Aloe vera is a great household plant. Not only does it add sparkle to your home but also helps remove pollutants from the air. But cut open the plant’s thick succulent leaves and a soft, viscous gel-filled with vitamins, minerals, and healing properties will come dripping!
It’s this gooey substance we are interested in, as it’s what has enabled aloe vera to rank among the most commonly used herbs today. It hydrates your skin, strengthens your immunity, and even keeps your veggies looking fresher, longer.
But before we dive into aloe vera uses, let’s learn a thing or two about the plant itself, shall we?
About Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a succulent plant from the lily family that has been used in beauty, skincare, and health products for centuries. It thrives in dry climates in Africa, America, Europe, and Asia, but due to the growing popularity of its medicinal value, more and more people are now including the plant in their flowerpots.
The word “aloe vera” was borrowed from Arabic and Latin. “Alloeh” is Arabic for “bitter substance” and “vera” is Latin for “True”. The naming could have been because fresh aloe vera has an unpleasant bitter taste.
What’s Inside Aloe Vera?
The leaf of an aloe plant has two parts; the gel and the juice. The gel is the odorless, clear liquid found in the innermost section of the leaf and it’s what most people know. Aloe juice or latex is the yellow sap that oozes from the leaf when cracked. It has a bitter, acrid taste.
Among the two, aloe vera gel is the safest to ingest. The juice has been observed to contain laxative properties that can cause grim health complications if consumed too often.
But generally, aloe vera has plenty of good stuff; 80 active ingredients to be exact. Here is a breakdown of the components that make aloe vera such an effective disease fighter.
Aloe vera is rich in vitamins. These include:
Vitamin A: Strengthens the immune system and promotes bone growth. It also helps fight off bacteria or viral threats to the body.
Vitamin C: Protects your body against cardiovascular problems, boosts immunity and hinders the growth of cancerous cells.
Vitamin E: Fights heart disease and strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Improves digestion and promotes a healthy immune and nervous system.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Helps in digestion and strengthens the nervous system. It also works as an antioxidant.
Vitamin B3 (niacin): Effective in treating diabetes and migraines. It also helps in lowering cholesterol levels, detoxifying, and maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Vitamin B6: Fixes the digestive, cardiovascular, and immune systems’ problems. It is connected to dopamine and serotonin functions too.
Vitamin B12: Helps make DNA and maintains healthy blood cells.
Sodium: Essential for keeping the fluids in your body in a normal balance. It also ensures the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Calcium: Famous for strengthening bones and boosting nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Magnesium: Responsible for enhancing the immune system and regulating blood glucose.
Iron: Ensures an effective transfer of oxygen from the lungs to other parts of your body.
Copper: Helps maintain healthy blood vessels, bones, nerves, and immune system. It has also been observed to prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Potassium: Vital for muscle contractions and regulating fluid balance. It may also help prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, aloe vera contains organic compounds known as anthraquinones, which work as antiviral and antibacterial agents. They also help with relieving pain.
The gel from aloe vera contains acemannan, a polysaccharide believed to stimulate the immune system and alleviate gastrointestinal problems. It also boasts an abundance of cellulose, aldopentose, arabinose, galactose, glucose, galacturonic acid, xylose, and mannose, sugars known to have impressive antiviral, antibacterial, anti-mycotic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating properties.
ü Fatty Acids
Aloe vera is rich in fatty acids too, which have shown remarkable antiseptic and inflammatory properties. Also, the plant has plenty of enzymes and hormones that aid in relieving pain and healing wounds.
ü Secondary Compounds
Essential oils are some of the secondary compounds found in aloe vera, and even though they are in small amounts, they provide amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Other anti-inflammatory agents include tanning acid and salicylic acid.
Common Aloe Vera Uses
As you can see, aloe vera is packed with minerals, vitamins, and other active agents that provide a wealth of health benefits. That’s why people have been turning to it for more than just wounds and sunburns. Here are 10 amazing uses for aloe vera.
1. Cleaning The Digestive System
Aloe vera has been used for decades to remove toxins in the intestinal tract and to treat ulcers as well as irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been used to soothe the mucosal tissues inside the gut and alleviate irritation and inflammation of the digestive system in patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
Some doctors prescribe the trendy succulent to patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to minimize the symptoms triggered by the disease.
The latex of aloe is regarded as a natural laxative. Hence, it can be used to get rid of constipation, but in small quantities. Experts recommend a dose of 0.05 to 0.16 grams of dried aloe juice.
