Aloe Vera Gel and Health Benefits

Updated on January 18, 2018
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm Sam. I enjoy writing about health and mental health-related topics as well as natural ways to prevent disease and stress.

There are essentially two different kinds of gel that are made from aloe vera. The first is made from the inside of the leaf. This type is usually much more bitter in flavor and yellow in color than the other type of aloe vera gel, which is found encased in the leaf. Depending on how the specific product is made, it might actually contain both of these types of gel. If the product is made by crushing the entire leaf, it is likely that it will be a combination of both the gel made from the inside of the leaf and the physical gel itself.

Pure aloe vera gel has a huge variety of uses, both for the exterior of the body and the interior. It can be applied to your skin or used internally to treat conditions as wide-ranging as fever to ulcers to gingivitis. Here is everything you need to know about organic aloe vera gel, how it is used, how to find it in its purest form, its benefits, and side effects.

What Is Aloe Vera Gel?

Aloe vera gel is made in a variety of different ways, but no matter how it is produced, it is generally the same thing. The gel is contained inside the fleshy, waxy leaves, and is harvested by cutting or breaking the leaf off of the plant and draining it into a container. Sometimes, the leaves are then also cut open and further gel is scraped off of the inside of the leaf. Though this is sometimes called aloe vera latex, it is usually packaged and sold along with the gel.

The gel is also sometimes made by crushing the entire leaf into a pulp. While this usually produces a different consistency than gel that is drained out of the leaf, it has many of the same health benefits and uses.

Aloe vera gel contains a number of nutrients that make it very beneficial for topical and internal applications. These include vitamin C, which helps to strengthen blood vessels, is great for circulation, and supports the health of the immune system. Amino acids are also present in the gel, which are the building blocks of everything in our cells and are therefore extremely necessary when it comes to keeping the body healthy and functioning.

Enzymes are another substance found in aloe vera, which are used to produce our cells, metabolize food, improve the appearance of skin, and much, much more. Germanium also occurs naturally in the plant, which is widely recognized as an anti-inflammatory, as being great for cardiac disorders, and for improving circulation in the body. On top of these substances, it is also rich in proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamins A, E, and most of the B varieties, as well as magnesium.

How Is Aloe Vera Gel Used?

Aloe vera gel has a huge number of uses, beginning with topical application and ending with soothing constipation. The gel, in all of its forms, has a span of uses that cannot be rivaled by just about any other natural substance. Here are some of the most common uses for aloe vera gel:

To Soothe Burns and Irritation

When you have sunburn, you probably already reach for a bottle of aloe vera. It is rife with natural anti-inflammatories that can wick away the pain and the redness that comes along with these types of burns.

It has an incredible cooling effect that nothing else can replicate, and because it soothes while it cools, while also promoting healing, it is much safer to put on a burn than a cold compress, which can tear up the damaged skin and actually create a large problem.

As a Laxative

Aloe vera can be very effective not just as a salve for burns, but also as a laxative. The gel made by scraping the inside the leaf, especially, can be very effective at relieving constipation.

It is also completely natural, which makes it much, much better than the pills that you can find in the drugstore that offer the same function. Even before most people started hearing about the health benefits of aloe vera gel, they were probably already aware that it could be used as a laxative.

As a Moisturizer

In addition to being great at soothing irritation on the surface of the skin, the gel is a great moisturizer, and it is also completely natural and absorbs into the skin very quickly. This is something that researchers in labs have tried to replicate with chemical moisturizers for years, but none have even come close to being as effective at moisturizing or as quickly absorbing as the gel is.

Preventing Acne

While this might not be one of the most common uses for aloe vera gel, it is often used to prevent acne from happening and for treating it when it does occur. Because it is an anti-inflammatory, it will ease redness around a blemish and because it is antibacterial, it can help to kill off the bacteria that causes acne.

To Get Rid of Rashes

The antibacterial properties of aloe vera gel are very commonly used to help an individual get rid of any rashes they might have, especially those that are caused by an allergic reaction. It absorbs into the skin quickly and helps to get rid of toxins and allergens in the skin, restoring it to its natural state and helping it to become more resilient to irritations that cause rashes in the future.

