Hello and welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays! Today we’re going to be looking at some of the possible benefits of using aloe vera.
Some common names for aloe include: Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant, Elephant’s Gall, Wand of Heaven and Miracle Plant. Did you know that there are over 450 different species of aloe ? Aloe has been around for thousands of years and was even presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs as it was referred to as the “plant of immortality“.
Aloe vera is just one of the many species of aloe that can be found in tropical climates around the world. Each leaf has spiky thorns that run along the sides. On the inside of the leaf there is a thick, clear, slimy gel that is bitter in taste. The leaf is filled with at least 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 200 active enzymes. Some people even call it a superfood.
It is used topically and orally and can be found in many consumer products such as: beverages, skin lotions, cosmetics and some skin ointments.
Here is a list of some of the suggested benefits of using the gel.
- Good moisturizer
- Detoxifying the body
- Relieves indigestion and upset stomach
- Strengthen the digestive tract
- Alleviates joint inflammation
- Reduces dental plaque
- Helps treat mouth ulcers
- Treatment of acne
- Treatment of minor burns
- Treatment of itchy skin and mouth
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Reduces constipation
- Air purification
- Increases your ability to cope with stress
- May improve appearance of skin
- Alkalizes the body
- Lower cholesterol
Some possible side effects:
The aloe latex (the yellow juice near the rind) is where most of the danger lies. However, substances in the gel itself can also be harmful to some people. Let’s take a look.
- Contact dermatitis has been known to affect some individuals so please exercise caution. Test a small area of the skin, such as the inner forearm, for any reaction.
- Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid taking it orally.
- Some people might experience stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea.
- Some research suggests that aloe vera might lower blood sugar. Any diabetics using it orally should check their blood sugar levels closely.
- Persons suffering from any of these intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or obstruction should avoid taking aloe orally.
- Anyone suffering from hemorrhoids is advised not to consume aloe as it could make the condition worse.
- Kidney failure and other serious conditions have been linked to consuming high doses of aloe.
How I use my aloe
There are a variety of aloe products on the market. I am fortunate to have a plant so I use fresh aloe when possible. I have the Aloe vera species which I use on my skin as a cleanser and sometimes as part of a facial scrub mixed with a little sugar from time to time.
I also use it as a detox by adding a small amount of aloe gel into a large jug of water. I drink the water daily for about 1 week then stop. The taste of aloe will take some getting used to but I think the possible benefits outweigh the taste. Thus far, I have no complaints.
Please note, that not all aloe species are edible and are just really good low maintenance plants that you could use to decorate your living space. Aloe vera or Barbadensis-miller is well established as the best Aloe species, for both topical and internal consumption. So be sure to identify what you have or research what you’re buying before attempting to use it.
Always do your research. Always consult your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use or wish to use.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 Have a great weekend!