When people think of aloe vera, they usually associate it with sunburn healing abilities. However, there are many health and beauty benefits of aloe vera that extend past sunburn, and what most people don’t know, is that aloe vera can be consumed!
I’ve used aloe in my juices and smoothies for years (not every day, but maybe 3-4 times a month). The aloe vera leaf is filled with a jelly-like substance, and that is the stuff you put into your juices and smoothies (I recommend around 2-3 tbsp. per serving).
Aloe vera is actually incredibly high in vitamins A, C, E and B (B1, B2, B3, B6 and folic acid), and is one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. It is also loaded with minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, copper, potassium and manganese!
With that being said, here are the top 10 health and beauty benefits of aloe vera!
1. Immune Booster
A healthy immune system will significantly improve the state of your health. Vitamins A, C and E, are important antioxidant vitamins found in aloe, all which positively influence the immune system. Polysaccharides in aloe vera juice stimulate macrophages, which are white blood cells of your immune system and help fight off viruses. Aloe vera’s immune protection action works by modulating DNA-damage-activated signal transduction pathways. The anti-inflammatories found in aloe also help slow the inflammatory cascade and thus slow the progression of disease and illness.
2. Great for the Skin
Aloe vera’s healing properties have been applied to the skin for centuries. It has been well-documented in the healing of wounds, and can be applied topically to burns, abrasions, psoriasis and rashes. It acts as an astringent, making body tissues contract and thus helps reduce bleeding from minor injuries. It is also an analgesic, acting to relieve pain of wounds.
Aloe increases the elasticity of the skin as well, encouraging collagen and elastin repair, which makes the skin look younger and smoother. It helps supply oxygen to the cells of our skin, and increases the strength and synthesis of skin tissue.
3. Alkalizes the Body
Highly alkaline, aloe vera is a great method to ward off any kind of disease or illness. When the body is alkaline (opposed to acidic), disease has a very hard time manifesting itself. Aloe vera is an alkaline-forming food, and helps balance out the acidity from those consuming a standard diet high in animal products and over-processed foods.
4. Digestive Health
Taking care of your digestive tract is the key to good health, mainly because this is where our immune system starts. The enzymes in aloe vera like amylase and lipase, help aid digestion and break down starches, sugars, and fats. Because aloe vera is an adaptogen, it helps regulate your bowel movements and will relieve constipation or diarrhea, depending on what you are dealing with. It has proven itself as a great remedy for those suffering from IBS and acid reflux and helps balance intestinal flora.
Aloe vera has been recognized throughout history for its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens improve the health of your adrenal system (the system that helps manage your body’s hormonal response to stress). As an adaptogen, aloe vera helps the body adapt, stimulating the body’s defence system and allowing it to better cope and deal with stress (whether physical, emotional, or environmental).
6. Weight Loss
Because of aloe vera’s high vitamin and mineral content, it is a great way to satiate your body and get rid of never-ending hunger signals. When our brain receives the nutrients it needs, it stops sending hunger signals to the stomach. Aloe vera is also great for the digestive tract (as described above), and a healthy digestive tract is key if you are seeking to get rid of those extra pounds. The better your body is at eliminating excess toxins, the more you will lose, and the more energy you will have.
7. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is something most people deal with on a day-to-day basis, so including plant-based foods that contain anti-inflammatories is important to receive natural pain relief. Bradykinase, an enzyme in aloe vera helps reduce skin inflammation and thus eases issues such as dermatitis, acne, psoriasis and rashes. It also contains the fatty acid, salicylic acid, which is metabolized in the body to an aspirin-like compound, and provides it with pain-killing properties.
8. Cardiovascular Health
Who knew this incredible plant was also great for the heart as well? Beta sitosterols in aloe vera help lower cholesterol, and severals clinical trials in humans have shown aloe vera gel to possess blood-glucose lowering effects. It contains a decent amount of copper and iron too, both which help in the transport and processing of oxygen in the blood. Vitamin E in aloe also helps the body utilize oxygen, prevents blood clots, thrombosis and atherosclerosis. These combined effects help lower the risk of heart disease.
9. Hair Growth
Aloe vera works wonders for the hair. Whether you eat it, or use it as a hair mask, it will make your hair happy, healthy, and strong. It contains 19 of the 20 required amino acids, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals to support healthy hair growth. The proteolytic enzymes in aloe vera also help get rid of dead skin cells on the scalp, while its alkalizing properties balance the pH level of the scalp and hair for better growth and higher moisture retaining abilities.
10. Maintains Good Oral Health
Aloe vera is an anti-bacterial and anti-viral, containing active ingredients like sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol, all of which help prevent the growth of bad-breath causing bacteria, as well as bacteria that contribute to ill-health of the teeth. A variety of studies have found aloe vera to be a safe, alternative treatment for those suffering from gingivitis, periodontitis, oral lichen planus (OLP), oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), and recurrent aphthous stomatitis.
Aloe Vera Dosage
Just like all plant medicines, it is important to not over-dose on aloe vera. Taking it every day is not necessary. Once or twice a week is really all you need, and around 2-3 tbsp. at a time.