Health and Wellness

Aloe Vera: Amazingly beneficial “plant of immortality”

Aloe Vera: Amazingly beneficial “plant of immortality”
Written by Banani Chakraborty

Aloe Vera is a common medicinal plant popular for treating various skin problems, particularly sunburn. Today, it is an important part of dermatology. These are extremely vital for our good health. In fact, it contains polyphenols which act as powerful antioxidants. They (polyphenols) along with other properties of it can prevent the growth of some harmful bacteria in humans. Ancient people realized that this plant had healing power along with several skin treatments. They used both the gel and juice. It became a popular herbal remedy.

Table of Contents

Aloe Vera: Amazingly beneficial “plant of immortality”

It is called so because it can live as well as bloom almost without soil. Moreover, it requires almost no water and sunlight.

History of aloe Vera:

People are using it dating back to ancient Egypt due to its skincare, beauty, medicinal as well as healthy ingredients. People of Greece, India, Egypt, Mexico, China and Japan are using it for millennia.

It was an important part of the regular beauty regime of Egyptian beauty queens Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Furthermore, the soldiers of Alexander, as well as Christopher Columbus, used to treat wounds.

To begin with, Aloe Vera is a succulent, perennial, pea-green colour, xerophytic, shrubby or arborescent plant belonging to the species of the genus Aloe.

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Where does Aloe Vera come from?

This evergreen perennial originating from the Arabian Peninsula grows widely in arid, tropical and semi-tropical climate regions around the world.

It generally grows in the dry parts of Africa, Asia, America and Europe. In India, you will find it mainly in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.

People cultivate it not only for its agricultural but also medicinal uses.  Moreover, you can successfully grow it as a potted plant. Therefore, people use it indoors for room decoration.

What is the economic importance of aloe Vera?

We are witnessing its substantial use in the field of pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetic industries.

However, its estimated annual global market value is around $ 13 billion. Furthermore, its global use is increasing day by day by leaps and bounds, particularly in the field of cosmetology. The entire industry is behind it.

What are different forms of aloe Vera?

Humans are using aloe Vera to various cosmetics and personal care products like

  • Soaps
  • Shampoos
  • Suntan lotions
  • Lotions
  • Cream
  • Liquid
  • Sprays
  • Oil
  • Moisturizer
  • Shaving cream
  • Pills
  • Mouthwash

But, we need control trials to determine its actual effectiveness.

What are Aloe Vera products?

In the first place, you will find it in numerous consumer products like

  • Skin lotion.
  • Ointments for minor burns or sunburns.
  • Beverages.
  • Cosmetics.

What are the varieties of Aloe vera?

There are more than 400 types of this plant. Below are some of its well-known varieties.

  • Ciliaris or climbing.
  • Aculeate.
  • Barbadensis Miller.[the best among aloe vera]
  • Striata or coral.
  • Crosby’s Prolific.
  • Arborescens or candelabra.
  • Petricola or stone.
  • Humilis or spider.
  • Ferox or cape.
  • Aristata or lace.

Researchers have started to unlock numerous benefits of this universal plant along with its byproducts.

What does Aloe Vera contain?

To begin with, it contains several plants compounds that serve a lot of health benefits.

Aloe Vera contains healthy plant compounds:

At first, it is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant. Besides, the leaves are thick, pointed like a triangular as well as fleshy with serrated edges. Moreover, the flowers are yellow tubular and the flowers have abundant seeds.

Another exquisite feature of it is that it forms arbuscular mycorrhiza which is a symbiosis. As a result, the plant enjoys a better right of entry to the mineral nutrients in the soil. Consequently, it contains several bioactive compounds like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.

The leaves are full of slimy tissues. Therefore, it can store water in its leaves. It is the gel.

The aloe Vera leaves have three layers.

At first, the outer thick layer called rind. It comprises of 15-20 cells. This rind performs protective functions. Added to this, it synthesizes proteins and carbohydrates. There are also vascular bundles. They transport substances like xylem (water) and phloem (starch).

Next is the middle layer of a bitter yellow sap called latex. It contains glycosides and anthraquinones.

Finally, is the layer of inner clear gel. It comprises of 99% of water and the rest contains vitamins, amino acids, lipids, glucomannan as and sterols.

What are the various types of aloe Vera that people use?

Generally, people use gel and latex. People use gel topically on the skin to treat wounds, burns, etc. Besides, it is available either in liquid or in capsule form. We consume it orally.

Usually, people use latex to make aloe-based drinks like juice or water and intake it orally.

Read below the skincare and hair care benefits along with health care benefits.

What is the taste of aloe Vera:

It is a bit bitter and very hard to use orally. Therefore, the companies mix it with citrusy juice or water. Some companies add sweeteners or flavors.

What are the active components of Aloe Vera and what are its properties?

