Aloe Vera or Aloe is a word known in most households today. Why has is become so popular? This amazing plant has the ability to do so many amazing things.
It is used as an antibacterial to treat small cuts or scrapes, as a cooling moisturizer for sun burns, as a treatment for upset stomach and acid reflux, and even as a food source that can be linked to weight loss.
With such a wide range of uses it is no surprise that it has a place in so many households.
Let’s take a deeper look into what Aloe Vera is, and how its use can benefit us on so many levels.
The Aloe Vera Plant
First and foremost, Aloe Vera (or Aloe Barbadensis) is a plant, making it a beautiful addition to any home or garden. The plant is similar to cacti, in that it typically grows in hot and dry climates. It has long thick leaves that have small spines along the edges.
However, unlike cacti, these spines are harmless. The leaves of the Aloe Vera plant are waxy on the outside, and contain a clear gel like substance. The roots of the Aloe Vera plant are vital in the supply of nutrients the Aloe Vera has to share.
A symbiotic relationship between the roots and a fungus known as arbuscular mycorrhizal allows for the flow of even more nutrients from the soil to flow into the plant.
Basically, these fungi act like little funnels into the roots of the plant, taking all of the nutrients from the soil in large quantities and funneling them into the roots of the Aloe Vera plant.
The presence of the Aloe Vera plant has been traced back thousands of years to ancient Egypt. It has even been traced back to a war started by Alexander the Great. When he had heard of Aloe Vera’s amazing healing properties he sent his troops to take control of the Aloe plants local to Somalia.
Today, the Aloe Vera plant is responsible for one of the biggest agricultural industries in the world. It is harvested for two substances, its nutrient rich clear gel, and yellow latex which is found in a yellow liquid layer between the waxy leaf and the clear gel inside.
In addition to being harvested for the gel and latex. Aloe Vera is also being seen today as a superfood. Many people have turned to drinking Aloe Vera Juice, or eating Aloe Vera in salads.
Uses For Aloe Vera
The most common form of Aloe Vera is a gel. Bottles of Aloe Vera gel can be found in almost any grocery or department store. As stated above, Aloe Vera contains a CLEAR gel.
While you may be able to find some natural Aloe Vera gels, note that many of the bottles on the shelf are green. This is simply due to the addition of green dyes, and it does not make the gel any less beneficial.
Aloe Vera gel as a multitude of uses. One of the most common uses is to treat sun burn. It is great for this purpose due to its large number of vitamins and minerals that it helps introduce back to the damaged skin, as well as its antiseptic properties that help keep your damaged skin clean and safe from infection.
Its antiseptic properties also make it ideal for treating cuts and scrapes.
Its new view as a superfood has added a new list of uses to the plants repertoire. Because of its vitamins, minerals, and antiseptic properties, Aloe Vera is great at cleansing and detoxifying your body.
Aloe Vera is also known to be a very alkaline substance, making it good for settling upset stomachs and acid reflux. The plant itself also has laxative properties that can help with constipation and gastro-intestinal discomfort.
The list of uses for Aloe Vera is endless. There are continuous studies of how Aloe Vera may even help prevent cancer, provide relief from chemotherapy, provide a new form of mouth antiseptic, help stabilize blood sugar in patients with diabetes, and even help lower high cholesterol.
Nutritional Benefits Of Aloe Vera
With Aloe Vera being seen as a new superfood, it’s important to understand the nutritional facts about Aloe Vera. We know that Aloe Vera is a pro at pulling important vitamins and minerals from the soil.
Some of the vitamins found in Aloe Vera include Vitamin B (really B1, B2, B3 and B6), Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. The benefits of the vitamins include clearer healthy skin, boosted immune systems, and lower risk for anemia.
Some of the minerals found in Aloe Vera include sodium, magnesium, iron, calcium, chromium, potassium, and chlorine. These minerals are important in bone and muscle health, as well as kidney function and hydration.
Aloe Vera is also rich in amino acids like lysine which works with your kidneys to help promote absorption of good minerals and the detoxification of the body. Other amino acids found in Aloe Vera include valine, cysteine, proline, and many more.
Aloe Vera also contains multiple sugars and carbohydrates that can help to balance blood sugar levels. Some of the saccharides present in Aloe Vera include glucose, cellulose, and galactose.
Anthraquinones are present in Aloe Vera and are responsible for the laxative effects that the plant has. Some examples of Anthraquinones present in Aloe Vera include cinnamic acid, aloin, ethereal oil, and isobarbaloi.
Aloe Vera juice is a low-fat hydrating drink that provides carbohydrates and sugars for energy. It also provides all of the vitamins and minerals listed above that are important to maintaining a healthy body.
In some countries, Aloe Vera is used in commercial food products, which means that it is pretty safe to consume in almost any dose. If you are looking to consume Aloe Vera to treat a particular chronic issue or symptom, it is safe to drink 2-3 glasses of Aloe Vera juice per day. That should help you get the results you are looking for.
Once you start to see results, it is advised that you cut back on the amount of Aloe Vera you consume. Keep in mind that Aloe Vera contains laxatives, and the use of laxatives over a long period of time is not a safe practice.
Drinking Aloe Vera juice regularly for a year or more could potentially increase your risk for pseudomalnosis coli (a benign discoloration of the colon).
Aloe Vera For Weight Loss
Aloe Vera has some very specific properties that make it an intriguing opportunity for weight loss.
Some of the reasons that we have already mentioned include its ability to cleanse and detoxify the body, and its containing of laxatives which also promote regularity and the elimination of waste and toxins from your body.
Aloe Vera is also known to control the absorption of water in the body, helping you maintain your water weight. It also aids in the transformation of fat and carbs into energy. This lowers the chance of them being stored in the body as extra weight.
There have been multiple studies in the use of Aloe Vera for weight loss, and the conclusion so far is that more studies need to be conducted.
While all of the studies have shown that Aloe Vera can be a valuable tool in weight loss, it seems that its effects on weight loss could more related to each individual’s diet.
In conclusion, Aloe Vera should be able to help you lose weight, but studies are inconclusive. However, we did already discuss the other benefits of consuming Aloe Vera and how to use it safely. Feel free to experiment on your own and see if using Aloe Vera for weight loss works for you!
Conclusions About Aloe Vera
I think it is clear that Aloe Vera has earned its place in medicine cabinets and gardens all over the word. It is clearly a great way to treat burns, sun burns, cuts, scrapes, and other small wounds.
Not only does it pour nutrients back into the damaged skin to help the healing process, it also provides protection from infection with its anti-septic properties.
While the jury is still out on whether or not Aloe Vera is a good weight loss supplement. I think we can all agree that with the number of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that it provides, it can definitely be included in the realm of superfoods.
Not only does it provide many of the nutrients that our body needs, but it also helps to keep the body healthy by aiding in hydration and cleansing and detoxifying the body.
It is safe to safe that Aloe Vera is truly an amazing plant with some fantastic benefits. The only downfall to using Aloe Vera on a regular basis is the laxative side effect. While that may seem unappealing to some, as long as Aloe Vera is used in moderation, the health benefits from using Aloe Vera far outweigh the negatives.