12 Unique Benefits of Aloe Vera, and Why You Should Consume It
By Apricot Power
Health & Wellness
Aloe vera, also known as Aloe Barbadensis, is a medicinal plant that has been used for generations for a multitude of health purposes. A relatively short-stemmed plant that contains a lot of water within its leaves, the humble aloe vera is known to proliferate in even the driest of areas.
This succulent plant is most widely known for its use in the treatment against various skin problems. Its slimy, semi-fluid flesh has been known to contain healing properties and is typically gathered by scraping it off from the leaves and applying it directly to the affected area. There are also those who prefer to reap the benefits of aloe vera's healing properties by grinding the whole leaf or by processing only the flesh to make aloe vera juice. Since aloe vera is quite hard to come by in countries with cold climates, some people must enjoy all of the health benefits that this fantastic plant can provide by taking Aloe vera capsules.
Curious as to why aloe vera is such a beneficial whole-food supplement? Here are a few facts to help you learn more about what it can do for your health.
The Rich History of Aloe Vera
People have been reaping the health benefits of aloe vera for more than 6,000 years. Its use can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who used the aloe vera plant as a gift for the early pharaohs because it symbolized immortality. Aloe vera was first documented in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian papyrus that recorded ancient medical and herbal knowledge. And as a testament to its medicinal properties, its use can also be found in the ancient book "De Materia Medica,” an ancient manuscript compiled by a Greek pharmacologist and botanist. That’s right - since the beginning of written history, the use of aloe vera has been widespread across the early civilizations found in Asia, North America, Europe, South America, and more.
Today, aloe vera is commonly known as the "burn plant" and the "first aid plant.” In other words, it is widely used to help treat various skin conditions such as sunburns, psoriasis, insect bites, and other types of skin injuries. Its gel is also widely used today as a laxative for the treatment of constipation.
What Does Aloe Vera Contain?
To help you better understand why Aloe vera has been lauded by both ancient healers and medical practitioners today, you need to know more about what it can offer for your health.
Here are some of the amazing compounds that can be found in Aloe vera and how they can contribute to your well-being:
1) Aloe vera contains anthraquinones
Anthraquinones are chemical compounds that typically act as laxatives when consumed. The most widely known anthraquinone that can be found in aloe vera is Aloin. Aloin contains analgesic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
2) Aloe vera contains hormones
The hormones found in Aloe vera include gibberellins and auxins. These hormones may help reduce inflammation and promote wound healing when applied topically.
3) Aloe vera contains enzymes
The enzymes found in Aloe vera include bradykinase, which may help reduce inflammation when applied on the skin. It also contains cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase, which may help breakdown fats and sugars when consumed.
4) Aloe vera contains vitamins and minerals
Aloe vera contains B vitamins, which may act as antioxidants to help fight against oxidative stress and free radicals. It also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which may also help fight free radicals and support the proper enzyme production in the body.
5) Aloe vera contains sugars, phytochemicals, and other potent substances
The thick flesh of the aloe vera or the "gel" is rich in polysaccharides as well as in glycoproteins. These substances are known to help provide anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties that can help soothe and heal damaged skin. It also contains fatty acids, amino acids, and other chemical compounds that may provide antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
How to Consume Aloe Vera Safely
Although aloe vera is known to contain chemical compounds that may be very beneficial when it comes to supporting health, it should be noted that some of these potent compounds may be dangerous when taken in excess. Aloe vera, when taken without caution directly from the plant, may have potential toxicity and/or negative side effects.
When consumed orally, aloe vera may cause side effects if taken in high doses. It may cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Frequent daily intake of aloe vera in very high doses may also lead to the development of heart or kidney problems. In some cases, the application of aloe vera topically may cause allergic reactions and irritations. It may cause contact dermatitis, itchiness, swelling, and redness.
For these reasons, consuming or topically applying freshly prepared aloe vera may not be ideal for those who do not know how to prepare or use it properly. Fortunately, you can still enjoy all the health benefits aloe vera can provide with aloe vera capsules and pre-packaged aloe vera gel. As a whole food supplement, aloe vera capsules may provide you with safe and proper doses of organic aloe vera that has been carefully processed so you can avoid stomach irritations or allergic reactions.
The 12 Unique Benefits of Aloe Vera
1) Aloe vera may help with wound healing
According to scientific studies, using aloe vera either topically or orally will allow its enzyme and hormone content to interact with the collagen production of your skin. Aloe vera helps to increase collagen synthesis and linking. This may help wounds close faster, aid in the development of healthier scar tissue, as well as promote faster healing.
