The benefits of Aloe Vera
A few weeks ago, while on a trip to Fuero Ventura, I happened upon a small Aloe Vera factory. While I was there, I had the chance of learning a lot of exciting things about this plant directly from the source – the local experts. They told me all about its medicinal and cosmetic properties and even gave me a few pointers about where and how it’s grown. This really intrigued me and after coming back home to London, I decided to read up on this amazing plant and learn all about its huge potential. And let me tell you – Aloe Vera does indeed deserve its reputation!
A lot of people refer to Aloe Vera as “the wonder plant”, and with good reason. Highly renowned by traditional medicine practitioners, therapists, cosmetics enthusiasts and even home decorators, the benefits of Aloe Vera are quite a few. Sporting excellent antiviral and antibacterial properties, it can help your body in combating a whole host of diseases – from constipation, all the way to diabetes. But that’s not all – Aloe Vera has also found its way into a multitude of commercial cosmetics products – skincare creams, face masks, shampoos and more. Throughout this article, I’ll do my best to familiarise you with the benefits of this wonderful plant and give you some pointers on how to use it.
What is Aloe Vera and where does Aloe Vera’s power come from?
Before we jump straight into the thick of it, let’s have a quick glance at the plant itself. Aloe Vera is an evergreen perennial member of the Aloe genius. Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, this wonder plant quickly spread all across the globe by the traditional medicine experts and cosmeticians. Despite its ability to grow in various places around the world, Aloe Vera truly flourishes in its native climate. With its relatively short stems and thick, prickly leaves, Aloe Vera is also treasured for its looks by garden designers, as it makes an excellent addition to any indoor garden. And it is in those very leaves that the famous healing properties of the plant lie.
Originally meant by nature as a means of self-defense against overly inquisitive herbivores, the Aloe Vera leaves hold a unique, albeit quite bitter, gooey gel. Holding roughly 96% water content, this gel is exceedingly rich in a variety of amino acids (18 out of the total 20 acids needed by the human body to be precise) as well as Vitamins A, B, C, and E.
Recommended by Ayurveda and traditional Chinese herbal medicine experts alike, this gel contains a peculiar carbohydrate called acemannan, which nourishes cells while promoting more efficient nutrient distribution throughout the body. The skin of the Aloe Vera plant, after being dried and purified and powdered, is also used in traditional medicine, this time with a proposed laxative effect.
Top 10 benefits of Aloe Vera:
1. Aloe Vera possesses potent antioxidant and ant-bacterial properties
Antioxidants are substances that help in the defence of your cells against free radicals. Thanks to its phytochemical composition, the gel produced from Aloe Vera leaves can be used to combat a variety of cardiovascular diseases neurodegeneration, diabetes and even cancer!
2. When applied directly to the skin, Aloe Vera can help in recovery from burns
Widely used as a topical medication, Aloe Vera gel can speed the recovery process of burns when applied directly to the skin. Studies show that using Aloe Vera in this way can dramatically speed the healing process by reducing it by nearly fifty percent!
3. Dental Benefits of Aloe Vera
When it comes to dental problems, plaque is usually one of the primary suspects. Plaque build-up can lead to a variety of tooth-related problems, decay and gum disease. When used for mouth rinsing, Aloe Vera juice can produce results similar to those of chlorhexidine, reducing dental plaque in as little as four days. Furthermore, studies have shown that this procedure can also combat gingival inflammation in patients who’ve recently undergone plaque removal treatments.
4. Aloe Vera and Mouth Ulcers
Aloe Vera gel can also help against the infamous canker sores by reducing ulcer size, all the while accelerating the healing process at the same time.
5. How Aloe Vera Helps you fight Constipation
Thanks to its high water content, combined with its laxative effects, Aloe Vera can also help in combating constipation. One of the main contributors to its exalted status in traditional medicine, the anti-constipation properties of Aloe Vera’s skin will help in relaxing the tissues and easing up your bowels.
6. Skin Health and Wrinkle-Reducing benefits of Aloe Vera
As a vitamin and antioxidant-rich plant, Aloe Vera offers numerous skin health benefits. As most of you probably know, proper hydration is crucial for maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance. Coupled with its antioxidant properties, this makes Aloe Vera an excellent addition to most cosmetic creams and lotions, as demonstrated by its popularity in the cosmetics industry.
7. Aloe Vera can help with Blood Sugar Control
Aloe Vera can assist in controlling the blood sugar within your body by boosting insulin sensitivity. This, however, should be practised with caution, as prolonged consumption of Aloe Vera for insulin controlling purposes can lead to adverse effects and, in extreme cases, even liver damage.
8. Aloe Vera Allows you to Add more vitamins to your diet
While there is a large variety of fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin C, if you’re bored of all of them, you can always make the switch to Aloe Vera juice for a bit of a change! Vital for the optimal functioning of your body, as well as your overall health, Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which helps in fighting off inflammation. Drinking a glass of Aloe Vera juice every now and then can protect you against cardiovascular diseases and is a great boost to your immune system.
9. Hydration and Revitalisation benefits of Aloe Vera
A low-calorie, vitamin-rich drink, Aloe Vera juice can help you stay fresh, hydrated and ready to face any challenges. This makes it an excellent alternative to all those sugary beverages, sweetened fruit juices and energy drinks.
10. Aloe Vera for Hair Growth
Due to its ability to stimulate blood circulation and oxygen delivery, Aloe Vera can also help out with scalp and hair health. Even though medicinal research in this particular detail of Aloe Vera’s powers is quite scarce, the plant’s beneficial contents coincide with the needs of your hair:
- essential amino acids
- vitamins A, B, C and E
- fatty acids
- copper and zinc
Purchasing and Storing Aloe Vera products. Things to keep in mind when looking for Aloe Vera Products
Depending on the type of Aloe Vera product you buy (juice, gel, cream, etc.), you will need to use different storage methods. As per usual, I’d recommend that you stick with what it says on the label, rather than what random Internet pages will tell you – manufacturers tend to know a thing or two about their own products.
This being said, however, Aloe Vera juice and gels tend to like cooler temperatures, without humidity – both room temperature and the fridge will do just fine. Aloe Vera juice products should generally come in darker packaging or amber-coloured bottles. This is done to protect the substance from the light, preserving the active ingredients for longer. Naturally, you should keep them away from direct sunlight, regardless of the type of packaging they came in.
A word of caution – Aloe Vera is considered a supplement, and is therefore not regulated too strictly by the authorities in most countries. This means that you’ve got pretty much no way of knowing whether or not you’re purchasing the real deal before you start using it and seeing results. And believe me when I say this – there are plenty of imposters out there, especially given Aloe Vera’s popularity.
But before you get discouraged by this, I’ve got a quick trick to share with you that I learned on my trip to an Aloe Vera gel factory in the Canary Islands:
When you initially open a box of Aloe Vera gel and you touch it, it’ll be quite sticky. If you let it stay like that for a short while (a couple of minutes at most) and then touch it again, it should soak right into your skin.
Obviously, you won’t get the chance to try this out with most Aloe Vera products before purchasing them, but it might come in handy to know every now and then.
And before I wrap up this article I’ll share my (not-all-that) secret method of getting legitimate Aloe Vera products – I get my supply directly from the factory I visited! You can check out their website or get in touch with them by following this link: https://www.fincacanarias.es. Happy exploring!
© Lifestyle Tips by Antoaneta