As cited by Lee Ritter, N.D, “I believe the 21st century will confirm Aloe Vera to be the GREATEST medicine, mankind has ever known.” In this modern era, it has become evident that Aloe Vera (an herb grown widely all over the world), encompasses innumerable medicinal, health, cosmetic, agricultural, and culinary properties that benefits the human body.
This article will emphasize the top aloe vera benefits of this succulent botanical as well as certain contraindications to be aware of.
Top 19 Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
1) An Awesome Moisturizer For Your Skin
For females, Aloe Vera is like a wish coming true! It not only has moisturizing and hydrating properties due to its high content of water (99%), vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin E but what’s more, it contains antibacterial characteristics and consequently, utilized as an eye-opening facial cleanser and skin brightener. The antibacterial actions are because of the presence of natural compounds in this herb, like anthraquinones (AQ’). AQ’s have long been renowned for their antimicrobial attributes. Some people might be allergic to the AQ’S; hence, it is a better idea to do a patch test first via applying Aloe Vera over a small area, when using it for the first time.
2) Skin Toner and Brightener
As mentioned above, Aloe rejuvenates your skin by brightening and toning it up. To utilize it as a skin brightener, it is best to grab an organic Aloe Vera plant. Carve a big leaf, cut a chunk in half, and you find your gel inside. Take that half and rub it onto your skin, or alternatively, get the juice extract and apply that onto your skin, covering all parts. Leave it on for approximately 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off. There you go with a beautiful fair skin, cutting a dash with your favorite apparel!
3) Antioxidant and Anti-Aging
Studies demonstrate that the flavonoids, vitamin E, and polysaccharides present in Aloe display potent antioxidant activities. Antioxidants are substances which defend from free radical damage (free-radicals are highly reactive molecules, which stimulate cell injury, and are one of the fundamental causes for the formation of wrinkles). For the same reason, this astounding botanical serves as an anti-aging agent. Aloe triggers the proliferation of fibroblasts (cells, which are destined to produce collagen). Collagen is a major structural protein found in various tissues of the body, including the skin. In the skin, this protein functions to strengthen the elastic fibers, rendering a perfectly elastic, tightened, and wrinkle-proof skin.
4) A One-Step Solution for Sunburn
Fear no sun! Recognized as an all-time effective remedy for treating sunburns, Aloe works as a one-step way out of sunburn. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends employing Aloe-containing lotions or creams, or most effectively the natural extract itself to soothe the scorching sunburned areas. Alternatively, placing Aloe-ice cubes assist a lot with the erythema solare/sunburns.
5) Wound Healer
Surprisingly, this cactus-looking plant treats the wounds and scorching burns effectively. Researchers after researchers corroborate its effectiveness as a wound healer. It comprises of essential plant hormones, called auxins and gibberellins that hasten recovery from wounds. As aforementioned, Aloe stimulates collagen production. Apart from giving Aloe its anti-aging effects, collagen is also imperative in the mechanism of tissue repair and ultimately wound healing.
6) A Strong Anti-inflammatory Agent
Known as the fruit of the Earth, Aloe reduces inflammation, both externally (skin and wounds) and internally. Studies illustrate that gibberellins found in the Aloe account for its vast anti-inflammatory assets. Therefore, its use in diseases like osteoarthritis (a musculoskeletal disorder, characterized by inflammatory degeneration of the joints, with aging or excessive wear and tear of joints) is showing promising results. Secondly, it includes an enzyme, named bradykinase (an enzyme that blocks the activity of bradykinin. Bradykinin is a robust inflammatory mediator as well as a bronchoconstrictor (a substance that causes contraction of the bronchioles, aka air passages of the lungs) that constitutes as one of the pathophysiological factors for asthma. The other, yet noticeably important anti-inflammatory mechanism of Aloe is the inhibition of the cyclooxygenase pathway. Cyclooxygenase is the enzyme responsible for the production of prostaglandins, which are remarkable inflammatory mediators involved in the pathogenesis of almost all of the inflammatory conditions. This is the similar mode of action of the eminent painkillers, called NSAIDS, like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. Accordingly, Aloe also owns anti-pyretic (aka fever-lowering) activity like aspirin, given that it contains salicylic acid.
