Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years in all kinds of health issues. Aloe vera is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. In ancient Greece, the doctors used the plant in their prescriptions while with the ancient Egyptians; the plant was not only used as a medicine, but also as the elixir of life, for skin care and embalming. They called this plant: “The Plant of Immortality”.
It’s used in traditional Indian medicine for constipation, skin diseases, worm infestation, and infections. In Chinese medicine, it’s often recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases, and in the Western world, it has found widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries.
Aloe Vera Nutrition Facts
Aloe vera contains many vitamins and minerals vital for proper growth and function of all the body’s systems.
- 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.
- Minerals such as calcium, copper, selenium, chromium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc are present in aloe vera.
- It provides 12 anthraquinones — or compounds known as laxatives. Among these are aloin and emodin, which act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
- Four fatty acidsare 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.
What Are the Aloe Vera Benefits?
Most people use aloe gel as a remedy for skin conditions, including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores, but there is a host of other aloe vera benefits. Aloe gel is used for treating osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, fever, itching and inflammation.
It’s also used as a natural remedy for asthma, stomach ulcers, diabetes and for soothing side effects of radiation treatment. Aloe latex is used to naturally treat depression, constipation, asthma and diabetes.
- Helps with Digestion
Because of its anti-inflammatory and laxative components, another aloe vera benefit is its ability to help with digestion. Aloe vera juice 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.
- 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 aloe vera — making it a great source to combat zinc deficiency — because it’s 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.
- Treats 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 aloe vera ointment 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.
- Skin care
You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. This may be because the plant thrives in dry, unstable climates. To survive the harsh conditions, the plant’s leaves store water. These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates, make it an effective face moisturizer.
- 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. This add natural diabetes cure to the list of aloe vera benefits.
In two related clinical, 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Moisturizes Hair and Scalp
Aloe vera is a great natural treatment for dry hair or an itchy scalp. It has nourishing properties, and the tons of vitamins and minerals that are present keep your hair strong and healthy. Because of aloe vera’s 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 conditions 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.
- Heals Cold Sores
When aloe vera gel is applied to a cold sore a few times a day, it eases the discomfort and helps speed 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, vitamins B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also extremely helpful. One of the vitamin B6 benefits for example, is it acts as a natural pain treatment and creates antibodies that our immune system uses to protect us.
- Aids In Weight Loss
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 maximize 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 utilization, improving overall health as well as weight loss success.”
- Reduces dental plaque
Tooth decay and diseases of the gum are very common health problems. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to reduce the buildup of plaque (bacterial biofilms) on the teeth.
In a mouth rinse study of 300 healthy people, 100% pure Aloe vera juice was compared to the standard mouthwash ingredient chlorhexidine. After 4 days of use, the Aloe vera mouth rinse was found to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque.
Aloe vera does this by killing the plaque-producing bacterium Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, as well as the yeast Candida albicans.