My mother recently began to incorporate aloe vera juice into her diet after discovering its amazing detoxifying effects on her body.
So this past Mother’s Day, I decided to forgo the traditional flowers and chocolates and get my mom something unique: a perennial aloe vera plant. My dad was sitting in the room and eyed the green, fleshy, short-stemmed plant curiously. “This should look nice in the kitchen,” he said.
Of course, aloe vera is much more than just a fancy household plant! Deriving from the Aloaceae family, aloe vera has been used for centuries to treat many health conditions.
The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Indians have praised aloe vera throughout the years for its health benefits, including its wound-healing abilities.
Aloe Vera: Good-To-Go in Any Form!
The two most popular forms of aloe vera are aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice. Aloe vera can also be purchased in tablet form, capsules, powders, lotion, ointment, or as a cream. It is best to get certified organic and preservative-free aloe vera products.• Aloe vera juice: Aloe vera juice can be used internally to treat many health problems, including digestion issues. It is made from the outer parts of the aloe vera leaf and it is typically consumed as a tonic. It can help improve the immune system and it possesses benefits for the skin, similar to the aloe vera gel. The suggested serving size for pure aloe vera juice is four tablespoons daily, but you can take as much as eight.• Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera gel has a thicker consistency than the juice, and it is made from the central portion of aloe vera leaves. It can be spread onto the skin to heal wounds, sunburns, minor cuts, burns, and other skin conditions. It can also be added to water and mixed with powdered supplements. Aloe vera gel also contains substances such as polysaccharides and glycoproteins, which will help hydrate the skin.• Whole leaf vs. inner fillet: There are two varieties of the aloe vera gel or juice—the whole leaf and the inner fillet. They both have the same health benefits, but the whole leaf has slightly more of a laxative effect than the inner fillet.
25 Benefits and Uses of Aloe Vera
Why is aloe vera such a miracle plant? Aloe vera is loaded with a variety of enzymes, nutrients, and phytochemicals, including 12 varieties of anthraquinones (organic compounds that possess pain-killing and anti-microbial properties) and the majority of essential amino acids—amino acids are imperative for muscle development and play an important role in the development of the central nervous system.Aloe vera also contains a large assortment of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, choline, vitamin B12, and other B vitamins. Its minerals include zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, chromium, and calcium.The following are the top 25 benefits of aloe vera.
1. Digestion and intestinal issues: Aloe vera is a well-known digestive aid. It can help relieve digestive issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. It also has a laxative effect that can improve bowel movements. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, researchers found that aloe vera gel could relieve constipation in rats. The aloe vera extract acemannan has also been found to decrease symptoms and inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis.
2. Aids peptic ulcers: Aloe vera can help relieve intestinal bleeding related to peptic ulcers. The anthraquinones in aloe vera is responsible for stopping the bleeding.
3. Boosts the immune system: Regular consumption of aloe vera can help boost the immune system. The polysaccharides in aloe vera juice will stimulate white blood cells that help fight viruses in your immune system. Aloe vera is also considered an adaptogen, and it can help the body adapt to physical, environmental, and emotional stress.
4. Treats wounds, burns, and inflammation: The plant sterols are responsible for the natural anti-inflammatory action of aloe vera. It also contains salicylic acid to help relieve burns, cuts, wounds, abrasions, and scars.
5. Lowers cholesterol: Aloe vera is very helpful for heart health. The beta-Sitosterol in aloe vera has been found to help lower cholesterol. Overall, aloe vera may help decrease heart disease risk by reducing cholesterol, improving oxidation and circulation of the blood, and regulating blood pressure.
6. Helpful for diabetes: A study published in the journal Hormone Research in 1986 found that aloe vera has a hypoglycemic effect and can lower blood glucose levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. In a systematic review published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003, aloe vera was found to positively improve glucose control in diabetic patients.
7. Treats psoriasis and other skin issues: Aloe vera is considered an effective remedy for rosacea, allergic skin reactions, rashes, and skin conditions such as psoriasis. In a study published in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health in 1996, researchers found that a topical aloe vera cream effectively treated psoriasis symptoms. The study observed 60 patients with psoriasis, and they were given either aloe vera extract cream or a placebo. The study was conducted over a period of six weeks and included monthly follow-up visits for about a year.
8. Asthma and respiratory disorders: The anti-inflammatory abilities of aloe vera can reduce asthma symptoms, making it easier for asthma patients to breathe.
9. Alkalinizes the body: Aloe vera is alkalinizing by nature, and it can help balance pH levels in the body. Aloe vera will complement a diet that’s high in other alkalinizing foods, including many vegetables and fruits.
10. Rejuvenates the female reproductive system: Aloe vera helps rejuvenate the uterus, and it can help relieve painful menstrual periods. The remedy is often used to improve symptoms of menopause.
11. Helpful weight loss aid: When you drink aloe vera juice on a regular basis, it helps your body burn calories quicker by stimulating your metabolism.
12. Safer mouthwash alternative: Do you want a chemical-free mouthwash alternative? Aloe vera juice may be a safe and effective solution. The ingredients in aloe vera, such as vitamin C, can help relieve swelling or bleeding gums. It can also help reduce dental plaque, according to a 2014 study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences.
13. May help kill cancer cells: A 2013 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that a compound in aloe vera leaves called aloe-emodin can inhibit the spread of breast cancer cells. Another study found that aloe vera may benefit chemotherapy patients, and can improve survival time and tumor regression.