7) Analgesic Characteristics
As stated above, Aloe is laden with AQ’s, which happen to be powerful analgesics, and hence employed in various painful conditions.
8) Anti-bactericidal, Antiseptic, and Anti-fungal
The numerous anthraquinones in Aloe impart it the distinctiveness of being an anti-bactericidal, antiseptic, and anti-fungal agent. Talking about fungal infections, it is beneficial for several, including but not limited to yeast infections (where employed as vaginal suppositories or gels), Athlete’s foot, and ringworm infections. When suffering from any of these infections, application of Aloe Vera encourages a faster recovery.
9) A Complete Hair Treatment
Another popular use of Aloe is to attain gorgeously smooth, thick, and shiny hair, since it supplies the hair with tons of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it eliminates dandruff from your hair, because of its hydrating qualities. You can use it as a hair mask either before shampooing or as a leave-in conditioner post-shampoo.
10) Accelerates Digestion and Alleviates Constipation
“Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion” (Lin Yutang). A healthy digestive system is a cornerstone for a strong body and mind. Due to the presence of anthraquinones in Aloe, it functions as a potent laxative, aids in the absorption of nutrients from the gut (bombarded with a multitude of digestive enzymes such as amylase that aids digestion of sugars and starches, lipase breaking down fats, and carboxypeptidase), and thereby, supports a healthy functioning digestive system. Certain studies propose that oral aloe Vera gel may lessen the severity of symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease), as well as constipation-predominant-IBS.
Caution: Preliminary studies demonstrate hepatotoxicity (toxicity to the liver) after the use of Aloe for more than a week, which in turn is due to hypersensitivity. The NIH (National Institute of Health) recommends it to be nontoxic if taken for less than a week in a row.
11) Diminishes Acid Reflux
Just like this incredible Lily of the Desert soothes the outside burns, it relieves the inside (esophagus) burning as well Aloe balances the stomach PH and reduces the symptoms of GERD/acid reflux. Drinking about 2 to 3 ounces of Aloe juice will ease the heartburn and reflux symptoms.
Aloe is a robust adaptogen (adaptogens are herbal substances that enhance physical and mental endurance and therefore, strengthen the immune system) and subsequently, safeguard against various infections. To boot, a particular carbohydrate present in Aloe leaf gel, called acemannan, stimulates the macrophages (types of white blood cells that play a major role in immune response via cytokine production).
13) Detoxification and Weight Loss
Detoxification is the process of elimination of harmful wastes and toxins from the blood. Since Aloe acts as a compelling laxative, drinking Aloe Vera juice will fend off the microorganisms and wastes from your body, reinforcing the natural and adaptive immune system components, and reviving your body from inside out. This detox also aids in weight loss.
14) Anticancer Effects
Some studies suggest Aloe possesses anticancer effects, albeit these results are controversial. One approved mechanism is that this herb fortifies the immune system. The polysaccharides like Glucomannan in Aloe, are supposed to increase white blood cell actions, including those of the natural killer T cells, which slay the cancer cells. Furthermore, lectins and emodins in Aloe have an anti-tumor potential.
15) Ameliorates Acne Scars
Acne/pimples are a chief skin complaint, encountered by many individuals. It usually leaves scars behind, if not managed well and scars are typically a matter of annoyance for loads of people. Aloe vera benefits acne sufferers; if used appropriately, it will call a stop to your suffering! Aloe contains minerals like zinc and thus is a powerful astringent. An astringent is a substance that shrinks or contracts the body tissues, explicating the usage of Aloe in attenuating acne scars and therefore, saves days of nuisances.
