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About the Aloe Vera Plant Uses, Benefits, Risks
A succulent that originated from the Arabian Peninsula, the aloe vera plant uses provides many benefits. It is an evergreen plant that grows in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates. But research shows that aloe vera plants survive in many regions around the world.
Though considered an invasive plant by some, it’s been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. It can be processed as cream or gel to extract its benefits. But you can get the best out of it directly from the plant’s leaves. And with little to no actual processing.
With many known uses, the aloe vera plant provides many benefits. However, it also carries some risks. In this blog, we’ll know how to use the plant properly to take advantage of its benefits and avoid risks.
Aloe Vera Benefits
1. Contains healthful compounds
Aloe vera grows thick, pointed, and fleshy green leaves that often reach at least12–19 inches. Inside these thick green leaves you’ll find the most potent form of aloe gel.Each leaf has mucus-like tissue that holds water, making the leaves thick and sturdy. This watery tissue is similar to aloe gel products that people use to create many products.
When extracted this gel provides the plant’s bioactive compounds, like:
- Amino acids
Aloe is used by cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries extensively, with an estimated annual market value of $13 billion globally.
2. Aloe Vera has antioxidant and antibacterial properties
Aloe vera has antioxidants, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties beneficial to human health. In fact, its antioxidants are one of the most powerful antioxidants found in polyphenols. Polyphenols and other compounds prevent bacterial growth that can cause infections.
3. Speed up wound recovery, Aloe Vera Plant Uses We Benefit From
Did you know that aloe vera is commonly used as a topical medicine? People have been using the plant for treating skin problems like burns and sores for ages. According to United States Pharmacopeia, rubbing aloe vera on the skin dates back to early 1810–1820.
A clinical review found that the aloe plant is effective in speeding up the recovery time of second-degree burns. Its antiseptic properties also help heal redness and itching and prevent infections.
4. Treats gum problems
Aloe vera juice helps solve gum problems and other dental issues like tooth decay and bad breath. A study shows that pure aloe juice is comparable (but safer) to chlorhexidine, a mouthwash ingredient. The plant’s extracts can minimize the buildup of plaque and bacterial biofilms like streptococcus mutans and candida albicans which can cause dental diseases.
Mouth ulcers that grow underneath the lip or inside and outside of the mouth can result in weeks of excruciating pain. Treating such problems with aloe vera can accelerate healing time and stop recurrence. The sap from the plant’s leaves can also reduce the size and pain of the ulcer.
5. Aloe vera relieves constipation
Another helpful benefit of the aloe plant is relieving constipation. Latex is the sticky yellow sediments under and between its leaf. This compound has a very strong laxative called aloin used for treating constipation. However, the effect is limited to constipation and not to other bowel conditions, such as IBD and IBS.
Medical studies also recommend aloe cream for treating anal fissures. Rubbing the cream on the affected area multiple times a day promotes healing. Some people apply aloe cream three times a day for about six weeks.
6. Improve skin complexion
In cosmetology, the aloe plant is a primary ingredient in most skincare and cosmetic products. The plant is known to be skin-friendly and doesn’t trigger allergies and other skin reactions.
Preliminary evidence also proves that consuming aloe gel can slow skin aging. In a study, females over 45 who took oral aloe gels increased their bodies’ natural collagen production in just 90 days!
The study even proposes aloe vera effectively retaining skin moisture, elasticity, and integrity. It’s no surprise that many after-sun products have aloe vera ingredients. The aloe sap’s moisturizing effect can help alleviate skin problems, namely dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
7. Helps regulate blood sugar levels
In oriental medicine, aloe vera is sometimes used as a remedy for high sugar levels. It is believed that the plant can help promote insulin sensitivity in the body and improve blood sugar levels. Eight studies found that the plant could help people with type 2 diabetes due to its effects on glycemic control. Although it is not scientifically proven, the result is promising.
Risks and Recommendations
While the US FDA doesn’t regulate aloe products, you still need to be vigilant for your safety. Consider consulting a trusted physician before using any products or upon noticing some unusual reactions. When you experience rash and itching after applying an aloe plant or product, stop immediately!
Over-applying aloe vera on a wound can disrupt the skin’s natural healing ability, especially on deeper wounds. Other possible side effects include:
- kidney issues
- stomach pain or cramps
- can interact with other medications
What Uses for the Aloe Vera Plant Have You Tried?
Aloe plants are easy to plant, care for, and process. Along with its many benefits are potential risks. However, for most people, using them is generally safe. Consult your doctor or another health professional to understand the right uses for the aloe vera plant.