It contains 75 potentially active ingredients like

active components of aloevera

source google image

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Sugars
  • Amino acids
  • Salicylic acids
  • Enzymes
  • Saponins
  • Lignin

What are the Vitamins in aloe Vera?

It provides several vitamins like vitamin A (beta-carotene) along with C and E. Indeed, they act as antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Additionally, there are vitamin B 12, choline, and folic acid.

What are the Minerals in aloe Vera?

It contains some very important minerals like

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Sodium
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

We require them to function properly in diverse metabolic pathways of different enzyme systems. Sometimes, they also perform as antioxidants.

What are the Fatty acids in aloe Vera?

It holds 4 plant steroids namely cholesterol, lupeol, β-sitosterol, and campesterol. All of them possess anti-inflammatory properties. Lupeol also belongs to antiseptic and analgesic characteristics.

What are the Enzymes in aloe Vera?

It provides the following enzymes:

  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Bradykinase
  • Catalase
  • Amylase
  • Cellulose
  • Peroxidase
  • Aliiase
  • Lipase

If we topically apply Bradykinase to the skin, then it aids to diminish unnecessary inflammation. Other enzymes assist in the breakdown process of sugars as well as fats.

What are the Sugars in aloe Vera?

It contains both monosaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. And polysaccharides are glucomannans, polymannose. These are available in the mucilage layer of this plant.

Some of these are mannose-6-phosphate, glucomannans, etc.

What are the Hormones in aloe Vera?

Auxins and gibberellins in it contain wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

What are the Anthraquinones in aloe Vera?

At first, it contains 12 anthraquinones which are popular as laxatives. Aloin, as well as emodin, are antivirals, antibacterials and analgesics.

What are the Phytochemicals in Aloe Vera?

The phytochemicals in it are

  • Anthraquinones like emodin.
  • Acetylated mannans.
  • Pollyannas
  • Lectins
  • Anthrones
  • Anthraquinone C-glycosides.

Moreover, it has 20 amino acids that we need. Among them, 7 are essential amino acids. Besides, salicylic acid in it is antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory. Further, inert substance lignin, in topical condition can enhance other ingredients to penetrate the skin. Furthermore, there are soapy substances called saponins. They are around 3% of the gel. They possess cleansing as well as antiseptic belongings.

What are the Medicinal Benefits of Aloe Vera:health benefits of aloevera

You know the importance of food in daily life. Aloe Vera is good for our overall health, skincare, and hair. Read the following and know about it.

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera:

It provides several health benefits. Some of them are

Aloe Vera and Heartburn relief:

Actually, heartburn is the outcome of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRED), a digestive disorder. According to a 2010 review, intake of 1 to 3 ounces of its gel at mealtime can minimize the severity of this GRED. If there are other prevailing digestive problems, then it may also benefit in those cases.

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Aloe Vera and acid reflux:

At first, we prepare Aloe juice from its latex. We extract it from the inner layer of the leaves. Because, it holds vitamins, enzymes, minerals, amino acids, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral properties, therefore it enhances digestion. Added to this, it eliminates toxins from the human body.

Therefore, it is helpful to fight acid reflux.

Aloe Vera as a pain reliever:

Due to the presence of salicylic acid in it sometimes it may act as a painkiller.

Aloe Vera keep produce fresh:

The Cambridge University Press revealed a 2014 study report on aloe gel-coated tomato plants. The study showed that this gel coating was able to block several harmful bacteria. Therefore, it helped to retain quality as well as freshness.

This was again proved in a different study with apples.

Therefore, it can keep fruits and vegetables as well as produce fresh.

Aloe Vera reduces blood sugar:

To begin with, Phytomedicine is an international journal for Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy. According to their study report, a daily intake of two tablespoons of its juice can reduce blood sugar level in type 2 diabetic patients.

In another report in Phytotherapy research also confirmed the above. The research used its pulp extract.

Therefore, we may expect in the future it may be used widely to treat diabetics.

But people who are already using medicines to control glucose may use it with caution.

Aloe Vera a natural laxative, reduces constipation:

It may aid digestion. Although, there is controversy regarding this.

A Nigerian scientists team found that a typical houseplant of it can get rid of constipation.

But, another study by the National Institutes of Health found consuming whole-leave extract, may cause tumor growth in the large intestines.

As per the Mayo Clinic recommendation, consuming 0.04 to 0.17 grams of dried juice can relieve constipation.

Aloin or barbaloin in aloe latex may help to reduce constipation.

However, frequent use may not be safe. Therefore, the FDA banned over-the-counter all aloe latex products since 2002. Moreover, it recommended reformulation.

If you are suffering from colitis, Crohn’s disease, or hemorrhoids, then you should not consume it. Because it may develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Moreover, it may cause a problem to absorb other drugs. Therefore, if you are under medications, then you should stop consuming them.

