Aloe vera is a stemless plant with small white teeth. Aloe vera has been cultivated for centuries around the world for its multiple benefits. It consists of two words aloe from the Arabic word “Alloeh” which means bitter, which refers to a bitter liquid found in the leaves while in Latin vera means “faith or true”. Aloe vera plant benefits were known in several cultures for centuries. Two basic substances of aloe plants are used in different commercial products. A clear aloe vera gel good for different topical skin diseases while the yellowish substance latex is used in different medicines to cure constipation.
History tells us that this plant is one of the oldest plants on record used for its health benefits and highlighted due to its medical properties. Botanically it belongs to the genus of the liliaceous plant. Egyptian queens and other ancients were very well aware of aloe vera benefits for skin and they used aloe to treat different skin regimes. Alexander the Great also used aloe gel to treat the soldiers’ wounds. In the second world war, the Japanese were also well aware of aloe vera gel’s benefits to heal wounds. Aloe vera also possess characteristics to recuperate sunburns, burns, wounds, skin rashes, and fever.
Nutritional Properties of Aloe
Aloe vera plant has 75 active constituents vitamins, lignins, enzymes, salicylic acid, saponins, amino acid, minerals, and sugars. These active constituents possess anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties which help to treat different health issues.
Aloe Vera Uses and Benefits
Aloe vera is not only used to treat skin diseases or constipation but its benefits are lots more than that. Some of them are as below backed by researches done previously.
Benefits and Uses for Skin
Aloe vera acts as a skin savior because of its cooling and medicinal properties. Nowadays aloe vera gel uses have increased as most skin care products contain it as a necessary ingredient. Aloe benefits can be enhanced if we use fresh aloe gel at home.
- Anti-aging– Aloe vera good for the skin as its antioxidant properties help to prevent early aging signs. Bill C. Coats writes, “Since the skin needs nutrition of its own, Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen, can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin.”
- Wounds and sunburns– Aloe benefits for skin are numerous as it helps to treat burns, wounds, sunburn, and minor cuts due to its healing properties.
- Exfoliator– It also helps to exfoliate the dead skin cell by using it with sugar and lemon juice.
- Skin glow- Benefits of drinking aloe vera juice include skin radiance, hormonal balance, and other digestive disorders.
- Aloe cleanser– Aloe vera good for your face if you apply it gently as a cleanser to boost blood flow in your skin, get rid of acne, and kill harmful bacteria.
- Herbal remedies- As per herbal remedies, the benefits of aloe vera on the face overnight will reduce redness, rashes, and skin breakout.
- Hydration- On the other hand, skin hydration is also one of the key benefits of the aloe vera on the face.
Benefits and Uses for Hair
- Conditioner– Aloe vera good for hair due to proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes repair dead skin cells and also act as a good conditioner.
- Hair growth and anti-dandruff- It’s also good to drink aloe vera juice for hair growth. Herbal remedies also tell that aloe vera gel uses for hair loss and to reduce dandruff has fruitful results.
- Keratin properties- A book with the name of Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing Healer by Diane Gage “Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur. Aloe vera has a chemical make-up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.”
- Hair moisturizer- Ideally, the pH level of our scalp should be 5.5. Various hair problems are caused when this level is disrupted. The moisturizing properties of aloe gel help to retain the natural pH level of our scalp.
Other Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
The list of aloe vera benefits not only includes skin treatments but also helps to maintain the health of the body. Aloe vera plant uses are increasing with the new researches.
- Curative medicine– The Health benefits of aloe vera juice is not limited to constipation cure only, rather aloe vera juice good for the digestive system, diabetes, and cancer.
- Boost immunity- The health benefits of drinking aloe vera juice first thing in the morning will boost immunity, also reduce weight, and treat anemia.
- Nutritional value- One can get the maximum benefits by drinking aloe vera juice daily as it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant substances which help to treat heartburn flushes toxin from the body and canker sore.
- Plaque reduction– Aloe vera mouth wash helps to reduce plaque formation on teeth. Some of the previous researches support that aloe vera mouth wash is effective like chlorhexidine.
Aloe Vera Recipes
Aloe has a bitter taste so the juice of aloe may not be consumable so you can add some other juice to neutralize its bitter taste.
- Aloe Vera Juice recipe
- Aloe vera leaf
Method: The best way of making aloe vera juice is to just cut the gel into cubes. Take two tablespoons of gel and blend it with a glass of water. Now add a lemon slice to give some flavor.
- Recipe for Aloe vera Hair Pack
- Aloe vera juice
- Coconut Oil
Mix both ingredients in equal quantities and apply them to the hair. Leave this pack for a good amount of time minimum of two to three hours and wash. This pack will help to get bouncy, healthy, and shiny hairs. The benefits of aloe vera for hair can be maximum if use this pack twice a week.