14. Improves wrinkles and skin elasticity: Aloe vera contains antioxidants, which can help hydrate skin, improve skin elasticity, and reduce wrinkles. Aloe vera will stimulate the fibroblasts that produce elastin fibers and collagen; as a result, there are fewer wrinkles on the skin with the use of aloe vera. The zinc and amino acids found in in aloe vera help moisten the skin.
15. Beneficial sunburn treatment: Aloe vera can help treat sunburns at the epithelial level of the skin, and it has a protective effect on skin exposure to UV (ultraviolet) and gamma radiation.
16. Acne prevention and treatment: Aloe vera pulp has an anti-acne effect and is an effective skin cleanser. Aloe vera gel or juice can be applied to acne or pimples for an effective natural treatment. It can also help prevent acne outbreaks.
17. Helpful eczema treatment: Aloe vera is useful in the treatment of eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. A 2007 review published in the International Journal of Toxicology found that aloe-derived ingredients could topically treat eczema.
18. Treatment for hair conditions: Aloe vera is the ultimate tonic for your hair. It is considered an effective remedy for hair loss, itchy scalp, dandruff, and dry and damaged hair. It can also be used as a natural hair conditioner. The amino acids and other nutrients found in aloe vera can help strengthen hair. You can also use aloe vera as a shampoo when combined with jojoba oil and coconut oil.
19. Effective foot cleanser: Aloe vera can be used as an effective foot scrub when combined with rice powder and sugar. Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes; then gently scrub your feet with the aloe vera formula for about 10 minutes. Aloe vera is considered an effective treatment for athlete’s foot.
20. Helps strengthen teeth and gums: Using aloe vera gel promotes healthy gums and teeth. In fact, aloe vera is often found as an ingredient in toothpaste! A 2011 study published in the Journal of Indian Society Periodontology found that aloe vera gel could improve periodontal disease.
21. Useful for arthritis and rheumatism pain: In a 2010 paper published in the British Journal of Community Nursing, it was suggested that the anti-inflammatory effect of aloe vera may be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
22. Natural dry skin moisturizer: Do you have dry skin? Aloe vera gel can help moisten your skin naturally, according to a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. In the study, 30 adult women had aloe vera gel applied to their skin —the aloe vera improved skin integrity and dry skin.
23. Prevents dark circles under the eyes: The many nutrients found in aloe vera can help prevent dark circles under the eyes. Vitamins A, C, E, vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, and magnesium are all beneficial nutrients to prevent dark circles.
24. Great for swollen lips: Aloe vera is also a great natural lip balm, and it can help reduce swollen lips after gently massaging them. Aloe vera, often combined with jojoba and beeswax, is typically found in commercial lip balms.
25. Keeps produce fresher: In a 2014 study published in the journal Fruits, it was discovered that coating aloe vera gel on tomato plants would block some harmful bacteria types. In other words, aloe gel may help preserve fruits and vegetables naturally!
How to Make Aloe Vera Juice and Aloe Vera Gel
It turns out the aloe vera plant was a pretty good Mother’s Day present, don’t you think? My mom could easily try to make aloe vera juice herself with the plant in a few easy steps:
- Cut a large aloe leaf from the plant and let the resin drip by holding it upside down. The juice will drain when you cut it.
- Cut the leaf in half and filet the gel from inside the leaf.
- In a blender, combine the gel with a cup of freshly squeezed fruit juice and a cup of filtered water. Chill the juice in the refrigerator then serve when ready to drink.
The aloe vera gel is just as easy to prepare!
- Slice the outer leaf of the aloe plant. These leaves contain lots of the gel! It is a good idea not to make too much aloe gel, since it is perishable. Be careful not to cut too many of the outer leaves—it can be damaging to the plant.
- Place the leaves in a cup upright where the dark yellow resin will drain out. Peel the leaves with a vegetable peeler. Scoop out the gel with a spoon.
- Place the gel into a blender and mix well. You could also add supplements to it, such as vitamin C or vitamin E, to help preserve your gel.
- Finally, place the gel in a clean, sterilized jar. If preservatives were added, it will last for a few months in the refrigerator. Without preservatives, it will last for one to two weeks.
Aloe Vera—Final Thoughts
The amazing aloe vera plant can be used for many more medicinal purposes, including treatment for minor vaginal irritations, herpes, urinary tract infections, bursitis, varicose veins, multiple sclerosis, depression, glaucoma, and eye and ear infections. It is not recommended to take aloe vera with diuretics or the irregular heart rhythm drug digoxin. Aloe vera, digoxin, and diuretics can decrease potassium levels in the body, and the combination of the aloe vera and the drugs may drop potassium too low.
Remember, it is best to consult with your doctor before introducing anything new to your diet.
See More :
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Gupta, R.K., et al., “Preliminary antiplaque efficacy of aloe vera mouthwash on 4 day plaque re-growth model: randomized control trial,” Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences 2014; 24(2): 139-144.
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Huang, P.H., et al., “Emodin and Aloe-Emodin Suppress Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation through ER-alpha Inhibition,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/376123.
Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, “Final report on the safety assessment of Aloe Andongensis Extract, Aloe Andongensis Leaf Juice, aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Protoplasts, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, aloe Barbadensis Leaf Polysaccharides, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice, and Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice Extract,” International Journal of Toxicology 2007; 26: 1-50.
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