Aloe vera is a stalky succulent that has been used by many civilizations throughout history as an intestinal aid, skin protectant, cosmetic appliance, and more. Many may recognize this powerful plant by its triangular, fleshy leaves that are adorned with saw-toothed edges. When harvested and utilized correctly, aloe vera is an effective natural product that can be used to ease or cure a variety of ailments.
Becoming more acquainted with aloe vera, its many benefits, and knowing how to acquire it and use it safely can lead to natural relief and better health.
All About Aloe
There are an estimated 420 species in the Aloe genus. However, there is only one aloe vera, which provides the most potent results. Aloe vera’s botanical moniker is Aloe barbadensis miller, which may allow for easier identification. This plant has become a leading product in the botanical industry partially because it requires little care while providing substantial benefits.
Aloe Vera is employed in the medical field because it contains two particularly beneficial substances. Aloe gel and latex. The gel is sourced from the center of the leaf whereas Latex is found just beneath the skin of the leaf. Typically, aloe products will contain one or the other. However, products that are made by crushing the entire aloe leaf contain both gel and latex.
The most common use of aloe vera is a topical application to the skin. Typically, aloe gel is used to treat skin conditions such as burns, frost bite, psoriasis, itching, and cold sores.
In addition to topical applications, aloe gel is effective at treating osteoarthritis, bowel disease, fever, and inflammation. Digestion and gastrointestinal issues are also positively impacted by aloe vera. Typically, when dealing with intestinal strife, aloe is ingested rather than applied topically.
Part of the reason aloe vera is effective at treating such a broad range of conditions is because of the many vitamins and nutrients it contains. Some of the most impactful active components of aloe vera are:
- Powerful antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, and E
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- Minerals including calcium, zinc, selenium, chromium, magnesium, and potassium
- Anthraquinones that provide analgesic, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits
- Anti-inflammatory fatty acids
- Sugars in the form of glucose, fructose, and polysaccharides
Benefits of Aloe Vera
In addition to the nutritional benefits of this powerful succulent, there are specific conditions and areas of health that may be improved with the application or intake of aloe vera.
Topical applications of aloe can be hugely beneficial for a variety of skin conditions. The many vitamins and minerals coupled with the antibacterial and antifungal nature of aloe vera helps eliminate dandruff and support healthy skin and hair. Topical applications to the scalp aids in suppressing the itchiness and discomfort associated with dandruff and dying skin whereas direct application to burns and wounds can soothe pain and hasten recovery.
Digestion and Intestinal Health
Typically, aloe vera is taken orally to alleviate gastrointestinal issues. Anthraquinones found in latex are used to create a powerful laxative resulting in more intestinal water, greater secretion of mucus, and increased contractions that help break down food and churn partially digested foods and acid. These actions, in addition to alleviating intestinal stress, support better digestion. Aloe vera further supports digestion by regulating acid levels and pH balance, inhibiting yeast formation, promoting the growth of healthy digestive bacteria and improving bowel processing.
Some enzymes in aloe vera help break down proteins into amino acids which can be further utilized as fuel for every cell in the body. Enzymatic breakdown of dietary fuel improves absorption and energy production. These aspects of digestion can be easily overlooked. Fortunately, aloe vera provides the enzymes the body needs to effectively convert protein into usable energy.
Seeking Out Sources of Aloe
Aloe vera products are prevalent and can be found in most health food stores or even some grocery stores. There are a variety of forms to choose from including aloe gel, latex, juice, and extracts.
In addition to the acquiring aloe directly from the plant or in topical form, supplements such as Aloe 450 contain a healthy amount of aloe that provides quick intestinal relief without the use of synthetic laxatives or chemical agents. This aloe product produced by HoltraCeuticals’ provides the many benefits of aloe such as improved intestinal function, better digestion, constipation relief, and the bounty of vitamins and minerals typically found in aloe plants. The capsule form of aloe provided by Aloe 450 is an easy way to acquire the many digestive benefits of aloe vera.
The following recommendations are general guidelines for aloe use:
- Constipation: 100-200 milligrams of aloe vera ingested daily
- Dental plaque and gum disease: Brush with aloe toothpaste for 24 weeks
- High cholesterol: 300 milligrams of aloe vera in pill form taken twice daily for 60 days
- Irritable bowel syndrome: 100 milliliters of aloe vera taken twice daily for a month
- Wounds and skin infection: 0.5 percent aloe extract cream applied three times a day
Before using any aloe product, it is important to read the label carefully and follow the recommended dosage. Treating a specific condition with aloe should be discussed with a medical expert.
Potential Dangers and Concerns
Aloe latex can be dangerous if taken at high doses. Extended intake of high dose latex may result in diarrhea, stomach pains and cramps, kidney dysfunction, blood in urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss and heart issues. If any of these symptoms develop, seek medical assistance.
Aloe vera influences blood sugar levels. Therefore, those who require careful blood sugar regulation may want to avoid aloe vera. Because aloe is a bowel irritant, those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or hemorrhoids should avoid taking aloe vera. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take aloe vera as there is a potential risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Multiple medications may interact poorly with aloe vera. Those taking laxatives, blood thinners, blood sugar reducers, water pills, diabetes medications, or potassium influencers should speak with a doctor before supplementing with aloe vera.
The Power of Natural Products
Although, some may not believe in the powerful effects of natural herbs and remedies, their impact is notable and well-researched. Aloe vera provides numerous benefits to gastrointestinal function, digestion, and skin health. Applying aloe topically or safely ingesting aloe products can support greater intestinal wellness and improve many other areas of health as well.
If you are suffering from digestive unrest, skin issues, or looking for a source of powerful vitamins and minerals, consider trying aloe vera for yourself!