anti-inflammatory results.
- The hormones called auxins and gibberellins are present; they help with healing wounds and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Aloe vera provides sugars, such as monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides.
1. Soothes Rashes and Skin Irritations
There have been numerous reports that have explored the role of topical aloe vera administration in skin conditions and wound healing management, including the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, oral mucositis, surgical wounds and as a home remedy for burn injuries.
The first study of this kind was surprisingly done in 1935! Aloe vera extract was reported to provide rapid relief from the itching and burning associated with severe radiation dermatitis and skin regeneration.
A 1996 study done at the Department of Clinical Physiology in Sweden included 60 patients with chronic psoriasis who participated in a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of aloe vera or placebo cream. The cure rate in the aloe vera group was 83 percent, compared to only 7 percent in the placebo group, and there were no relapses reported at the 12-month follow-up.
In 2009, a systematic review summarized 40 studies that involved using aloe vera for dermatological purposes. The results suggest that oral administration of aloe vera in mice works effectively to heal wounds, can decrease the number and size of papillomas (small growths on the skin), and reduce the incidence of tumors by more than 90 percent in the liver, spleen and bone marrow.
The studies also showed that aloe vera effectively treats genital herpes, psoriasis, dermatitis, frostbite, burns and inflammation. It can be used safely as an antifungal and antimicrobial agent.
2. Soothes Burns
Aloe vera gel has a protective effect against radiation damage to the skin. With the threat of nuclear warfare always looming, the U.S. government conducted research on the ability of aloe vera to treat thermal and radiation burns with the aim of introducing its use into the military.
By 1959, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of ointments made with aloe vera as an over-the-counter medication for healing burns on the skin. When aloe vera gel is used on burns, it prevents UV-induced suppression so the area can heal at a faster rate.
3. Heals Cold Sores
Research published in the Journal of Dentistry shows that when aloe vera gel is applied to a cold sore a few times a day, it helps to ease the discomfort and speed up the healing process. It’s also safe when consumed by mouth, so there is no need to worry about swallowing this natural treatment.
Aloe vera has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that accelerate healing and reduce pain associated with cold sores — or any sores on the mouth.
The amino acids and vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also extremely helpful. One of the vitamin B6 benefits, for example, is its ability to act as a natural pain treatment and create antibodies that our immune system uses to protect us.
4. Moisturizes Hair and Scalp
Aloe vera is a great natural treatment for dry hair or an itchy scalp. It has nourishing properties, and the vitamins and minerals that are present in the plant keep your hair strong and healthy. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it also helps with dandruff, and the gel’s enzymes can rid the scalp of dead cells and promote the regeneration of skin tissue around the hair follicles.
Aloe also helps stop the itching associated with dandruff or a dried scalp. Too many shampoos and conditioners are full of chemicals that damage hair and can even cause inflammation and skin irritations; adding aloe vera is an effective way to keep your scalp free of bacteria and uncomfortable skin reactions.
5. Treats Constipation
The use of aloe latex as a laxative is well-researched. The anthraquinones present in the latex create a potent laxative that increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis, which are contractions that break down food and mix the chyme.
In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of 28 healthy adults, aloe vera latex was reported to have a laxative effect compared to a placebo that was stronger than the stimulant laxative phenolphthalein — making aloe vera a natural constipation relief remedy.
6. Helps with Digestion
Because of its anti-inflammatory and laxative components, another aloe vera benefit is its ability to help with digestion. Juice from the plant helps digestion, normalizes acid/alkaline and pH balance, lessens yeast formation, encourages digestive bacteria and regularizes bowel processing.
One study reported in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that 30 milliliters of aloe vera juice twice a day decreased the level of discomfort in 33 patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Flatulence also decreased for the participants, but stool consistence, urgency and frequency remained the same. Although the study suggests that the juice can be beneficial to people with IBS, more data is needed to conclude that it can be used as an effective treatment.
Another study from the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine tested aloe vera on a group of rats with gastrointestinal problems. The gastric acid levels were significantly decreased in rats treated with the plant. The study also measured the gut-brain connection and reported data on the water content found in the brains of the rats with aloe vera treatment. The water content in the treated rats was reduced, which suggests that the brain influences the gut and gastrointestinal problems.
Aloe vera juice has also been used to soothe and heal stomach ulcers because it has antibacterial agents and natural healing properties that can restore the stomach lining back to health.
Related: Aloe Vera Juice: The Gut-Friendly, Detoxifying Drink
7. Boosts the Immune System
The enzymes present in aloe vera break down the proteins that we eat into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, which enables the cells to function properly. The bradykinase in aloe vera stimulates the immune system and kills infections. Zinc is also an important component in this beneficial plant — making it a great natural tool for combating zinc deficiency.
Zinc is essential to maintain immune function. It helps us ward off diseases, kill bacteria and protect the function of our cell membranes. Zinc is also a key structural component for a slew of hormone receptors and proteins that contribute to healthy, balanced mood and immune function.
A 2014 report points out that aloe vera is being studied for its uses in dentistry; this is because it has proved to be be an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal plant, and it’s very good in building up the immune system without causing allergic reactions or side effects. It’s gaining popularity because it’s completely natural — and it’s being called a miracle plant.
8. Provides Antioxidants and Reduces Inflammation
We know that inflammation is at the root of most diseases. Aloe vera provides an amazing number of vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage.
Vitamin A, for instance, plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin because it’s an antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Vitamin C is another important component found in aloe vera; it protects the body from cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling. Vitamin E benefits include being a powerful antioxidant that reduces free radical damage, fights inflammation and helps naturally slow the aging of cells.
