Aloe vera is a very common medicinal plant that people have used for thousands of years. It is a thick plant with a short stem that stores water in its leaves. It is best known for relieving sunburn and healing wounds. But did you know that your favorite potted plant can be used for more than just soothing sunburns and decorating the house?
In this article from The Dermo Lab, we will list eight potential health benefits of aloe vera.
Health benefits of aloe Vera
Aloe vera is well-known for its medicinal properties. Whether you have digestive issues or blood sugar control problems, here’s a look at some of the benefits of this popular plant.
- It has antioxidant and antibacterial properties
Antioxidants are essential for good health. Aloe vera gel contains powerful antioxidants that belong to a large family of substances called polyphenols. These polyphenols block the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
Aloe is recognized for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. This is one of the reasons why it can treat skin problems.
- It speeds up wound healing
This is by far one of the most well-known benefits of this plant. It has long been used to treat wounds and especially burns, including sunburns.
After a bad sunburn, you’ve probably applied the plant’s gel to your skin for relief. Aloe vera gel has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it will immediately relieve the discomfort associated with a sunburn. This is due to the plant’s ability to fight inflammation and the fact that aloe vera contains glucomannan, a compound with regenerative properties.
Studies have also shown that this plant is an effective topical treatment for first and second-degree burns. It also helps prevent redness, itching, and infection.
- It reduces plaque
Aloe vera could be an unexpected addition to your oral health regimen, thanks to its potential anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis properties.
Dental cavities and gum disease are very common health problems. One of the best ways to prevent these problems is to reduce the accumulation of plaque or bacterial biofilms on the teeth.
Aloe vera mouthwash has been shown to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing plaque. It is effective in killing Streptococcus mutans bacteria that produce plaque in the mouth, as well as the yeast Candida albicans.
- It can improve the skin and prevent wrinkles
You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and moisturized.
It is used as an ingredient in skin care products, from moisturizers to face masks. This can be attributed to the moisturizing and anti-aging properties of the gel.
This plant contains a high number of mucopolysaccharides, a hydrating molecule that maintains moisture in the skin. It retains water in the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
Aloe also activates fibroblasts (a type of cell found in connective tissue), which accelerate the production of collagen and elastin fibers. This may result in firmer-looking skin and fewer wrinkles, but this has not been conclusively studied.
- It reduces constipation
Aloe vera is known to be a natural laxative when taken orally.
This time, it’s the latex, not the gel, that delivers the benefits. Latex is a sticky yellow residue found underneath the skin of the leaf.
The main compound responsible for this effect is aloin, or barbaloin, which is well known for its laxative effects. However, some people have raised concerns about the safety of frequent use.
Unlike popular belief, aloe vera does not appear to be effective for other digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
- It helps treat canker sores
Many people experience canker sores at some point in their lives. They usually develop under the lip, inside the mouth, and last about a week.
Studies have shown that treatment with aloe vera can speed up the healing of canker sores. Applying an aloe vera patch to the affected area is effective in reducing the size of ulcers.
Aloe gel not only speeds up the healing of canker sores but also reduces the pain associated with them.
- It lowers blood sugar levels
Aloe vera is sometimes used by people as a remedy for diabetes. This is because it can increase insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management with oral intake.
This plant may have benefits for people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes because of its effects on blood sugar control. However, because existing studies are not of ideal quality, scientists do not currently recommend using aloe vera for this purpose.
- It relieves heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition that often causes heartburn. Consuming one to three ounces of aloe gel with meals may reduce the severity of GERD. It can also relieve other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle cure for heartburn.
Is aloe vera safe?
Aloe gel (the part of the plant commonly found in creams and moisturizers) is generally safe to use and can be useful for skin healing when applied topically. Most people can use aloe vera topically for minor skin care problems. In general, it is well-tolerated, although skin irritation and allergic reactions are possible.
Note: Do not use aloe for severe cuts or burns.
However, aloe latex can be dangerous. Taking aloe latex by mouth can cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea. These effects can inhibit the absorption of oral medications and reduce their effectiveness.
Be aware of how your body reacts to aloe. Avoid using this plant if you are allergic to garlic, onions, or tulips. Avoid taking aloe vera within two weeks of scheduled surgery.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 12 years of age should avoid taking this plant by mouth.
Aloe vera has a variety of therapeutic properties, especially in the form of ointment for the skin and gums. Aloe gel can be used in bottles or taken directly from the leaf of an aloe plant. Note that aloe vera juice has different uses than aloe vera gel.
Researchers continue to discover new ways to use this succulent plant. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are considering using this plant for medicinal purposes, especially if you are taking medication.