The aloe vera plant has a long history as a medicinal plant. The earliest record of its use comes from the Egyptians. In fact, Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their regular beauty regimes. This healing plant continued to be used throughout the ages effectively as a healing skin balm. In the time of Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus it was used it to treat soldiers’ wounds.[1]

Who hasn’t met someone who keeps an aloe vera plant in their kitchen? It is often reached for to treat minor burns and scrapes. If there is one plant that we recognize as having healing powers, it’s the aloe vera plant.

Just to clarify, there are two parts of the aloe plant that are commonly used: aloe gel and aloe latex. In this article we are looking at the benefits of the gel only. Some people are allergic to latex, and the safety of the long-term use of aloe latex has not been proven, and it may lead to possible side effects including kidney problems and liver damage.

Importantly, it is the gel that contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant—vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Below are six proven health benefits of aloe vera gel.

Helps to boost the immune system

Aloe vera gel contains high levels of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that fight free radical damage.[2] It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that reduce the risk of infection and, when combined with its anti-oxidant capabilities, work to effectively boost the immune system.

Aloe vera also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E; minerals, including traces of magnesium and zinc; and 18 amino acids.

Treats mouth ulcers and reduces dental plaque

Not everyone is aware that aloe vera is a very effective aid for promoting dental health. One study clearly demonstrated this showing that an aloe vera mouth rinse actively reduced plaque. [3] The antibacterial and antifungal properties destroy oral bacteria like Candida albicans and Streptococcus mutans that cause plaque.

Canker sores and mouth ulcers respond very well to an aloe vera mouth rinse or direct application of aloe vera gel.

Natural treatment for diabetes

Early trials indicate that aloe vera can positively affect insulin and blood sugar levels in diabetics. In one trial 72 diabetic women were administered one tablespoon of aloe vera gel or a placebo for six weeks. Blood glucose and serum triglyceride levels were significantly decreased with aloe vera treatment. [4]  This is certainly promising for the use of aloe vera as a natural treatment for diabetes.

Aids digestion

Aloe vera gel is soothing and healing to the lining of the digestive tract. Its calmative action enhances digestion and actively promotes healing of ulcers. Thanks to its antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions, it promotes a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Helps to heal burn wounds

Perhaps most famous for its skin healing properties, aloe vera gel is indeed an effective treatment for skin irritations and, more significantly, first and second degree burn wounds. Many studies confirm the ability of aloe vera gel to successfully treat burns, and it is also useful as an effective treatment for sunburn. [5] [6]

Improves skin elasticity

Taking aloe vera gel internally has been shown to improve the formation of collagen and skin elasticity, an exciting development in the anti-aging world. In one study with 30 women over the age of 45, oral ingestion of the gel was shown to increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity over a 90-day period.[7]

The aloe vera plant deserves its reputation as a healing, medicinal plant. It provides an effective, safe and natural solution to over-the-counter medication for many health issues. At Mindfully Nourished we love natural solutions and aloe vera gel is definitely one to add to your natural medicine cabinet.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3729540/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006208/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92765/#ch3_r81

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7561562

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17499928

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883372/

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