If you have hemorrhoids, colitis, or Crohn’s disease, you should not consume aloe orally, as it can cause severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Similarly, if you are on medication, you should not take aloe vera juice, as it can reduce the effectiveness of the drugs on your body.
2. Regulating Blood Sugar
Aloe vera pulp extract may have a future in the treatment of diabetes. It has shown promising results when used to regulate blood sugar. In several types of research, it has been observed that consuming two tablespoons of the juice every day can help bring the blood sugar levels down in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
But people who take medications for diabetes should use aloe vera sparingly. If ingested along with glucose-lowering medications, it could cause the glucose count to fall to dangerous levels. It is, therefore, recommended that you use either aloe vera or diabetes medications to control your sugar levels but not both.
3. Fixing Skin Conditions
One of the most common aloe vera uses in alleviating skin conditions. It has been used in its raw form and added to beauty products to treat burns, inflammation, and dark spots and heal wounds.
The gel from aloe vera can be applied directly to skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis to alleviate their symptoms. Thanks to the gibberellins and auxin hormones present in the plant, aloe vera can help stimulate cell growth, and with a quicker cell replication, cracked, injured, or wounded skin will heal faster.
Another way through which aloe vera benefits your skin is that it minimizes your risk of infection. Conditions like eczema, for instance, if left untreated for a long time can advance into a staph infection, which can be very contagious and much harder to treat.
You can use aloe vera lotions and creams or just smear the gel in its raw form on the affected areas to prevent infection. The inherent anti-inflammatory properties of aloe will actively reduce irritation, heal wounds faster, and prevent your skin from infection.
4. Treating Dental Plaque
Apart from keeping your digestion, blood sugar, and skin conditions in check, aloe vera also contributes to good dental health. It gets rid of disease-causing bacteria that thrive and multiply in the wet environment of the mouth.
A study has shown that brushing your teeth with aloe vera gel is more effective than using commercial toothpaste. The plant contains anthraquinones, anti-inflammation compounds that alleviate pain and sensitivity.
Also, the gel from aloe vera doesn’t contain the harsh additives and chemicals found in over the counter toothpaste, which makes it an ideal alternative for people with sensitive gums and teeth.
5. Hair Growth And Conditioning
Instead of your regular shampoo or conditioner, just squeeze some aloe gel into your palms and rub it into your hair. You will notice how soft and smooth your hair will be upon rinsing.
Aloe vera moisturizes and adds nutrients to your hair, which helps liven it up, speed up growth, and eradicate dandruff.
If you struggle with frizzy or dry hair, adding aloe vera to your hair care routine would be a great idea. The gel contained in the plant has an enzyme that relaxes your hair leaving it unstiffened and silky.
The fatty acids present in aloe are also known to have incredible anti-inflammatory properties that aid in fixing scalp issues. Scalp conditions like dandruff are usually a result of skin inflammation and using aloe vera can help with that. It also prevents itching and reduces flakiness.
Aloe vera is great for people who love to swim too. Swimmers shampoos made from aloe vera extract help wash pool chemicals off your hair preventing breakage and premature baldness.
6. Strengthening The Immune System
Aloe vera’s ability to remove toxins out of your body helps boost your immunity. Ingesting the nutrient-rich aloe juice regularly enables your body to fight off infections and illnesses.
Too much stress, poor eating habits, and consuming too much alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and other stimulants can cause acidity inside your body. Consequently, your body becomes a breeding ground for infections and diseases, leading to poor health.
Aloe vera uses its active ingredients to boost your body’s natural ability to resist illness and adapt to external changes. It balances the immune system, stimulating the body’s adaptive and defense mechanisms, which gives you a stronger, healthy body.
7. Relieving Acid Reflux And Heartburn
Acid reflux occurs when the acid in the stomach enters the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter. When functioning properly, the lower esophageal sphincter closes tightly, keeping the contents of the stomach in the right place. Acid reflux can be triggered by eating large meals, exerting pressure on the abdomen, smoking, pregnancy, or even being overweight.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. It occurs when the acid irritates the esophagus, resulting in a painful, burning sensation.
Studies have proven that aloe vera, when used internally, may be safe and effective in treating acid reflux and alleviating its symptoms. In some cases, it has been found to work even much better than traditional medications. It helps lower acid production and its anti-inflammatory properties may help heal the gut and digestive system as well.
8. Caring For Skin
Aloe vera cannot only treat skin conditions but also leaves your skin looking alive, vibrant, and youthful. The gel inside the leaves of this wondrous plant contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties that work miracles on your skin.
