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The Benefits Of Aloe Vera

There are multiple benefits of aloe vera. And many of these benefits are backed up by scientific evidence. So there are plenty of reasons to add aloe vera gel to your non toxic living routine.

There are multiple benefits of aloe vera. And many of these benefits are backed up by scientific evidence. So there are plenty of reasons to add aloe vera gel to your non toxic living routine.

Aloe Vera belongs to the lily family and is related to onion, garlic and asparagus. It’s been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of different ailments.

Back in the day, and I mean waaay back, I had a beautiful, big aloe vera plant. I managed to keep it alive and thriving for over 10 years.

And that’s quite a feat, because although I’ve had great success with outdoor gardening, my houseplants always die. Either I forget to water them or water them too much, or they get too much sun or not enough. But I digress.

The point is, I used that plant all the time. I harvested the gel as a moisturizer and astringent, to soothe sunburn and other burns, and to ease the itch of bug bites.

Aloe gel is still an important part of my non toxic skin care routine. But, according to Google, there are a lot more benefits of aloe vera.

And, while research validates many of these uses, some of the suggested benefits aren’t backed by much evidence. At least not yet.

Based on the research I’ve read, I’ve come up with a list of the benefits of aloe vera that are backed by scientific evidence. But first, a little about this remarkable plant.

The Aloe Plant

The leaf of an aloe plant consists of a hard outer rind, followed by a thin sap (latex) layer and a mucilage layer below the rind and the inner aloe gel. The sap contains high levels of anthraquinones like aloin, that are laxatives.

The mucilage layer is very high in mono and polysaccharides and acts as a barrier that keeps the inner gel very sterile. The transparent gel, also known as parenchyma, is where the leaf stores all its nutrients.

These inner two layers of the Aloe vera leaf contain about 98% water. And about 75 different biologically active components that have been identified.

And the benefits of aloe vera are a result of these components, listed in the table below.

Vitamins

Aloe vera contains many vitamins, including the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E. Plus, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, choline, folic acid, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene. A. vera is also one of the few plants that contain vitamin B12.

Amino Acids

Aloe vera provides 19 of the 20 amino acids your body needs for good health and seven of the eight essential ones. Essential amino acids are the ones your body can’t make. You need to get them from food.

Enzymes

Aloe vera contains many enzymes, which can be divided into two groups, those that aid digestion and those that are anti-inflammatory. Of the ones that aid digestion some, like amylase, break down starch and sugar, while others, like lipase, help break down fats. Bradykinase is an Aloe vera enzyme that reduces skin inflammation. 

Minerals

Minerals make up 16% of aloe gel. They include that potassium, chloride, sodium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium and iron.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is broken down in your body to an aspirin-like compound which, together with lupeol, provide some of aloe's painkilling properties. Salicylic acid helps to relieve inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandins.

Sterols

β-Sitosterol and lupeol are anti-inflammatory sterols. Campesterol and  cholesterol are antiseptic.

Sugars

Aloe vera gel contains two types of sugars. 17% are monosaccharides like glucose and fructose and 55% are long chain sugars called polysaccharides. 

The main polysaccharide is Acemannan. Acemannan accelerates wound healing, modulates immune function, and is also said to have antineoplastic and antiviral effects.

Also in aloe is Glucomannan, an emollient polysaccharide that is a good moisturizer and used in many cosmetic products. And  Magnesium lactate helps reduce itching by blocking histamine production.

The Benefits Of Aloe Vera Based On The Evidence

A 2017 review of studies conducted on the benefits of aloe vera concluded that
“Aloe possesses numerous activities including, anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, antiulcer and antidiabetic."

Some researchers attribute many of the benefits of aloe vera to it's polysaccharides. But increasing evidence suggests that the synergistic action of the compounds contained in aloe is responsible for the multiple and diverse beneficial properties of the plant.

In other words, the benefits of aloe vera are more than the sum of its parts. They include benefits to your skin, teeth and gums and overall health.

The Skin Care Benefits Of Aloe Vera

There are so many ways you can use aloe vera to benefit your skin. And from the perspective of non toxic living, that means you can avoid the toxic chemicals found in so many skin care products.

Just be sure to use a good quality, 100% pure, stabilized aloe. That way you'll avoid the chemical solvents and thickeners used by some companies in their aloe gel.

Treats Skin Issues

Aloe's antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin from bacteria and other pathogens which lead to infection and inflammation. 

It contains substances – gibberellins and polysaccharides – that stimulate the growth of new cells, while glycoproteins reduce inflammation and redness. The plant’s antioxidant properties work synergistically with the anti-inflammatory components to speed up wound healing.

So it's great for treating acne, skin inflammation, bug bites, sun burn and other wounds.

          To Use – apply aloe vera gel to affected area. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, or overnight, then gently rinse off with water the next morning. Apply gel to skin to soothe sunburn pain.

Tones Your Skin

As an astringent and toner, Aloe Vera reduces pore size, which helps keep out excess sebum, dirt, and microbes. This helps keep your skin smooth and pimple free.

          To use – Apply aloe gel with a cotton pad or use in homemade face toners. Find easy recipes here.

Moisturizes Your Skin

Aloe is a great moisturizer for all skin types. But it is especially beneficial for oily skin.

It doesn’t leave a greasy film on your face and it softens your skin without clogging pores. It also absorbs quickly without leaving any residue.

Because it absorbs into skin rather than just sitting on top of it, like many other moisturizers do, it plumps and firms from the inside.