Anyhow, it is not very effective to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

An alternative to mouthwash:

Researchers of the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences in a study in 2014 found its extract may be a very good substitute for chemical-based mouthwashes. Vitamin C in it can prevent plaque. Moreover, it may be helpful to overcome bleeding or swollen gums.

Aloe reduces dental plaque:

A very common concern of human health is tooth decay as well as gum diseases. They occur mainly due to plaque (bacterial biofilms) buildup on the teeth. To overcome the problem, rinse the mouth with 100% pure juice is very effective.

In study 300 healthy people rinse their mouths using its pure sap and chlorhexidine, a standard mouthwash property. After 4 days, it was found that both were equally beneficial.

Another study found the same benefit over 15-30 days.

It can damage the plaque creating bacterium Streptococcus mutants along with the yeast Candida albicans in the mouth.

It helps to treat canker sores:

Another common problem of humans is cancer sores or mouth ulcers which form inside the mouth or underneath the lip. Generally, it persists for 7-10 days.

Studies revealed that treating it can speed up the healing process of mouth ulcers. At the same time, it can lower the pain.

Another 7-day study of over 180 people found that it can also reduce the size of mouth ulcers.

However, it failed to beat the orthodox ulcer treatment with corticosteroids.

Aloe for weight loss:

You may use it as a means to lose weight naturally. Britt Brandon is the author of ‘The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health’. According to him

“Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximize your weight loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes, and sterols, aloe vera ensure your diet is not only supportive of weight loss, but also improves the body’s absorption and utilization, improving overall health as well as weight loss success.”

Aloe for freshness:

As it helps to increase blood circulation in all the cells of the human body, therefore, it helps to nourish the cells. As a result, you will feel fresh.

What are the Skincare benefits of it?skin care benefits of aloevera

To begin with, it provides us with several benefits when we include our skincare regime. Only, we have to know how to maintain the beauty of our face using it.

In the first place, we can use it in many ways to maintain flawless skin. In fact, it may easily be an important skincare ingredient.

It works wonderfully to clean the skin as well as keep it hydrated.

You may wash your face with it for healthier and clearer skin.

Besides, it is very popular for its healing power against sunburn. Therefore, it may easily be an important part of our sunscreen cream.

Due to its multipurpose skincare power, of late many skincare lotions are using it as one of the principal ingredients. It is gaining popularity throughout the world. As a result, it may easily take place among the products of your daily skincare routine. You have to know the right order to use it as skincare products.

Aloe can accelerate the healing of burns:

It is a popular topical medication. Human generally applies it onto the skin to treat several dermatological problems. Generally, it is very effective to treat first and second-degree burns.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of America way back to 1959 first approved its ointment as an over-the-counter medicine to treat skin burns.

Furthermore, 4 experimental studies revealed that it can accelerate the healing process of burns compared to other conventional medicines.

It may improve skin and prevent wrinkles:

Preliminary evidence suggests that its gel may slow down the aging process of the skin.

A study regarding topical application of its gel over 30 women of 45 plus age for 90 days’ period showed an increase in collagen production and improvement of skin elasticity.

Another study revealed that it not only reduced erythema (redness of the skin) but also dehydrated the skin cells.

Besides, there is hardly any evidence regarding its successful implementation in the case of psoriasis and radiant dermatitis.

What are the uses of aloe Vera for skin?

Generally, we manufacture commercial products using its two substances. One is the clear gel and the other is the yellow latex. Using the gel, people make topical medications to treat several skin conditions like

  • Wounds
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin irritation.
  • Cracked heel.
  • Dry skin
  • Add moisturizer
  • Burns
  • Acne
  • Frostbite
  • Cold sores
  • Rashes
  • Eczema

Furthermore, we use the latex individually or as a manufactured product along with other ingredients to treat constipation or fix some other physical issues.

What are Aloe Vera’s benefits for hair?

It provides the following hair benefits.

At first, vitamins A, C, and E in it enhances cell turnover, healthy cell growth along with shiny hair.

Secondly, vitamins A, C, E, B-12, and folic acid can check hair fall. Therefore, it is helpful to fight the problem of hair loss.

Moreover, it calms an itchy scalp. A 1998 study revealed that it can treat scalp inflammation as well as dandruff due to its anti-inflammatory belongings.

Furthermore, it helps to improve the blood circulation on the scalp as we apply it on the scalp and hair. Therefore, it promotes hair growth.

Aloe Vera hair:

Using the raw gel of it is the most effective way to use it for hair. The benefits are

  • It deeply cleanses oily hair by removing excess sebum and residue due to other products.
  • Moreover, it efficiently cleanses the hair follicle and reduces dandruff.
  • Besides, it promotes hair growth.
  • It also serves as a wonderful conditioner and offers us smooth and shiny hair.
  • Further, it can calm an itchy scalp.
  • Added to this, it can strengthen hair strands.
  • Additionally, it can add volume to the hair.

