Benefits of Aloe Vera

[By Bhoomika Saini]

An evergreen perennial, it originates from the Arabian Peninsula, but grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world. It is cultivated for commercial products, mainly as a topical treatment used over centuries. The species is attractive for decorative purposes, and succeeds indoors as a potted plant.

It is used in many consumer products, including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics, ointments or in the form of gel for minor burns and sunburns. There is little clinical evidence for the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera extract as a cosmetic or topical drug. The name derives from Latin as Aloe and Vera (“truth”).

Lets see what benefits it offers us.

Heartburn relief

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in heartburn. A review suggested that consuming 1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD. It may also ease other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.

Keeping produce fresh

A study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.

An alternative to mouthwash

In a study, researchers found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.

Lowering your blood sugar

Ingesting two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day can cause blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes. This could mean that aloe vera may have a future in diabetes treatment.

But people with diabetes, who take glucose-lowering medications, should use caution when consuming aloe vera. The juice along with diabetes medications could possibly lower your glucose count to dangerous levels.

A natural laxative

Aloe vera is considered a natural laxative. A handful of studies have looked into the benefits of the succulent to aid digestion. The results appear to be mixed.The gel made from typical aloe vera houseplants was able to relieve constipation.

Aloe vera can be used to relieve constipation, but sparingly. They advise that a dose of 0.04 to 0.17 grams of dried juice is sufficient.

Skin care

You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. This may be because the plant thrives in dry, unstable climates. To survive the harsh conditions, the plant’s leaves store water. These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates, make it an effective face moisturizer and pain reliever.

Potential to fight breast cancer

Therapeutic properties of aloe emodin, a compound in the plant’s leaves tells us that the succulent shows potential in slowing the growth of breast cancer. However, more studies are needed to further advance this theory.

The takeaway

There are a number of ways to use the aloe vera plant and the various gels and extracts that can be made from it. Researchers are continuing to discover new methods to put this succulent to use. Be sure to consult your doctor if you plan to use aloe vera in a medicinal manner, especially if you take medication.

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