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What is Aloe Vera Good For?

Do you grow Aloe Vera (Aloe) in your garden? Did you know that in addition to being an ornamental succulent, it is considered to be a marvel in the world of health that dates back to the time of the Pharaohs of Egypt? With 75 active components, Aloe Vera is overflowing with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes; so it’s no wonder that this “wonder” plant has been benefiting people for centuries.[1]

Not that familiar with Aloe? Let us share with you the history, health benefits, and what this amazing plant is good for.

Aloe Vera in History

Aloe Vera in History

Aloe entered recorded history in Egyptian hieroglyphs more than 6,000 years ago. These ancient writings tell us that the plant was used to enhance beauty, encourage vibrant health, and that it held the secret to immortality. Known as the "Plant of Immortality," Aloe was gifted to deceased Pharaohs at their funeral ceremonies. In fact, a man demonstrated his wealth and esteem for the Pharaoh by the amount of Aloe that he brought as an offering to the Pharaoh's burial.[6]

The people of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey) used Aloe to ward off evil spirits from their homes, and the Knights Templar during the Crusades drank a concoction of palm wine, Aloe pulp, and hemp. They named it ‘the Elixir of Jerusalem,' and believed that it promoted good health and added years to their life.[7]

The plant is even connected with Alexander the Great who, acting on a request from Aristotle, conquered the Isle of Socotra (in Yemen) for its Aloe supply.[8]

Today, Aloe Vera is widely used as a sunburn salve and to calm other skin irritations, but its benefits extend far beyond that.[9]

What is Aloe Vera?

   What is Aloe Vera?

Aloe Vera is a summer flowering, stemless plant that ranges from 2 to 3.5 feet high with fleshy, greenish-gray leaves, with leaves that are semi-coned and have serrated, tooth-like projections on their sides and tip.[10] Aloe needs very little water to survive, so it’s an ideal houseplant for those who don’t have a “green thumb.”

Because Aloe Vera is part of the succulent family, it has an amazing ability to self-repair. If it’s damaged, the leaves seal off the cut or wound using its internal gel, and the leaf will continue to grow from the base of the plant despite the damage. [2] Not only does the Aloe Vera leaf have a wondrous gel, but it also has leaf juice which is known as latex. The gel and latex are used today in a variety of health supplements, and each has healing benefits.

What is Aloe Vera Good For?

   What is Aloe Vera Good For?

You’ve probably heard that Aloe Vera has the ability to soothe a sunburn, as that’s what it’s most known for. However, there are many other uses Aloe Vera is good for and benefits you may want to experience.

Aloe Vera is used in a variety of products that promote anti-aging skin, usually because of the high level of moisturizing Aloe Vera can provide. The extensive moisturizing isn’t just limited to your skin, though. Your hair can reap the benefits also.  

In addition to your external body benefiting from Aloe Vera, your internal body can benefit also, specifically your digestive tract, because Aloe Vera is a prebiotic. It can detoxify your digestive system, heal your intestinal tract, help to break down food, and reduce constipation - all thanks to the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes found in the plant.

Vitamins in Aloe Vera

   Vitamins in Aloe Vera

Aloe is rich in the antioxidant vitamins, which includes vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), C, and E. [1] Antioxidants are substances that bind to free radicals (the waste that cells produce) and help your body eliminate them.[11] If left unchecked, free radicals can damage cells. By consuming antioxidant vitamins, you’ll have positive effects on your immune system.

Minerals in Aloe Vera

   Minerals in Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is packed with minerals - 9 to be exact. There’s calcium, the key component in bones, teeth and cell signaling; zinc, selenium and magnesium, all essential for as many as 300 metabolic functions; and chromium, which enhances the insulin that provides cells with energy.[3] Aloe Vera also contains copper, manganese, potassium, and sodium. All of these minerals are needed to make enzyme systems and metabolism function properly.[3] 

Enzymes in Aloe Vera

   Enzymes in Aloe Vera

Enzymes are chemicals produced by living cells that work as catalysts to speed up biological reactions, which include helping with digestion and in absorbing the sugars, proteins, and lipids of our daily food intake. [4] The really great thing about the enzymes is that they help digest food and provide assimilation.  This supports optimum digestion and helps move food through the intestines easily, which promotes regular bowel movements. From an external topical perspective, Bradykinase (a powerful enzyme) helps to reduce excessive inflammation of the skin.[1]

Prebiotics in the Aloe Vera Plant

   Prebiotics in the Aloe Vera Plant

You are probably familiar with probiotics, which are the friendly bacteria that live in the gut and are found in foods such as yogurt, cheese, and pickles. But you may not have heard of prebiotics, which are a type of fiber that reach the large intestine without being affected by digestion and feed the good bacteria, helping the bacteria to develop and thrive, which in turn supports overall gut health.[12] Together, Aloe Vera and the probiotics in your stomach help to treat constipation and alleviate digestive problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.[11]

Where to Find Aloe Vera

   Where to Find Aloe Vera

One of the best things about Aloe Vera is that it is widely available; you can find the plant for sale at your corner market or home improvement store. Aloe Vera gel, drinks, and supplements are also widely available at countless stores across the country and online.

With its rich history and many health benefits, this mighty wonder plant is an incredible gift from nature that you can grow in your very own garden or home. So take advantage of Aloe Vera, just as many others have done throughout the centuries. Your body will thank you!

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Aloe Vera References