Aloe Vera is a somewhat famous plant that falls within the succulent family. Easily recognized by its spiky leaves and renowned ability to treat sunburn, this plant has become increasingly popular within the health and fitness industry where it is building a solid reputation as a natural panacea.
While this plant has been used for centuries in ancient Indian medicine as a way to cure heat stroke, improve upon skin disease, and increase mental clarity, only now is the research truly starting to clearly demonstrate the positive impacts it can have on health.
An extremely versatile plant, Aloe Vera can be used successfully to improve our health through two primary means. The first, is through the application of Aloe Vera gel, and the second is through the consumption of Aloe Vera juice.
Interestingly, each of its forms have unique and beneficial effects on health β making them both fantastic options if we are looking to improve health.
The Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is essentially the clear jelly found underneath the inner portion of the leaf of the plant. This pure Aloe Vera gel is one of the most bioactive aspects of the plant, and as such provides the body with a host of compounds beneficial to health and function.
Aloe Vera Gel Heals Soothes the Skin
Aloe Vera is well known for its ability to treat sunburn and skin disease, but what many donβt realize is that it has the capacity to improve upon so many other skin related conditions. These include psoriasis, frost bite, and dermatitis, and can even aid in healing of superficial skin wounds .
This evidence suggest that many of the bioactive compounds found in the Aloe Vera plant may actually have the capacity to fight bacteria and infection, while also promoting the growth and development of new and healthier skin tissue.
Aloe Vera Gel and Cure Cold Sores
Fitting firmly within its capacity to heal skin related issues, pure Aloe Vera gel also has the ability to promote the quick healing of cold sores. With this in mind, applying Aloe Vera gel to a cold sore on a daily basis can lead to greatly reduced discomfort in combination with a much quicker healing time .
This is suggested to be the result of two key factors.
Firstly, aloe vera contains both antiviral and anti-inflammatory compounds that accelerate healing and reduce the likelihood of infection. Secondly, aloe vera gel contains a large amount of Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and C β all of which are known to play an important role in the development of specific antibodies essential to the healing process.
Aloe Vera Gel Improves Head Health
Aloe Vera Gel offer a fantastic and natural treatment for both the health of our hair and our scalp. Due to its extremely high content of essential vitamins and minerals, the gel from the aloe vera plant can nourish the hair follicles on the head, increasing the health of new hair.
Additionally applying the gel to the scalp can rid the head of dead skin cells (this is due to the antibacterial properties found in aloe vera), while also promoting the growth of new skin cells. This can go a long way to treat common dandruff, while also reducing the likelihood of developing a dry scalp.
The Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera Juice is a thick, viscous liquid that is made from the flesh of the aloe vera plant leaf. Very different in nature (and in application) to aloe vera gel, the juice from the aloe vera plant offers a number of unique health benefits.
Aloe Vera Juice Can Help Lower Blood Sugar
High blood sugar has shown extremely strong associations with both an increased risk of metabolic disease (with specific mention to both diabetes and obesity), and an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.
Interestingly, consuming as little as two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day has been shown to cause significant reductions in blood sugar.
It is also important to note that this effect also seems to be upheld in those individuals who have already been diagnosed with type II diabetes, suggesting that it may be an excellent addition to traditional diabetes medication .
Aloe Vera Juice Can Cure Constipation
Aloe vera is actually considered by many to be a mild laxative, and therefore has the potential to aid digestive processes within the gut. Certain compounds (known as βanthraquinonesβ) found within the aloe vera plant are known to stimulate digestive motility (the contraction of the intestine that moves food through the gut).
As a result, when constipated, the consumption of a small amount of Aloe Vera juice can speed up digestive processes and reduce the signs and symptoms of constipation .
Aloe Vera Juice can treat heartburn and aid digestion
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that describes the phenomenon where the contents of the stomach moving backwards up into the esophagus, causing heart burn and associated discomfort.
It may be hard to believe, but GERD is thought to affect a whopping 15 million Americans every single day.Interestingly, consuming as little as a single ounce of aloe vera juice around mealtimes can greatly reduce the severity of GERD, protecting against the onset of heart burn .
In conjunction with this, consuming the same amount of aloe vera juice has also shown to improve digestion, while simultaneously easing other digestive issues. This leads to the suggestion that the regular consumption of aloe vera juice can have significant effects on the health and function of the digestive system.
Aloe Vera Precautions
As aloe vera has demonstrated to lower blood sugar (which is a positive in some populations), those individuals already diagnosed with low blood sugar should avoid its consumption as not to incur additional health complications.
In addition to this, as compounds found within the aloe vera plant can cause digestive motility, excessive consumption may lead to abdominal cramping, gastrointestinal distress, and diarrhea. As such, if you present with any of these symptoms, you should cease consumption immediately.
Aloe Vera is an amazing plant that can impact our health in a number of different ways. Coming in both gel and juice form, the way we choose to take aloe vera can have directly impact the effect that it has on the body.
With this in mind, we should take the time to identify what our exact health needs are, and then choose the way in which we take aloe vera in accordance to those identified needs.
With all this, we would love to hear about your experiences with aloe vera (and how you choose to take it), and any recommendations you may have.
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2. Vogler, B. K., and E. Ernst. "Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness." Br J Gen Pract 49.447 (1999): 823-828. From: http://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/49/447/823.full.pdf
3. Yongchaiyudha, S., et al. "Antidiabetic activity of Aloe vera L. juice. I. Clinical trial in new cases of diabetes mellitus." Phytomedicine 3.3 (1996): 241-243. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23195077
4. Foster, Meika, Duncan Hunter, and Samir Samman. Evaluation of the nutritional and metabolic effects of Aloe vera. Vol. 3. chapter, 2011. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92765/
5. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 1.4 (2012). From: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debjit_Bhowmik4/publication/304253232_Aloe_Vera_The_Miracle_Plant_Its_Medicinal_and_Traditional_Uses_in_India/links/576ad9d108aefcf135bd4f10.pdf