- Recipe of Fresh Aloe Vera Gel
- Aloe vera Leaf
- Vitamin E oil
- Take a knife and cut the edge of the leaf.
- Now peel off the skin of the leaf after making a long incision lengthwise with the help of a vegetable peeler.
- Now scoop out the pulp into the blender.
- Add a few drops of vitamin E oil to preserve the gel for a long duration.
- Blend the mixture properly at high speed.
- Pour the gel into a dark bowl to refrigerate.
How to Grow Aloe Vera at Home
Aloe vera plant has been used for its medicinal properties for ages. People can easily grow aloe vera plants at home as it prefers a dry climate, sometimes neglecting water (not often) is not going to affect it negatively. Sunlight is necessary for healthy aloe vera plants so it is convenient to keep in the window or outside. Aloe vera plants can not sustain standing water so it is better to plant them in a pot having plenty of drainage holes and sandy soil. Terra cotta pots are more porous to grow these plants at home.
How to Store Aloe Vera Leaves and Gel
Fresh Aloe Vera can be stored easily in the house. You can store fresh aloe vera leaves for up to eight months by keeping them in the refrigerator after securing them into freezer bags to maintain their moisture level. Aloe vera leaves don’t need defrosting, just keep them over the counter for about 2 to 3 hours. Aloe vera juice is good for you to treat open pores by storing the aloe vera juice cubes in an ice tray. Apply the frozen cubes on your face to treat open pore.
Always keep store aloe vera gel in a cool and non-humid environment. Aloe vera’s shelf life can be compromised if you cannot protect it from humidity and temperature.
Aloe Vera Side Effects and Health Risk
As we all know very well that the excess of everything can be harmful. Taking anything daily may lead to its side effects. Aloe vera has a toxic potential which may have some risk factors if used excessively in both ways taken orally or applied topically. Although there are amazing health benefits of aloe vera juice and gel still it can be harmful to overall health in certain conditions. We should not overlook the risk factor. Some of the side effects are as follow:
- Although aloe vera juice benefits are marketed to support digestive system health still there is no such scientific approval and the benefits can be compromised with dosage variation due to toxic effects. Some people who are allergic to aloe vera may face skin rashes, mild redness, swelling, itching.
- Aloe vera juice side effects can vary from person to person. It is recommended for pregnant women to avoid aloe vera juice due to its toxic effects. The latex may cause cramps, pain in the tummy, diarrhea as aloe juice benefits can be compromised if you are already facing a stomach problem.
- Consuming aloe vera juice regularly may drop blood sugar levels. Diabetics should consult doctors before consuming aloe vera juice. Continuous ingestion may lead to cardiac or kidney disorder. Some of the cases have been reported of liver damage after long-run use of aloe supplements. A reported case of 35 years old woman who consumed aloe tablets for two weeks, faced immense intraoperative bleeding during leg surgery.
- As per some reports, herbal dietary products and supplement ingestion has been diagnosed with the basic cause of liver injury. It is recommended by The International Aloe Science Council that for medical use dosage limit should be lower than 50 ppm(parts per millions) and for non-medical use, it should be less than 10 ppm.
- Some evidence tells that use of aloe may reduce skin’s natural propensity to recover from deep surgery wounds, it is also recommended not to use aloe gel on the infected areas due to its microbial properties which can worsen the infection.
Aloe vera plant has been used for more than 300 million years around the world for different reasons. It is considered that herbal and dietary supplements of aloe are safe if used in proper quantity. Aloe vera juice good for you in most of its uses but some of the studies support that due to geographic location, the preparation method of gel, harvesting, and post-harvesting procedures can lead to compromised quality. It is also very necessary to cultivate authentic species of aloe for herbal remedies and supplements.
Reported adverse side effects raised the question of health risks related to regular use of dietary supplements, composition, and individual response to specific products. Some of the herbal supplements have been reported as a common factor of liver injury.
Although the benefits of eating aloe vera are countless still it is always good to consult a doctor before topical application or ingestion orally. If you are applying it to check the benefits of aloe vera on the face and don’t find any difference or have any side effects (rashes, skin burn, and itching) consult your doctor immediately. They can guide you properly to treat the specific problem area.
IMS Health (Danbury, CT) conducted a data analysis that concluded estimated sales of aloe vera products have reached almost $351 million. The popularity of aloe products and usage is increasing day by day which requires conduct in-depth research to investigate risk factors, toxic effects, and carcinogenic impact of aloe products specifically related to long-term use.