Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis, is a popular medicinal plant that stores water in its leaves. Known for its powerful ability to treat skin injuries, aloe vera contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties and has many other uses that are beneficial to your health.
The aloe vera plant is native to the Arabian peninsula, but it also grows in other places throughout the world. People have used its healing properties for thousands of years for everything from softening the skin and treating skin disorders to relieving constipation and heartburn.
Here are just six health benefits of Aloe vera:
1. Contains healthful plant compounds – Aloe vera has thick, pointed, and fleshy green leaves that can grow to about 12 – 19 inches in length. Each leaf contains a gooey tissue that holds water which makes the leaves thick. This tissue is the “gel” that is highly associated with aloe vera products. It contains most of the beneficial bioactive compounds in the plant including antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
2. It contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties – Aloe vera contains powerful antioxidants that are important for your health. These antioxidants are a part of a larger family of substances known as polyphenols. When combined with other compounds in aloe vera, these polyphenols can help to stop the growth of certain infection-causing bacteria. Aloe vera is well-respected for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties which is why it is used to treat skin problems and heal wounds.
3. Speeds up wound healing – Studies have shown that aloe vera is an effective topical treatment for sores, sunburn, and first- and second-degree burns. A review of experimental studies concluded that aloe vera reduced the healing of burns by 9 days compared to conventional medication. In addition, it helped prevent itching, redness, and infections.
4. Relieves heartburn - A review in 2015 showed that consuming one to three ounces of aloe gel with a meal reduced the severity of heartburn. It can also ease other digestion-related issues. Aloe vera’s low toxicity makes it gentle and safe to treat heartburn.
5. Lowers blood sugar – According to a study in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy, consuming just two tablespoons of aloe vera juice a day could lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Future diabetes treatment using aloe vera looks very promising. These results were also confirmed by another study published by Phytotherapy Research that used pulp extract.
6. Gives you clear skin – Aloe vera’s water-dense leaves along with its special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates makes it an effective face moisturizer leaving you with clear and well-hydrated skin! It has also been used to treat acne, get rid of stretch marks, and to fade dark spots. In a 2009 study, 30 females over the age of 45, who consumed oral aloe vera gel increased collagen production and improved skin elasticity over a 90-day period.
It should be noted that there are some risk when ingesting aloe vera. Oral use may cause stomach cramps and diarrhea due to its laxative effects and in some cases, there has been reports of liver damage with long-term aloe vera supplement use. However, topical use is likely safe.
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Isabella Boston is a multi-talented writer and the founder of Bella’s Attic Studio. She is well-versed in content writing, copywriting, and social media strategies with a focus on health and wellness, fashion and beauty, and natural healing as it pertains to the body, mind, and the soul. She is also a diarist and the author of Passion of Flames.