Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years for a really good reason. This multipurpose wonder plant has more to offer than just it’s a lovely spiky green look.
It’s a magical medicinal plant that has excellent herbal properties to treat several health conditions, both internally and topically.
However, here’s all you need to know about the most popular species of aloe:
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is a beautiful cactus-like juicy plant belonging to the family of Aloe of over 500 species. It’s also known by its botanical name Aloe Barbadensis.
The thick and fleshy leaves of it branch out from the center in a triangle shape having teeth at the edges and grow between 2-3 feet in size.
Normally, there are two parts of an Aloe Vera leaf: a gel and latex.
Aloe gel is a clear, jellylike liquid in the middle of the leaves which is used to treat wounds, burns and also in several skin products.
While aloe latex is a bitter yellow pulp obtained from the inside surface of the leaf and has been taken orally as a laxative.
The vitamins packed in it are Vitamin A, C and E which are antioxidants, plus Vitamin B12 require for healthy blood cells and DNA.
Moreover, it provides minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems.
Additionally, it also has the organic compound Anthraquinones as well as essential amino acids and other sugars and hormones.
Because of its naturally occurring nutritional and medicinal components, this all-rounder nature’s wonder is powerful in facilitating good health.
Aloe Vera health benefits
Ancient use of it is for treating several skin conditions, for example, sunburns, wounds and inflammations. Though, there’s evidence that it may be effective in other ailments like hypertension, psoriasis and irritable bowel syndrome.
You can choose to take it orally or topically. However, there are not enough studies that it can treat all the health issues, but it’s more likely to benefit:
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe helps to regulate digestion and give relief in constipation, ulcers and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Furthermore, it detoxifies your intestinal tract and promotes a strong immune system too.
Help to heal sunburns or any burns due to its soothing, nourishing and cooling ability.
It speeds up the skin recovery to treat wounds, afterburn wounds or cuts and also fights with bacteria causing infections.
Naturally fights with cavity-inducing oral bacteria and improve oral hygiene. Also, it drives away the bad odor of mouth.
Protect your skin from harmful free radicals and UV radiation. It also works best on skin problems such as Psoriasis and acne. Aloe’s calming effect on skin can soothe the itchiness and inflammation of it and keep the skin clear and radiant.
Most studies show that ingesting Aloe Vera can lower the blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it even seems to regulate the cholesterol level in such conditions.
If your hair is rough and dry and you experience a lot of hair loss, Aloe Vera can be the solution. The reason is, it efficiently locks the moisture in and blocs the hair damaging toxins.
Even it aids healthy hair growth by improving the scalp health and eliminating dandruff as well as any fungal elements affecting hair follicles.
Types of Aloe Vera Products
When it comes to getting most out of the aloe, the best is you use it as raw itself. Simply, cut the leaf from the middle with a knife and peel off the juicy gel from it.
You can directly apply a gel to the skin to make homemade beauty products or combine it with food and smoothies.
If you plan to use it later, refrigerate the cubes. But, it can be most nutritious while fresh so make sure to utilize it as early as possible.
Though, be careful to not get the yellow latex as it can have toxic side effects.
Aloe Vera Products
There are plenty of aloe Vera products available in the market, either as gels, edibles or supplements. Additionally, you’ll find many skin products or hair products containing aloe vera.
Other forms of aloe-based products may consist of aloe juice, aloe powder, extract or capsules.
In aloe juice and extract, it’s possible that the whole leaf was crushed, including the latex. So make sure you read ingredients on products and go for the products which are more aloe than other chemicals.
While using aloe vera creams, ensure you aren’t allergic and have pure aloe content and not a substitute of it.
A more ideal way to enjoy its benefits is to look for the aloe as a leading ingredient in the overall product.
Is it safe to use?
As with using anything new we aren’t aware of, caution should be taken. Although aloe is generally safe, some people can be allergic to it.
To become sure, apply the small part of it to your hand and wait if it has any reaction.
Aloe gel is safe to apply on skin and possibly safe when consumed orally. Though, never apply it on severe cuts or burns or if you just had surgery.
The latex, on the other hand, can be dangerous. FDA has disapproved the over-the-counter products having aloe laxatives because it can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea and sometimes even kidney damage.
Also, ingesting any form of the aloe is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it may cause birth defects or miscarriage.
If you take several medications or drugs regularly, better to talk to your doctor for possible interactions with certain medicines like prescribe steroids, heart drugs or diabetes drugs.
Aloe juice might cause your sugar levels to drop so It’s advised to monitor your blood sugar regularly.
Don’t take aloe vera internally if you have:
- Kidney diseases
- Heart problems
- Intestinal problems
- Electrolyte imbalances
Keep the dosage in limit and don’t use it for a prolonged period of time. Take a break in between to keep the adverse reactions at the bay.
Take care for the Aloe Vera plant
No need to go outside for aloe vera if you have it in your home. It easy to grow aloe plant at home without any much attention.
You can plant them either indoor or outdoor provided that they have enough sunlight and warmth.
These plants usually need 8-10 hours of sunlight per day. However, not getting sufficient sunlight makes them grow flat in a horizontal while overexposure can make it brown in color.
Moreover, it’s essential to not overwater and give sufficient water to them. in warmer months, you can water it after confirming the soil is dry for about 1 or 2 inches below the surface.
Plants need less water in cold weather so if you keep it too moist, the roots may rot.
Opt for a soil mix, wide pot so the roots can have space to grow and spread well. The pot should have small drain holes to let go of any excess water.
A Number of benefits you can avail from this gift of nature. And, if toxicity is a point of worry, understand, as long as it’s in the form of a gel or other substance and precautions are covered, the chances of risks are little to none.
Yes, there are still researches going on to find out how truly effective it is. But, getting your hands on time to get the brief info about the pure aloe products is not that much hard!