It has been used in tanning oils and sunscreens to prevent burns and in body-soothing creams to lessen the symptoms of sunburns. But there are more uses for aloe vera on our skin. The high levels of vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants can help treat scars and hydrate dry skin.
If you are looking to treat hyperpigmentation too, you can use aloe vera for skin lightening. Aloe gel contains aloin, a component known to naturally fade dark spots and scars on the skin.
Moreover, aloe vera treats acne-prone skin and improves dry, flaky skin. It also enhances the efficacy of acne medications. Owing to its antibacterial and anti-inflammation properties, aloe vera inhibits the bacteria that cause acne and banishes inflammation that causes redness.
You can use over the counter aloe creams or make aloe vera gel at home by cracking open fresh leaves of an aloe plant for skincare. Just make sure to do a spot test before the actual application if you have sensitive skin.
9. Beautifying Homes
Decorating homes is one of the most popular uses for aloe vera. Move this baby to number one!
Thanks to the plant’s tall flowering structure, it makes great ornamentals for gardens and homes. Plus the aloe species itself comes in various colors and shapes, which makes it perfect for both outdoor and indoor sparkle.
Aloe vera is a drought and heat resistant plant. When grown in the appropriate conditions, it will thrive and continuously put out new leaves that you can eventually harvest for medicinal purposes.
Caring for the plant constantly and doing the harvesting right will ensure that you are enjoying healthy and gel-filled leaves for years.
10. Prolonging The Life Of Fresh Produce
Several studies have found that aloe vera gel could be used on fresh fruits and vegetables to help extend their shelf life. Researchers have argued that it doesn’t appear to have any effect on the appearance or taste of produce and could, therefore, be a cheap and safe alternative to the conventional artificial preservatives used on fresh foods today.
Further testing has shown the gel to have potential green benefits too. It could offer an environmental-friendly alternative to synthetic food preservatives like sulfur dioxide, lowering the target of health concerns.
How the gel works on produce are that it blocks oxygen and moisture that speed food deterioration. Also, the antifungal and antibiotic compounds found in the gel inhibit or delay the microorganisms responsible for food spoilage and foodborne diseases in humans.
Aloe Vera Side Effects
There are many different uses for aloe vera, all with their benefits. However, when using the plant on your body, whether topically or internally, take caution, as it can have potential side effects.
The latex is considered the most dangerous part of the plant, although the gel has also been found to harm some people. Before using aloe vera topically, always do a spot test to make sure you are not allergic to the plant. Here are the possible side effects of aloe vera:
- Ingesting aloe vera regularly can lower potassium levels in your body. This could lead to cardiac problems, muscle weakness, and many other health issues. Experts argue that consuming 1.5 grams of aloe vera latex constantly can be fatal.
- Products containing aloe latex can intensify intestinal conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- People with type 2 diabetes should keep track of their glucose sugar levels when ingesting aloe vera.
- Using any form of aloe vera internally is not advisable for use by expectant mothers, as it could cause uterine contractions, internal bleeding, or even a miscarriage. Aloe is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers either.
- Aloe latex should not be used by people with Fabry disease, Alport syndrome, kidney stones, and other kidney problems. Excessive use may lead to kidney failure.
Globo Surf Overview
Aloe vera is an amazing medicinal plant and the various extracts made from it can be put into use in so many ways. Whether you want to use it on your body, as a preservative, or just have it sit in a pot in the living room, this incredible succulent always serves the purpose it is meant for. If you intend to use it medicinally, however, be sure to check with your doctor especially if you are taking medication.
Q: Can We Use Aloe Vera Daily?
Yes, we can use aloe vera daily, as the plant contains minerals, amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients that are beneficial to our healthy. Since our bodies constantly need these to function properly, using aloe vera every day will ensure that we are never deprived of these compounds, and hence will keep our organs working optimally.
Q: What Are Benefits Of Aloe Vera?
Accelerating the healing of burns and wounds, treating acne, and keeping your skin moisturized are all benefits of aloe vera. The plant has also been found to lower blood sugar levels, treat digestive system disorders, prevent constipation, reduce canker sores, and relieve heartburn. Learn more about the benefits of aloe vera plant.
Q: Is It Good To Drink Aloe Vera Juice Every Day?
Yes, consuming aloe vera juice daily is believed to have a lot of benefits. For starters, it cures a range of digestive ailments including heartburn, constipation, and bloating. It is also great in controlling blood sugar levels, boosting appetite, flushing out toxins, and keeping weight gain on check.