Heal Ulcers and Soothe Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ulcers can irritable bowel syndrome are both related to inflammation in the body. While eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help to ease both of these conditions, aloe vera can be very effective at getting rid of the inflammation that causes these and other conditions.

These are only a few of its many, many uses. This gel has been used for over four thousand years for the treatment of digestive issues to the signs of aging, and recent scientific studies have begun to prove that aloe vera does have a real effect on the body and does really have all of the benefits it is purported to have.

How to Measure the Purity of Aloe Vera Gel

Recently, there have been some concerns raised about whether or not all aloe vera gel being sold on the market is actually pure. There seem to be some products marketing themselves as an organic gel that are actually not pure at all. Some unscrupulous companies will do this to cut the costs of their production, therefore making more profits. What should you look out for when buying it?

First, look for the presence of excess water in your gel. All aloe vera gel will be slightly diluted, but if it is diluted too much, it will be rendered ineffective. Most commercial brands offer products that contain only a very small amount of the gel, requiring you to use a large amount of it before it is effective, and therefore requiring you to buy more and more of their product.

Another common tactic is to mix manmade chemicals into the aloe. They will often take a diluted solution of aloe vera gel and throw other chemicals into it, so that it may act more like the pure gel. The best way to combat this tactic is to look at the ingredients in your gel product. If it contains high levels of glycerin or glucose, it probably is not actually pure and, therefore, not something that you want to use.

Aloe vera gel is also not considered pure if it is made from a plant that has been dried, powdered, and then reconstituted into gel. While this is not the worst thing that can be done to this gel, this process can cause the plant to lose many of its most important benefits. When buying the gel, make sure you are not buying a product that has been produced using any of these three methods.

Aloe Vera Health Benefits

It is commonly and widely known that aloe vera is great for skin conditions of all kinds. Those with eczema and burns will use it regularly to reduce redness in that area and to actually promote the healing and soothe the irritation that can range from annoying to painful. When applied to the skin, it has an instant cooling effect, which is beneficial not just for burns, but for any kind of irritation on the skin. This is what makes it so great for both topical creams and shampoos and conditioners.

One of the biggest benefits of the plant is that it is extremely moisturizing. It carries a wide variety of nutrients deep into the skin, where they can then be absorbed into your cells and utilized to make your skin stronger and more resilient to damage. Aloe vera gel is actually about 99% water. The 1% of the gel that is not water are nutrients that are very beneficial to the skin and to the body.

When taken internally, the plant has a number of other health benefits. Its moisturizing properties are still extremely important. This is partially what makes it great as a laxative and as a way to relieve diarrhea. It imbibes the digestive tract with moisture and with its healing vitamins and minerals, which help to curb any inflammation in the body and to soften stool and move it along through the digestive tract.

Those who have weakened immune system either because of preexisting conditions or simply because the body is battling an infection of some kind can also benefit from the plant. The gel can stimulate the immune system, which may be beneficial for fighting off that infection or for preventing one from taking hold. Some also find that this boost in their immune system helps to combat hay fever and other allergic responses.

Side Effects of Pure Aloe Vera Gel

Aside from the benefits that pure aloe vera gel provides to the body, there are some side effects. Most of these are good side effects, like losing weight or regulation of blood sugar, but there are some negative side effects that come along with taking the gel, especially if you take too much. Most notably, the side effects include gastric discomfort, diarrhea, and stomach aches.

The side effects of the pure gel should not be understated—there are real negatives to taking too much. While it is likely impossible to use too much on the surface of the skin, it is possible that you can take too much orally, which will produce these results.

In the early part of this century, there were many studies done about the efficacy and safety of aloe vera, which found that while this natural substance is safe to use, too much of it can cause a reaction that most people would not find favorable. Regulating your intake of the gel is the best way to avoid these side effects. In order to do this, it is a good idea to read the dosing instructions on whatever product you buy, in order to see what that product specifically says about how often it can be used and how it should be used.

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.

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