Aloe Vera, also known as the ‘plant of immortality’ by the ancient Egyptians, was used for its healing properties since time immemorial. Aloe Vera plants are commonly found in the African regions and belong to the family of Xanthorrhoeaceae, known for its succulent or fleshy leaves. This nontoxic plant stores water in its leaves and survives in low rainfall and arid regions. Aloe Vera leaf looks unique; it doesn’t have any stems and the edges of leaves have tiny spikes.
Aloe vera contains over 200 active components including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids – no wonder it’s used for such a wide range of remedies. The bulk of the aloe vera leaf is filled with a clear gel-like substance, which is approximately 99% water. Humans have used aloe therapeutically for over 5000 years – now that’s a long-standing track record.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
The list of benefits and effects for this miraculous plant are many.
Aloe vera juice is crammed full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals making it one of nature’s most effective cleansers. It can help strengthen digestion and rid the body of any nasty waste, thus detoxifying the body naturally. Its main property is to be soothing, cooling and moistening which helps to clear inflammatory and irritating heat, such as in menopause, plus inflammatory skin and digestive problems, such as acne, rosacea and IBS.
2. Cardiovascular Benefits
There hasn’t been a lot of studies conducted on aloe’s effect on cardiovascular health, but there has been some research to show that aloe vera extract injected into the blood, greatly multiplies the oxygen transportation and diffusion capabilities of the red blood cells. According to a study published in the 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, beta sitosterol helps to lower cholesterol. By regulating blood pressure, improving circulation and oxidation of the blood, lowering cholesterol, and making blood less sticky, aloe vera juice may be able to help lower the risk of heart disease.
3. Alkalizes Your Body
Our bodies maintain a healthy balance between acidity and alkalinity which is influenced by the foods we eat. This juice makes out inner system more alkaline which reduces bad effects of the acidic stuff we eat. The optimum structure of foods should be 80% alkaline and 20 % acidic. This liquid helps by alkalizing our organism and since diseases do not survive in such an environment, this can stave off illness and other complications.
4. Aids Digestion
Aloe vera when taken internally aids in digestion and effectively cleanses the digestive system. Aloe vera works as a laxative which makes it easier for the food particles to pass through the intestine. Thus aloe vera helps those who suffer severe constipation problems. Drinking aloe vera juice regularly helps to detoxify the body which in turns improves daily bowel movements. It alleviates acidity, inflammation and intestinal ulcers. Aloe vera has a soothing effect on the stomach walls and relieves stomach ache. Aloe vera also helps to cure Crohn’s disease and peptic ulcers.
5. Supports Your Immune System
Our immunity is always ready to fend off attacks from the environments we live in. This juice can help ramp it up with polysaccharides. These help our bodies produce macrophages, which is our tool to defend against viruses and other nasty stuff. Besides polysaccharides it also has anti-oxidants that reduce the amount of free-radicals within ourselves. This helps with slowing the effects of aging.
6. Good for Female Reproductive System
Aloe vera tonic is wonderful for the female reproductive system. It helps to rejuvenate the uterus. It is very beneficial to drink aloe vera juice if you are experiencing painful menstrual cycle.
7. Weight Loss Benefits
We all would like to find the easiest formula for skinny body, but unfortunately this one isn’t your magic bullet. Instead of directly contributing to weight loss, the many benefits of this plant make losing pounds a secondary effect. It removes toxins, enhances our immune system, and maintains a healthy digestion. All of these enable us to stay well and shed body mass.
8. Treats Diabetes
The dried gel of aloe vera is used to treat diabetes as it helps to lower blood sugar level by decreasing insulin resistance and also lowers the triglyceride levels in the liver and plasma. Aloe vera helps to improve the blood quality naturally by decreasing the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. Since, aloe vera helps to control cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar; it directly helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. Aloe vera keeps the blood fresh and rich in oxygen.
Aloe Vera for Skin
Various studies have been conducted to examine the benefits of the aloe vera plant and it was found out that aloe vera does in fact have several properties that are effective in treating a variety of skin conditions, from flaky or dry skin, cosmetic ailments, hair and scalp problems to many more.
9. As A Moisturizer
Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel, so it`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion. For women who use mineral-based make-up, aloe vera acts as a moisturizer and is great for the face prior to the application to prevents skin drying. For men: Aloe vera gel can be used as an aftershave treatment as its healing properties can treat small cuts caused by shaving.
10. Treats Acne
Aloe Vera’s anti-inflammatory property helps to reduce acne greatly. It does not completely cure the acne; however, it reduces inflammation and redness of the skin to a great extent. It also prevents the outburst of acne and pimples. Its juice or gel can be applied directly on the skin to cure acne.
Aloe vera face pack can be prepared by boiling aloe vera leaves in water. Make a paste and add a few drops of honey. Apply it on the face. Leave it for 15 minutes and then rinse off with tap water.
