Hi, I'm Sam, I enjoy writing about nutrition and health-related topics, especially alternative and plant-based remedies.
Is Aloe Vera a Natural Medicine Miracle?
Aloe vera is one of the most widely used and accepted medicinal plants in the world. From ancient Egypt to the American southwest, this natural remedy has been used for everything from soothing sunburns to stomach ulcers. While there are many plants on the market that are not recognized by mainstream medicine for their health benefits, the health benefits of aloe vera have been documented for centuries.
Aloe vera promotes internal and external health and is one of the most potent, useful plants you can grow yourself. This doesn’t mean it should be used without consulting a medical professional. Talk to your doctor before using it to alleviate serious health problems.
High in Necessary Vitamins and Minerals
Like most plants, aloe vera has a high concentration of vitamins that are necessary to a healthy body, both inside and out. It contains a number of minerals that can help to strengthen and repair skin, as well as promote healing and cell regeneration. Applying aloe vera gel or lotion regularly on the skin can help your skin get the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong.
High in Protein and Fatty Acids
Almost everything in our bodies is made up of amino acids. When you get a cut, burn, or rash on your skin, the body sends amino acids (the building blocks of protein), to the area to help repair the skin.
Of the twenty-two amino acids that the body needs, we only produce fourteen. That leaves eight amino acids that we have to get through other sources. Aloe vera is high in these essential amino acids, as well as the kinds of fatty acids that lower bad cholesterol and aid in digestion.
The Essential Aloe Vera Nutrients
A description of the essential aloe vera compounds can be found in this PDF article in the Journal of Plant Sciences. They are also listed in the table below.
B1, B2, B6, C, A, folic acid, choline
Pure mannan, glucomannan, galactan, acetylated mannan, cellulose
Mannose, glucose, aldopentose, L-rhamnose
steroids, triglicderides, triterpenoid, gibberlin, potassium sorbate
Zinc, selenium, magnesium, sodium, calcium
Aloe Vera Aids With Digestion
Because of those fatty acids, aloe vera is great for digestion and a properly working digestive system is imperative to strengthen the body's immune system. Amazingly, aloe vera is great both for those who frequently suffer from constipation and those that frequently have diarrhea. Why? Because unlike medicines that are formulated just for one purpose or the other, it works to actively calm the body’s digestive system, no matter the issue it is experiencing. Taking aloe vera regularly can help to maintain a healthy level of bacteria in the stomach and can even fight the unhealthy bacteria that might try to upset the stomach.
Detoxifies the Body
Like chia seeds and seaweed, aloe vera has a high gelatin content. These gels are great for detoxifying the body, because they actually absorb and hold on to toxins, allowing them to be passed through your body. As the gel passes through your intestinal tract, it will absorb any remaining toxins from chemicals you might have consumed or used on your body. Because it also aids in keeping your digestive system regular, aloe vera also ensures that the toxins are regularly and completely eliminated from the body.
Creates an Alkaline Environment in the Body
When you regularly take aloe vera, you create an alkaline system in your body. Most people consume mostly acidic foods, which is why there is such a high rate of heartburn and acid reflux disease in our society. If you temper that acid with alkaline foods you will have a system that is much less vulnerable to disease and is far less prone to problems like acid reflux and heartburn. Aloe vera creates and helps to maintain the balance that your body needs to stay healthy.
Aloe Vera Protects Heart Health
While there have not been many clinical trials about the benefits of aloe vera on the cardiovascular system, it is clear that this natural remedy combats inflammation, which is one of the underlying causes of heart disease. How aloe vera combats inflammation lends credibility to the idea that eating aloe vera or taking a supplement can help to improve heart health. This plant actually improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen, through the blood, to the sites that need it most. By also lowering cholesterol, the plant improves circulation and decreases the strain on the heart and any inflammation that may be damaging the circulatory system.
Soothes and Improves Skin
Unlike many skin products that claim to reduce inflammation, smooth skin, and help repair skin damage, aloe vera actually delivers. It’s widely used for everything from cooling sunburns to soothing bug bites to taming psoriasis. Whether you have an occasional skin issue or a chronic one like psoriasis, having aloe vera on hand is always a good idea.
It’s an analgesic, meaning that it can reduce the pain of a cut or burn, and it also hydrates the skin and decreases the impulse to itch, which can only further damage the irritated or wounded area. Even when not used on a damaged area, even just as a daily moisturizer, it can help keep skin balanced and full of life.
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Strengthens Your Immune System
One of the biggest aloe vera health benefits is a boost to the immune system. Aloe vera juice, which is rich in polysaccharides, promote white blood cell production, which are the cells in the blood that fight infection and viruses. A boosted immune system is also better for curbing the effects of free radicals and can help to reduce fever, both in adults and children.
It doesn’t just make it more robust, it actually improves the speed at which the immune system reacts to bacteria or viruses in the body. It makes the entire body more adaptable and more able to live in this environment. It can even help to combat certain unwelcome allergic responses.
Infections and Bad Bacteria
Aloe vera is actually naturally antibacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti just about anything that can harm your body. It is high in salicylic acid, which kills the bacteria on your skin that causes acne and infection. It can combat certain types of fungi too. This study reviews the wound healing properties of aloe vera and tissue recovery with β-sitosterol a compound in the plant.
If your skin has developed a rash, an application of aloe vera can help soothe that rash. If you have an ulcer (which is caused by inflammation due to stress in the body), eating aloe vera can help soothe that ulcer, too. The plant's high levels of beta-sitosterol cool inflamed areas and can even help to ease the pain of inflammation in joints that causes arthritis.
Aloe Vera Can Help You Lose Weight
Aloe vera is not a weight loss supplement and should not be taken as such. But the combined detoxifying and digestive effects can help your body get rid of extra weight. It can give your metabolism and energy the needed boost to kick off a diet and exercise regimen. Talk to a medical professional and/or dietitian before changing your diet.
Raksha, B., Pooja, S., Babu, S. (2014). Bioactive compounds and medicinal properties of Aloe vera L.: An update. Journal of Plant Sciences, 2(3), 102-107.
Hashemi, S. A., Madani, S. A., & Abediankenari, S. (2015). The Review on Properties of Aloe Vera in Healing of Cutaneous Wounds. BioMed research international, 2015, 714216. doi:10.1155/2015/714216
Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: a short review. Indian journal of dermatology, 53(4), 163–166. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2015 Sam Shepards
Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on October 24, 2015:
Thanks we tried to cover most.
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 20, 2015:
Excellent article. I was not aware of all these health benefits. Posted on Pinterest.