These antioxidant properties are also helpful when you’re exposed to cigarette smoke or UV rays from sunlight — they protect the skin from skin cancer and fight skin inflammation after exposure to the sun. Aloe vera can also naturally treat acne and eczema since it helps the healing process in the skin. Bradykinase, also present in aloe vera, helps reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically.
9. Treats Diabetes
Some evidence in humans and animals suggests that aloe vera is able to alleviate the chronic hyperglycemia and perturbed lipid profile that are common among people with diabetes and are major risk factors for cardiovascular complications.
In two related clinical trials, 72 diabetic women without drug therapy were administered one tablespoon of aloe vera gel or a placebo for six weeks. Blood glucose and serum triglyceride levels were significantly decreased with aloe vera treatment.
In the second trial, the effects of aloe vera gel or placebo in combination with glibenclamide, a commonly prescribed antidiabetic medication, were investigated; this, too, resulted in significant reductions in blood glucose and serum triglyceride concentrations in the aloe vera group.
Aloe Vera Products and How to Find
It’s easy to find aloe vera products — including aloe gel, latex, juice and extracts — in your local health food store. But you’ll want to choose a product that’s made by a reputable company to ensure that the extraction and processing methods didn’t reduce the plant’s therapeutic properties.
The processing method has the largest effect on the number and amount of active ingredients in an aloe vera product. The commercial production process of aloe vera products typically involves the crushing, grinding or pressing of the whole leaf to produce juice, followed by various steps of filtration and stabilization to achieve the desired extract. Although this is easier for the manufacturers, it can result in a product that contains little or no active ingredients.
It turns out, after extracting the gel, heating it and using fillers to make aloe vera products, the health benefits are minimized. In order to stop the common misrepresentations in the industry, and the false idea that all aloe vera products produce the same benefits, the International Aloe Science Council developed a certification program that validates the quality and quantity of aloe vera in approved commercial products. When looking to purchase aloe vera, read the labels carefully and look for this important certification.
In addition to purchasing an aloe vera product, you also have the option to grow your own aloe plant at home. If you buy a potted plant, keep it in a window that gets a good amount of sunshine because aloes love the sun; the pot can even be moved outdoors during the summer months.
Aloe is a succulent and therefore stores a lot of water within its leaves, but it needs to be watered at least two or three times a month. In the winter, aloe becomes somewhat dormant, and during this time you should water the plant very little. Having your own plant is an easy and inexpensive way to experience all of these amazing aloe vera benefits every day.
These recommended aloe vera doses are based on scientific research and publications. Make sure to read the label on each product before using it, and notify your doctor if you experience any side effects.
- For constipation, take 100–200 milligrams of aloe vera daily.
- For wound healing, psoriasis and other skin infections, use 0.5 percent aloe extract cream three times daily.
- For dental plaque and gum disease, use a toothpaste that contains aloe vera for 24 weeks, or add a teaspoon of aloe vera gel to this Homemade Mineralizing Toothpaste.
- For high cholesterol, take one capsule of aloe vera containing 300 milligrams twice daily for two months.
- For inflammatory bowel disease, take 100 milliliters of aloe vera drink or juice twice daily for four weeks.
- For skin burns, use a 97.5 percent aloe gel on the burn until it’s healed.
- For dry scalp or dandruff, add a teaspoon of aloe gel to this Homemade Honey Citrus Shampoo.
- To protect your skin from infection and bacteria, add a teaspoon of aloe gel to this Homemade Body Butter Lotion.
Risks and Side Effects
Aloe latex should not be taken in high doses because it may cause adverse side effects, such as stomach pain and cramps. Long-term use of large amounts of aloe latex might also cause diarrhea, kidney problems, blood in the urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss and heart issues.
Don’t take aloe vera, either gel or latex, if you’re pregnant or breast feeding. There are some reports of aloe causing miscarriage and birth defects. Children younger than 12 years old may experience abdominal pain, cramps and diarrhea, so I don’t recommend aloe vera for child use either.
- If you have diabetes, some research suggests aloe might lower blood sugar, so if you take it by mouth and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.
- If you have intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or obstruction, don’t take aloe latex because it’s a bowel irritant.
- Don’t take aloe latex if you have hemorrhoids because it could make the condition worse.
- High doses of aloe latex have been linked to kidney failure and other serious conditions, so don’t take it if you have kidney problems.
- Aloe might affect blood sugar levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking it at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- If you take digoxin (Lanoxin), don’t use aloe latex because it works as a stimulant laxative and decreases potassium levels in the body; low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects when taking this medication.
Before taking aloe vera, consult your doctor if you take the following medications:
- Diabetes medications
- Sevoflurane (Ultane)
- Stimulant laxatives
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Diuretic medications (water pills)
- Aloe vera is a perennial plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family.
- The plant produces two substances used for medicine: a gel that’s obtained from the cells in the center of the leaf, and the latex, which is obtained from the cells just beneath the leaf’s skin.
- Aloe vera contains more than 75 potentially active components, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids and enzymes. It is these components that give aloe its therapeutic potential. The plant is commonly used for burns, wounds, digestive concerns, skin and hair health and inflammatory issues.
- Aloe vera products, including aloe gel, latex, juice and extracts, can be found in many grocery and health food stores. Be sure to choose a product that’s made by a reputable company to ensure that the extraction and processing methods used don’t reduce the plant’s beneficial properties.
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