Aloe Vera – Everything You Wanted to Know About This 6000 Year Old Medicine
Did you know that there are more than 300 species of the aloe plant alone? But, the most beneficial of them all is the one we are going to discuss here today.
Yes, we are going to understand what Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) is and how beneficial it can be for your health. Not just that, we are going to delve into understanding its uses and possible side effects as well.
So, let’s cut to the chase and get straight into the content.
What is Aloe Vera?
The healing abilities of aloe vera have been in use for more than 6,000 years. Aloe vera was known as the ‘plant of immortality’ and was even used to be presented as gifts back in the early days.
Aloe vera is a spiky but succulent plant that grows well in tropical climates of the world. It can be easily spotted in countries present in Africa, Europe, a few parts of the United States, and Asia.
From Indians to Mexicans to North Americans, the popularity of aloe vera has only increased since its discovery.
This plant is also known as ‘Burn Plant’, ‘Lily of the Desert’, and ‘Elephant’s gall’. The health benefits that aloe vera provides has created a complete industry based on aloe vera and associated products. From juices to cosmetics to shaving creams and more, the benefits of aloe vera have been well-industrialized.
When we talk about aloe vera, we are ought to let you know that there are two useful parts of the aloe vera plant. First, it is the leaves. Second, it is the aloe latex. Let’s understand them briefly.
The aloe vera leaves are filled with gel-like substance which is clear and transparent in nature. The gel is extracted and used extensively in healing skin conditions and for other external uses. Not just that, it is also used internally by consuming it orally.
The laxative property of aloe latex is known to treat constipation. The yellow pulp we are talking about is found under the plant leaf and can be consumed orally.
Aloe vera tastes bitter. Brands selling aloe vera know this and therefore, add flavors and sweeteners so that everyone can consume it.
The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Good Source of Vitamin C
To be specific, every 8 oz of aloe vera juice contains precisely 9.1 grams of Vitamin C which makes it a superb source of natural antioxidants. Aloe vera can, therefore, improve a person’s overall health by keeping him from cardiovascular diseases. The high percentage of Vitamin C in aloe vera helps you improve the immune system and increases the body’s capacity to absorb iron from natural foods.
Treats Skin Conditions
Aloe vera is very popular for its ability to treat skin-related problems such as psoriasis and acne. There are many aloe vera containing products out there that can reduce the itchiness and inflammation of the skin to a great extent.
Helps You Stay Hydrated
Your body needs to stay hydrated with enough amount of electrolyte flowing in your body. One way to do it is by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. People often go for drinks containing a lot of sugar just to stay hydrated. That is definitely not how we recommend you to stay hydrated. Aloe vera juice is a perfect drink to consume as it is a low-calorie alternative to the sugary drinks.
Prevents Constipation and Stomach Ulcers
The digestive benefits of aloe vera have shown great improvements when it comes to treating stomach ulcers as well. Curbing the problem of stomach ulcers with the help of vitamin C has been well documented in a research from 2014.
Relief from Sunburn
Aloe vera gel has a strange cooling effect which is great to cure or alleviate the pain caused by inflammation. Although the research backing this claim is missing, you can find people swearing by the benefits of using aloe vera on the skin.
Heals Wound Quickly
Aloe vera gel has been used to heal wounds and skin injuries like burns or cuts. It is said that aloe vera gel speeds up the recovery process and heals the wounds quickly.
Relief from Heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has annoyed a large population of the world and aloe vera claims to curb the symptoms of GERD. These symptoms are heartburn, belching, vomiting and more. Aloe vera has effectively helped many patients get relief from heartburn.
Cures Lower Blood Sugar
A study has found out that drinking two tablespoons of aloe vera juice for two weeks straight has helped patients suffering from type 2 diabetes achieve a lower level of blood sugar.
Now that we know how beneficial aloe vera is for our health, let’s see how we can use it in our daily lives.
The Uses of Aloe Vera
There are so many ways you can use aloe vera plants to your advantage. Here we discuss a few.
- Keeps Vegetables and Fruits Fresh – Aloe vera gel works superbly as a conservative when applied to the outside of vegetables. It delays the ripening of fruits and vegetables and maintains its quality.
- Using Aloe Vera as Mouthwash – Aloe vera has been used to fight plaque with the help of mouthwashes prepared exclusively from the gel it produces.
- Using it as a Pain Reliever – Aloe vera is also known to act as a pain killer. This is made possible by the salicylic acid found in its leaves.
The Side effects
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has found in its research that when non-decolorized aloe vera leaf extract is consumed, it increases the risk of cancer in rats. Rats are used as a specimen because their characteristics match with that of humans.
The researchers, however, are not so sure why the risk of cancer increased with the consumption of aloe vera. Most of them suspect the presence of anthraquinones responsible for the cause. To be specific, the aloin compound found in aloe vera is known as the potential cause of cancer.
Drinking too much of aloe vera can cause stomach upset and trigger electrolyte imbalances. Therefore, we highly recommend practicing moderation when consuming aloe vera.
Over to You
Aloe vera is definitely an alternative medicine which should be tried after consulting your doctor. The health benefits are amazing but moderation should be practiced when consuming such medicines.
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