What is Aloe Vera?
If there's one plant so powerfully related to health that its usage dates back probably millennia, it is the Aloe Vera. Best-known for its skin soothing properties, the Aloe Vera plant is capable providing additional benefits, especially once consumed. Also called medicative Aloe, this plant is believed to have originated somewhere within the region of Sudan, where it's been used for well over 6000 years! It's actually a succulent, or variety of cactus that thrives in dry, arid regions with very little water or rainfall. The leaves of the Aloe Vera plant appear serrated, and need careful harvesting during preparation (although they're not terribly dangerous). Today, you can grow your own Aloe Vera at home, as its utility is second to none. It doesn't need a lot of work making it an informal gardener’s dream, plant.
Helps Relieve Heartburn
One of the most well established uses for the gel of the Aloe Vera leaves is its soothing action in cases of stomach acidity. Indeed, the gel is alkaline in nature, helping to neutralize excess acidity and discomfort. This can promote healing of stomach ulcers, and even the discomfort that arises from chronic acid indigestion. Upon ingestion, Aloe Vera gel causes a cooling sensation that even antacids can’t match.
Speeds Up Burn Healing
Burns are complex to deal with, as you have to balance controlling bacterial infestation with natural healing and trying to soothe discomfort as much as possible. While Aloe Vera gel application has been used traditionally for centuries to heal burns, it would be smarter to use it as an adjuvant to other medical therapies for burn management. The cooling sensation of Aloe Vera gel makes it perfect to apply when barrier dressings are not applied (such as ointments), as it still allows the skin to naturally cool and breathe.
Helps Alleviate Menstrual Pain
During a woman’s menstrual cycle, the uterus typically contracts in pulsatile, painful fashion to get rid of unfertilized egg. This pain can range from minor to debilitating from woman to woman, but what is almost universal is the desire to numb the pain. One way to do so is to use an anti-spasmodic that reduces the frequency of unwanted cramps. Aloe Vera consumption can act via this mechanism, reducing overall pain load.
Can Reduce Inflammation
Aloe Vera is well known to possess numerous anti-inflammatory properties, being able to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and even joint related inflammation. This also helps reduce pain associated with these conditions, allowing the individual a more comfortable life. Topical application of Aloe Vera also helps relieve pain and swelling of joints and explains why more topical pain medications include Aloe Vera in their preparations.
Helps Treat Dehydration
More than 50% of the world’s population suffers from chronic dehydration, and they are none the wiser. Aloe Vera can help with this, as the plant is densely water based helping you hydrate yourself better than water itself. This could be due to the Aloe Vera gel itself, which helps retain water. Aloe Vera juice also contains potassium and can be compared to coconut water for its utility in helping maintain blood fluid balance. Regardless of your choice, just be sure to get enough water each day.
Assists In The Body’s Detoxification Process
The high water content of Aloe Vera is perfect for maintaining optimal kidney function, but did you know that it also assists with the liver’s detoxification of waste? Closely related to the cucumber in its water content, Aloe Vera juice is quickly becoming a favorite when it comes to detoxifying the liver. The phytonutrients found in Aloe Vera also helps to reset liver enzymes which may have become elevated.
Helps Treat Constipation
As mentioned, Aloe Vera is composed of primarily water, which makes it ideal to help with short term, occasional constipation. This type of irregularity is normally due to dehydration and causes the body to recycle water from waste into circulation where cells may need it. This water loss result in compacting of feces, so that it becomes hard to move through the colon. However, as water intake in increased, water once more is allocated to waste removal and you experience a normal stool.
It’s Consumption Is Good For Your Gut Microbiome
The gut and intestines is teeming with bacteria, both good and bad, which assist in metabolism and our overall health. The key, however, is to keep colonies of good bacteria high, and control bad ones, so that they do not overgrow and cause ill-effects. Aloe Vera gel contains a type of soluble fiber which these bacteria thrive on. The more that is made available, the greater these colonies of bacteria can grow. These bacteria also help prevent constipation and diarrhea and are an integral part of our digestive system.
Helps Manage Diabetes
Studies conducted in both human and animal models have confirmed that Aloe Vera consumption can help offset the chronically high levels of blood sugar, from as little as consuming two teaspoons. Though it is not exactly clear the mechanism behind it’s action, it can be included in a natural regimen for managing diabetes.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
While much discussion is made about cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels are arguably more important to manage. Aloe Vera helps reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 30%, and when consumed with a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, overall lipid profiles are significantly improved.
Helps Alkalinize Blood
Many adverse health conditions are attributed to having an acidic blood pH, as it is believed that inflammation is worsened under such states. Aloe Vera is alkaline in nature, helping reset the blood pH to a neutral- slightly alkaline number.
May Help Reduce The Risk Of Cancer Development
It is said that cancer cells cannot survive in alkaline conditions which is one area is in which Aloe Vera may be useful. In addition, Aloe Vera exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which can prevent unwanted changes from occurring to DNA strands.
Supports The Immune System
Aloe Vera juice and gel contains many phytonutrients and anti-oxidant compounds, which help support the health of your immune system. Aloe Vera also possesses anti-microbial properties, to reduce bacterial or viral load upon exposure to such pathogens.
Boosts The Health Of Skin
Adequate hydration is a necessary beauty pre-requisite, and essential for maintaining the health of radiance of your skin. While Aloe contains generous amounts of water, it is also found to be able to reduce the impact of UV damage on skin, partially by reflecting the rays, and healing minor UV damaged skin.
Can Be Used As A Dental Remedy
Aloe Vera gel can be used to remove plaque from teeth, and to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. This also assists with prevention of dental caries, reduces incidence of gingivitis, and in conjunction with a chlorhexidine based mouthwash can form an effective oral mouth rinse.