2) Aloe vera may help kill microorganisms
Research has shown that aloe vera contains six chemical compounds that all have potent antiseptic properties. These chemical compounds include salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, phenols, cinnamic acid, lupeol, and sulfur. These compounds found in aloe vera may have the potential to limit infection when used correctly.
3) Aloe vera may help heal skin exposed to UV radiation
Overexposure to sunlight can cause UV, or ultraviolet radiation, damage to the skin. Aside from the development of skin discolorations, it can also produce chemical compounds from the skin, which causes pain and other reactions. Studies have found that aloe vera may help by providing antioxidants that will help slow down skin irritations and limit the damage caused by the exposure.
4) Aloe vera may help fight against skin aging and dryness
Compounds such as the sugars found in Aloe vera may help your skin retain moisture. They allow the production of collagen, which can help maintain the skin's elasticity and slow down the development of wrinkles. Aloe vera's rich amino acid content has also been known to help tighten pores and treat skin dryness.
5) Aloe vera may help reduce inflammation
Studies have shown that the chemical compound C-glucosyl chromone, typically found in aloe vera gel, may provide a potent activity against inflammation. This compound directly slows down the body's ability to produce hormones that cause pain and trigger inflammation.
6) Aloe vera may help to fight against viruses
Since Aloe vera contains anthraquinones, it may help to fight against viruses. According to some studies, anthraquinones have been found to have the ability to inactivate viruses such as herpes, varicella, and influenza. This suggests that aloe vera may be used to help support the body, especially if you are suffering from a viral infection.
7) Aloe vera may help to fight against tumors
In recent studies, scientists have also found that aloe vera gel may have the ability to fight against tumors and cancers. The polysaccharides found naturally in aloe vera and in many plants have been successfully proven to help prevent cancer in animal models. This suggests that aloe vera may help protect your cells from damage and slow down the formation of tumors.
8) Aloe vera may help support the immune system
Scientific studies have shown that some of the chemical compounds found in Aloe vera gel may help to improve our white blood cells’ ability to fight against microorganisms. These compounds are known to make our white blood cells more capable of killing bacteria. Aloe vera gel may also help make our white blood cells more capable of damaging harmful microorganisms in the body, and making them more capable of dealing with free radicals.
9) Aloe vera may help to treat constipation
Anthraquinones found in aloe vera can come in latex form. Aloe latex is a potent type of laxative that may help increase the water content of the intestine. Anthraquinones may also help to increase mucous production in the gut and promote its movement. This may help to support proper bowel movement and provide relief from constipation.
10) Aloe vera may help lower sugar levels in the blood
According to some studies, aloe vera may be able to help lower blood sugar because it may be able to help enhance insulin sensitivity. Aloe vera has been shown to affect glycemic control. According to eight of the studies conducted on the effects of aloe vera on blood sugar, aloe vera may help people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
11) Aloe vera may be a beneficial supplement to support nutrition
Since aloe vera contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, its supplementation may help to support nutrition by helping people meet the daily requirements of certain nutrients. Some experts also recommend the use of aloe vera to help sustain the dietary needs of vegetarians or vegans because unknown to many, Aloe vera is one of only a few reliable plant-based sources of vitamin B-12.
12) Aloe vera may be able to provide other digestive benefits
Aside from helping to provide relief from constipation, aloe vera may also help you to digest food properly. The presence of naturally-occurring enzymes found in aloe vera may be able to help break down food so you can avoid stomach problems. Since aloe vera also helps reduce inflammation and support the production of proper mucous levels in the intestines, it may also help to reduce irritations. For these reasons, aloe vera may be beneficial when it comes to providing relief and in reducing the discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
Conclusion: Why Should You Consume Aloe Vera?
Studying the unique benefits of aloe vera can help us gain insight as to why this humble plant is beneficial not just for our nutrition, but also in the treatment of skin issues and stomach problems. Since Aloe vera contains vitamins and minerals, as well as potent hormones, enzymes, and chemical compounds, it may be used effectively to help support our health and promote wellness in a multitude of ways.
Aloe vera can be consumed topically or taken orally by juicing the aloe gel. However, because it may cause unwanted side effects when misused, most experts recommend that people avoid using the whole fresh plant without proper guidance. Those who want to enjoy its benefits should ideally use products that have been appropriately processed to contain the correct doses.
If you want to enjoy the unique benefits of aloe vera, here is our highly recommended Aloe vera product that you can try to optimize your well-being.