Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
When you’re done reading this, you will be running out to your nearest nursery to purchase an aloe vera plant, and for good reason! Aloe vera is one of the few herbs or supplements that offers multiple benefits. It is an antiobiotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal. It has been referred to by some as a “miracle plant” due to the many health benefits it provides[i].
It’s been around for ages – literally. One of the first recorded accounts of Aloe is found in records from Pedanius Dioscorides who was a physician in the Roman army, a Greek Herbalist, and considered a master of Roman pharmacology around 41 A.D to 68 A.D. His records were widely used for over 1,500 years[ii].
Popularity is growing with this diverse herb because consumers are looking for holistic methods to resolve minor health issues, rather than always relying on a pill to do the job. Aloe vera is the subject of frequent research and known to be effective with specific health conditions, even among some conventional healthcare practitioners.
Why is aloe vera good for your health?
The anti-bacterial properties of aloe vera are known to fight against at least a dozen different kinds of bacteria, including pneumonia-causing bacteria. It also inhibits the Candida albican fungus responsible for most yeast infections and thought to be a contributor in the development of some autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis[iii].
This incredible substance also contains tons of nutrients, including A, C, E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, to name just a few.
Helps Support the Immune System
- It supports the immune system by helping the liver cleanse the blood of toxins.
- It supports the digestive system and colon by helping with the body’s natural detoxification processes.
- It improves absorption and bio-availability of vitamins and minerals that support the immune system.
- It helps soothe the tissues and lining of the digestive track (where over 70% of the immune system resides.
- And studies have shown that in high-concentrations it can stimulate the production of white blood cells that help fight viruses and tumors[iv].
Helps Lower Cholesterol
It is the anti-oxidant properties of aloe vera that may help lower cholesterol when taken orally for at least 12 weeks[i]. Research shows that aloe vera helps lower “bad” cholesterol by lowering the production of cholesterol in the liver[ii] and helps increase “good” cholesterol by minimizing the oxidation of fats in the bloodstream[iii]. It also contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that help metabolize bad fats.
[iii] NCBI Pub Med.gov (Toykyo – 2003) “Efficacy of Dietary Aloe Vera Supplementation on Hepatic Cholesterol and Oxidative Status in Aged Rats.”
Helps With Digestion and Constipation
Aloe vera has naturally healing properties for digestion and the GI tract which comes from the large variety of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it contains, which are known to aid in the elimination process by encouraging intestinal motility and soothing the intestinal tract lining.
Helps Reduce Inflammation.
All inflammation is a response to some type of injury, but that injury can be internal and caused by things like stress, high blood pressure (injury to the linings of arteries) or dysbiosis (poor digestion and absorption in the intestines).
Herbal anti-inflammatories like aloe vera, help to minimize inflammation by reducing the presence of molecules that stimulate inflammation like cytokines, eicosanoids and pro-inflammatory enzymes[i].
Reducing inflammation is a key step in restoring health and it usually begins by healing the gut, a key health benefit of aloe vera. Anytime inflammation can be reduced or eliminated, gives the body a chance to change the pro-inflammatory cascade in our cells, which then creates the opportunity for healing elsewhere in the body.
Helps Hair Growth.
Aloe contains 75 known nutrients and enzymes, many of which are beneficial to hair growth, health of hair and scalp, and correcting hair and scalp conditions that will promote healthy hair growth. Enzymes help remove dead skin cells on the scalp that can clog hair follicles, preventing nutrients from penetrating the hair. Also, the gel-like substance of the aloe leaf contains a chemical composition similar to keratin which helps condition and smooth the hair.
Did you know that there are approximately 20 amino acids in aloe vera which serve as the building blocks of all human tissues, including the hair and scalp? These nutrients add both strength and shine to the hair[ii].
Be aware when purchasing hair products that contain aloe vera, that they may or may not contain the active ingredients needed to give you the full benefit normally derived from using aloe vera. Many of the active ingredients are stripped away in the manufacturing process.
Helps With Burns, Scars and Acne
Researchers believe that the effective component for wound healing is tannic acid (a plant polyphenol), that creates a positive environment for tissues to heal.
For burns, scars or acne, apply aloe vera topically by cutting a 1 to 2” section of a single leaf and squeezing the gel contents of the leaf directly onto the area of the skin that requires treatment. Re-apply frequently.
How the aloe vera is harvested and manufactured determines the products effectiveness with respect to the aloe ingredient. Many of the above-mentioned products are found to contain very little active ingredients from the aloe vera plant because the manufacturing process strips away key enzymes.
Get some aloe vera growing in your garden right away, so you can take advantage of the many benefits this incredible herb offers!
Wishing your good health and happiness!
Note: This information is provided as a resource and for educational purposes only. These recommendations are not intended as a substitute for consulting a physician or licensed healthcare practitioner. Individuals dealing with a serious or chronic health issue should consult with your doctor before beginning a nutritional program, taking supplements, discontinuing medications or eliminating foods from your daily diet. This information is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor or to diagnose any health condition.
[i.] Haas, E., M.D. (2006). Staying Healthy With Nutrition. Random House: NY
[ii.] www.simplyorganicbeauty.com (2015). “5 Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair”.Haas, E., M.D. (2006). Staying Healthy With Nutrition. Random House: NY
[iii.] www.greekmedicine.net (2007-2015) “Dioscorides – Master Herbalist, Father of Pharmacy”.
[iv.] Boroch, A. (revised 2014). The Candida Cure. Quintessential Healing Publishing, Inc.: NY
[v.] www.herbwisdom.com (2016). “Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis)”
[vi.] www.naturalhealthadvisory.com (2016). “6 Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice for Your Heart”.
[vii.] www.naturalhealthadvisory.com (2016). “6 Benefits of Aloe Vera juice for Your Heart”.
[viii.] NCBI Pub Med.gov (Toykyo – 2003) “Efficacy of Dietary Aloe Vera Supplementation on Hepatic Cholesterol and Oxidative Status in Aged Rats.”