16) Pacifies Herpes Sores
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is responsible for oral herpes (aka cold sores, caused by HSV-1), and genital herpes (caused by HSV-2). Aloe, owing to its antiviral effects and the concentration of L-lysine soothes the herpes sores. L-lysine is an essential amino acid that inhibits arginine (an amino acid that promotes HSV replication) and is therefore claimed to help with the burning sores. According to some studies, it is more beneficial in preventing the recurrences than at treating the sores.
17) Superbly Nourishing Dietary Food
To date, this marvellous herb, stuffed with vital vitamins and minerals, serves as one of the top awesome, wholesome foods. It is laden with iron, preventing from iron deficiency anemia. The Aloe comprises of calcium and magnesium, which are indispensable for healthy bones and teeth, and are relaxing to the muscles and nerves.
18) A Relief in Psoriasis/Eczema
Psoriasis is a skin disorder of autoimmune etiology, which clinically manifests as abnormal patches of skin with red, itchy, and silvery scales. Some analysis conducted on psoriasis, using Aloe demonstrated conflicting outcomes, nonetheless, there is some convincing evidence that Aloe eases psoriasis and eczema, owing to its emollient effects. The anti-irritant effects of this magnificent herb have revealed some propitious results in patients suffering from Rosacea.
15) Antihyperglycemic (Reduces Blood Glucose Levels)
Aloe Vera is a folk medicine remedy for diabetes mellitus. It has shown to decrease the blood sugar levels efficiently. People suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels should practice caution with Aloe use).
16) Cognitive Enhancer
Aloe is known to contain a water-soluble nutrient, namely choline that acts as a precursor to a crucial neurotransmitter: acetylcholine (Ach). This elementary neurotransmitter augments memory and cognitive potentials of the brain and its deficiency implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease makes Aloe-containing choline an unmatched miracle on this planet.
“Hello happiness, goodbye sadness!” Some analytical studies show that one of the amino acids in Aloe (i.e. Tryptophan) may alleviate blues. Moreover, its delicate scent used as an aromatherapy will exhilarate and placate your mood.
Some surveys report that Aloe reduces the blood cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, together with the blood pressure, thus improving atherosclerotic heart disease, angina, and MI. Wondering how does this plant prompt a reduction in blood pressure? Well, Aloe contains vitamin C/ascorbic acid and vitamin C has been proven to elicit a drop in blood pressure, since it has diuretic properties, signalling the kidneys to excrete more sodium and water from the body, thereby facilitating dilatation of blood vessel walls and a drop in blood pressure. However, more research will be required to establish its efficacy in attenuating hypertension.
19) Food thickening agent
Aloe Vera’s utilization for culinary purposes is becoming prevalent since it acts as a food thickening and emulsifying agent due to its viscous nature.
Despite aloe vera having a tonne of benefits and healthy effect on the body, there are some risks and side effects that should be warned for certain individuals.
- Allergy: Patients with a known allergy to the Aloe ingredients should best avoid it.
- Pregnancy, menstruation, and breastfeeding: The use of Aloe in pregnancy has not been widely studied, thus can instigate teratogenic (toxic to the fetus) effects in the developing baby.
- Liver disease: As stated above, some anecdotal reports show evidence of hepatotoxicity, so best avoided in patients with liver disease.
- Kidney disease: Among many other herbs, Aloe may be another herb that patients with renal disease should refrain from, as it can be toxic to the kidneys and pose risks of renal failure. Notwithstanding all this, its effects in kidney disease are conflicting.
Regarded as a panacea for a myriad of diseases and conditions, this perennial plant serves as a bestowal of longevity. Literally speaking, I would be gone astray without Aloe and all its health benefits! It is best if you opt for organic, natural aloe plant, nevertheless, if you prefer grabbing the Aloe from an herbal store, always check for the “IASC-certified” label; it is only permissible on products that enclose licensed raw constituents, which meet the criteria established by the International Aloe Science Council.