11. Exfoliates Skin
It’s not the most pleasant part of grooming, but exfoliation is important if you want to reveal glowing, fresh skin. Aloe is a great base for a homemade scrub because it helps soften your skin and supply oxygen to your cells, strengthening the tissue to create vibrant skin. Mix 1/2 cup of aloe with just enough brown sugar or baking soda to get a gritty (but not sharp) texture. Then rub it on your elbows, heels, arms, or wherever else needs softening in the shower.
12. Treats Sunburn
Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, the skin heals quicker.
13. As A Shaving Cream
In-the-know beauty buffs swear by pure aloe as the perfect shaving cream: It’s antibacterial, which is great for nicks; it’s slippery, allowing for a nice close shave; and it moisturizes, too. You can use it on its own, or combine with other nourishing ingredients for a more luxe (but still DIY) product.
Erika Katz, author of Bonding Over Beauty, shared this recipe: Mix 1/3 cup aloe vera gel, 1/4 cup castile soap or hand soap, 1 tbsp almond oil, 1/4 cup distilled warm water, 1 tsp vitamin E oil, and 5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a foaming bottle or a clean soap pump dispenser. Shake well before you use, and refrigerate up to six months.
14. Benefits for Pigmented and Tanned Skin
If you want to get rid of sun tanning, apply aloe vera gel mixed with lemon juice on the affected area for 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to get rid of pigmentation, mix rose water instead of lemon juice and wash off with cold water. While a lot of aloe products are available in the market these days, and one can even plant it at home and reap in the benefits from its juice and gel. But if planting it at home isn’t possible, get an aloe vera based gel and use it for your skin. Buy moisturizers, lotions and creams which have aloe content in them. Aloe vera is a natural remedy for various skin problems so make good use of its beauty benefits.
15. As A Makeup Remover
You have to get the raccoon eyes off somehow, but many makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that are very drying to your skin, says Ildi Pekar, founder of an eponymous skin care line. She recommends you squeeze a dollop of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and swipe away the day for a simple and effective alternative.
16. Lip Care
Don’t need to go for store bought lip balms all the time. You can prepare your own lip balm at home with aloe vera gel in seconds. This is a super easy process that can be even done by the kids. All you need to do is to heat a heaped teaspoon of petroleum jelly in a double boiler. After it melts, add half a teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel and two drops of Vitamin E oil extracted from the capsule. Switch off the stove and blend this mixture well. Pour it in a tube or an old lip balm container when it is in the liquid state. Allow this lip balm to cool and thicken in refrigerator and start using it on your lips. This will cure dry and chapped lips very effectively than any other store bought lip balms.
Aloe Vera for Hair
Aloe vera the miracle plant is the one stop solution for all your hair woes. Aloe vera cleans, nourishes and protects your hair from damage, and makes it shine with a healthy glow. So, apart from providing a host of health and skincare benefits, a few leaves of aloe vera can even save the beauty of your hair when used regularly.
17. Natural Conditioner
Aloe vera acts as a natural conditioning agent that restores the hair’s sheen, luster, and shine. It not only makes the hair soft, but it also enhances strength and suppleness. It naturally combats frizz but does not have the greasy buildup that many hair care products leave behind.
Regardless of the scalp or hair’s condition, whether too oily or too dry, aloe vera can restore the proper balance. It has amazing results for promoting hair growth as well as staving off hair loss. Say goodbye to expensive and often ineffective hair treatments. Try aloe vera, nature’s own remedy for restoring health and beauty to hair.
18. Treats Hair Loss
Aloe vera for hair loss treatment can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian times. Aloe vera contains enzymes that promote hair growth. The proteolitic enzymes found in aloe vera help to eradicate dead skin cells on the scalp. Aloe Vera’s keratolic action breaks down the sebum and dead scalp cells. Aloe Vera’s alkalizing properties balances the pH level of the scalp and hair which results in further hair growth and retains moisture in the scalp.
19. Reduces Dandruff
The natural enzymes found in aloe vera can soothe and moisturize the scalp, helping to eliminate the scaly dryness that causes dandruff. It also helps to increase blood circulation in the scalp, which works to stimulate the production of moisturizing oils. Aloe vera reduces the dry, itchy feeling that accompanies dryness or oiliness. It keeps the hair’s natural oils in balance to prevent excessively oily or dry scalp. Aloe vera also brings a refreshing and cooling sensation to the scalp.
20. Treats Alopecia
Alopecia or male pattern baldness is a common hair problem faced by men. This is a kind of hair loss that occurs at a particular part of the head or leads to full hair loss. This scalp condition can be reduced by regular usage of aloe vera. This is mainly because it rejuvenates the hair follicles and helps to reduce hair fall.
Aloe Vera is a well-known, safe plant. Having said this, there is one part of the plant that can be toxic (when used internally), if it is consumed in its pure form in too great quantity. Aloin (yellow latex), found in the outer layer of Aloe Vera, makes it potentially dangerous, but cases of poisoning are very rare because the products sold to consumers are most often devoid of this substance. However, for those who wish to consume aloe vera at home, it is not recommended to consume the pure juice if it has not been treated.
Avoid taking aloe internally during pregnancy, menstruation, if you have hemorrhoids or degeneration of the liver and gall bladder.