What is Aloe Vera juice?

Indeed, it is a thick, gooey liquid that we get from the flesh of its leaves. This healthy elixir provides all of the above-mentioned benefits.

At first, people crush or grind the entire leaf. Then they purify and filter it through various processes. Finally, a mild, tolerable flavored juice is prepared for selling in the market.

Oral use of it may be a healthy eating habit.

In fact, aloe vera juice helps to clear toxins, which are as good as poison, from the human body. But, remember, like red wine, we will take it moderately.

How to use Aloe Vera juice as beauty hacks?

Apart from the above health and skin benefits, we may keep it handy for the following usage:

  • Makeup remover
  • Lightweight moisturizer
  • Makeup primer (apply before foundation)
  • Treat irritated scalp (with peppermint oil)
  • Sunburn soother

What are the side effects of drinking aloe Vera juice?

At first, decolorized (purified and low anthraquinone) and whole leaf juice are safe.

Secondly, nondecolorized and unpurified juice is not safe. It may cause diarrhea as well as cramping.

How to select aloe juice?

If you want to purchase the juice, then check the followings on the label

  • Organic
  • Purified
  • Safety tested
  • Decolorized
  • Date of manufacture
  • Seal from International Aloe Science Council.

How to store this juice?

Generally, store it in a cool, dark, not-too-humid place at room temperature or the refrigerator. Usually, manufacturers use amber-color bottles. The best way is to see the guidance of storage on the level.

How much sugar in aloe juice?

In fact, a 4-ounce serving provides no sugar. Additionally, it contains a few calories.

How much aloe juice should you use?

Indeed, the amount of it varies in different creams and gels. Lotions for minor burn have 0.5% of it while psoriasis may have 70% of it.

Similarly, oral dosages vary for different purposes. For constipation general use is 100-200 milligrams of its juice or 50 milligrams of its extract daily.

Diabetic patients may use 1 tablespoon of their gel.

However, you must remember that high oral doses of either gel or latex are very harmful. Therefore, it is better if you consult your doctor before use.

Aloe Vera DIY:

At first, we need to mix an equal amount of its gel and extra virgin coconut oil (extracted from superfood coconut). Then apply on hair and leave it as long as possible for smooth, bouncy, and strong hair.

Secondly, its gel, blended walnut, flour-like items, and honey may do well for acne.

Moreover, we can prepare a face mask using an equal amount of Aloe gel and mango pulp with lemon juice. (Also read uses of lemons to keep your house clean).

Besides, its gel and banana works as a moisturizer and brightening face mask.

Further, you can apply 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel and rosewater paste as a face mask to hydrate your skin. It works wonderfully for those who have dry skin. Here, you get both Aloe Vera and rosewater benefits.

You can also make a face mask

We also can make various DIY with the help of walnuts, cucumber, lemon, honey, rosewater, etc.  There are many more ways to use it topically.

What are the risks of using aloe Vera?

Researchers are time and again warning against its chronic use.

What are the Side Effects?

Some of its side effects are as follows:

  • The tropical application sometimes may cause skin irritation. Therefore, taste it locally before application.
  • If we take it orally, then the laxative effect may cause diarrhoea and cramping.
  • Moreover, there may occur electrolyte imbalances in the blood among them who consume it for some successive days.
  • It may also stain the human colon. Thus, it may cause a problem to view the colon during a colonoscopy. Therefore, stop using it at least one month before colonoscopy.
  • Another aspect you must confirm before using aloe gel topically or orally that it should be aloin-free. This aloin may irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

Who will not use it?

Be aware of these following risks involved in the usage of aloe Vera:

  • If you possess heart disease, colic, kidney problem, vomiting, electrolyte imbalances, haemorrhoids, weak muscle, renal disorder, diabetes or intestinal problems, then do not consume the aloe orally in any form.
  • Moreover, you will not use it topically to severe burns or deep cuts.
  • Furthermore, high doses of oral intake are always dangerous.
  • Besides, onions, garlic, tulips allergic people generally tend to be aloe allergic.

Interactions of aloe Vera:

People who are under medications will always consult the doctor before consuming it in any form.

Due to lack of evidence, children below 12 years, as well as pregnant women along with breastfeeding women, must not take it orally.

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Bottom Line:

I think, all the above information will help you a lot.

Since ancient times people use it as a skincare item. In fact, aloe Vera contains several health properties. It produces a very good result as ointments to treat some problems of skin and gums.

There are a lot of aloe Vera products available in various food stores, medicinal shops as well as online. The items include gel, ointment, supplements, oil, juice, and powder. Because this industry is increasing rapidly, therefore more studies are required regarding usage, quality, and quantity of the final products.

If you want to treat any problem using aloe Vera products, then consult a doctor at first.

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About the author

Banani Chakraborty

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