             To Use - apply a dollop of aloe gel after skin cleansing. Massage into skin. Can be used as both a face and body moisturizer.

Aloe and Rose Water Face Moisturizer – for normal and dry skin

In a small bowl blend first 2 ingredients. In another bowl or pan melt beeswax and lanolin. Mix in aloe and jojoba while continually stirring. Add rose water and mix well.

Other Possible Benefits

The National Institutes of Health says aloe vera is “possibly effective” for several other skin ailments, including cold sores, psoriasis and eczema.

And, although I didn't find any studies to support this - aloe gel is thought to have anti-aging properties. It may slow down the appearance of wrinkles and actively repair dark spots.

The Oral Care Benefits Of Aloe Vera

A lot of research during the past decade has focused on the benefits of aloe for your teeth and gums. The evidence suggests that the active components of Aloe vera gel like aloe-emodin, aloemannan, acemannan, aloeride, naftoquinones, flavonoids, saponins, sterols, amino acids and vitamins are very beneficial to your oral health.

For example, you can use Aloe vera to treat and prevent a variety of dental problems.

  • It treats gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums.
  • It controls bacteria that causes cavities.
  • It is a powerful antiseptic in pockets where normal cleaning is difficult.
  • Its antifungal properties help greatly with bacterial infections from dentures and mouth ulcers.
  • It's a safe alternative treatment for patients with oral lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory condition that affects mucous membranes inside your mouth. 

          To Use Aloe For Oral Health 

Aloe Gel - appy directly to your gums or your toothbrush to treat dental problems.

Aloe mouthwash and aloe tooth gel - can be used twice a day to treat gingivitis and other dental problems and control bacteria that causes cavities.

The Possible Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera

There's little doubt that aloe benefits your skin, teeth and gums. But, does drinking aloe vera have any health benefits?

Aloe vera juice provides a fantastically rich cocktail of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and antioxidant components like flavonoids and phenols. And, in addition to its own stores of antioxidants, Aloe may also activate your body’s own antioxidant enzyme system.

So it makes sense that drinking aloe vera would benefit your overall health. A typical dose is one – three ounces (2 – 6 tablespoons per day) or 15-60 drops of aloe tincture. Start with small amounts to make sure you’re not allergic to aloe.

But the internet is full of claims about dozens of specific health benefits. Drinking aloe gel is used for weight loss, diabetes, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel diseases including ulcerative colitis, osteoarthritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, asthma, radiation-related mucositis and fever.

And there’s limited or inconsistent evidence to support many of the claims. There is, however, increasing evidence that aloe may be useful for treating diabetes, strengthening your immune system, reducing inflammation and protecting your liver.

Keep in mind though, that the amount of aloe you need to drink to achieve specific health goals is unclear.

Benefits For Diabetes

Researchers have found that Aloe plant polysaccharides have the potential to control blood sugar, and lower glucose and triglycoside levels in diabetic patients. Aloe vera juice also enhances the absorption of nutrients and maintains the sugar balance in blood by improving digestive functioning.

Aloe also may help prevent diabetes. Some studies reported that Aloe vera gel reduced body weight, body fat mass, fasting blood glucose, fasting serum insulin and insulin resistance in obese prediabetes and early nontreated diabetic patients.

Plus, diabetics have decreased antioxidant defense capability with lower levels of specific antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Aloe’s antioxidants and ability to stimulate your body’s own antioxidant production would help keep the inflammation commonly associated with metabolic disorders in check.

Benefits Your Immune System

Aloe vera gel benefits your immune system in a couple of ways. The enzymes present in the plant stimulant your immune system and its polysaccharides feed your immune system.

And aloe gel contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids like cholesterol and campesterol, which helps with a variety of immune system diseases. And then there’s all those antioxidants that fight off the free radicals that negatively impact immunity.

Reduces Inflammation

There’s also some evidence that drinking aloe gel can reduce inflammation in your body. Aloe contains plant sterols that are important anti-inflammatory agents.

Aloe also contains fatty acids like cholesterol and campesterol, salicylic acid and hormones called auxins and gibberellins, all of which can reverse inflammation. These anti-inflammatories work most often by stimulating your immune system, collagen growth, or by blocking the paths of imflammation.

Benefits Your Liver

Your liver is the main way your body breaks down toxins. And it’s also very susceptible to damage from the toxic chemicals it encounters.

The most common damage includes liver inflammation and fat deposits on the liver (a fatty liver). Some studies have reported that aloe gel reduces liver inflammation a couple of ways.

It suppresses inflammatory responses by reducing levels of proinflammatory cytokines (initiate inflammatory responses) and enhancing anti-inflammatory cytokines (act to reduce inflammation) in the liver. Also, because of its antioxidant activity, it scavenges free radicals that can cause liver inflammation.

Aloe may protect you from a fatty liver because the phytosterols it contains, namely lophenol and cycloartanol, can affect fatty acid metabolism. Studies have found that aloe can suppress the genes that make fat in the liver (fatty acid synthesis) and increase the break down of fat (fatty acid oxidation).

Because of these benefits, researchers believe that the aloe plant possesses potential liver protective properties and has therapeutic potential for the treatment of liver diseases.


Bottom Line

The benefits of aloe vera include skin and oral care and as an overall health tonic. Using aloe instead of toxic skin care and dental care productsalso  reduces your exposure to toxic chemicals. In my opinion, that’s the biggest benefit of aloe vera.

Plus, there’s also some evidence that it helps in the treatment of diabetes, improves your immune system, reduces internal inflammation and protects your liver.

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