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Colloquially dubbed the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera has many health benefits, some of which address anti-aging. Part of the Asphodelaceae family of plants, aloe vera is closely related to the agave, yucca, and pineapple plants. The aloe vera plant has been used in both traditional medicine and homeopathic remedies for a great many years. It’s been safely and helpfully used both topically and orally as a treatment for many health maladies. Furthermore, aloe vera is rife with many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Read on to learn about some of the useful ways consuming aloe vera may help you.
Important Note: All of the claims declared herein represent the most up-to-date scientific research.
Chock Full of Antioxidants
For starters, aloe vera is packed with antioxidants that work hard to fend off harmful free radicals that might otherwise lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and some cancer types. Specifically, aloe vera is rife with polyphenols which are a group of antioxidative plant compounds. Polyphenols have been scientifically linked to the topical treatment of wounds and burns as well as some cancer types and heart disease when ingested. Moreover, aloe vera contains high concentrations of beta-carotene which are linked to reducing oxidative stress to the eyes; as such, regular consumption of aloe vera may reduce your risk for macular degeneration and retinopathy among other eye diseases. Lastly, the polyphenols in aloe vera can fight infection-inducing bacteria.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. The research supporting the health benefits of the antioxidative properties of aloe vera is a mixed bag of laboratory and human studies; more human studies are needed.
Good For Skin Health
Aloe vera is most commonly used to treat skin conditions such as burns, atopic dermatitis, and wounds. It’s believed that the antioxidative polyphenols in aloe vera treat inflammation associated with particular skin conditions. In such cases, aloe vera is best used topically. Furthermore, topical use of aloe vera was found to improve skin elasticity in men under the age of 46 when used for a 12-week stint. Moreover, one study showed that women who consumed aloe vera juice for a duration saw an improvement in collagen production as well as a less pronounced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Notably, aloe vera gel is a gooey, cold gel that’s especially soothing to sunburns, household burns, or just to cool warm skin. Other topical uses for aloe vera gel is in treating acne. It’s not a mystery that dehydration is one of the greatest indicators leading to acne breakouts; aloe vera is ultra hydrating which means it can help to remediate breakouts.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While aloe vera has long been used topically for the treatment of some skin maladies, there’s surprisingly very little research on this subject; more research is indicated.
May Treat Diabetes
Research has concluded that consumption of both aloe vera gel and juice can successfully reduce fasting blood sugar levels in individuals with type-2 diabetes. Another study suggests that consuming aloe vera can have positive effects on high blood sugar levels in individuals with pre-diabetes. Also, let’s not forget about those powerful antioxidants that reduce oxidation of free radicals which may later lead to a diabetes diagnosis. Finally, although there are promising claims about the use of aloe vera in treatment for diabetes, specifically high sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, the research is very young and therefore limited.
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. For now, the use of aloe vera as a treatment for diabetes is a promising field of study, but much more research is necessary.
Improves Digestive Health
Another interesting benefit of incorporating aloe vera into your lifestyle is that it may improve your digestive health. Aloe vera contains a plant compound called anthraquinone glycosides that have a laxative effect good for alleviating symptoms of constipation. For a while, aloe vera laxatives were available for over-the-counter purchase but they were later pulled from shelves for FDA consideration. Besides its usefulness in combating constipation, aloe vera syrup is used to treat symptoms of GERD or acid reflux as it’s more commonly known; this is supported by early research on this subject. Another suggested use of aloe vera, at least according to early scientific research, is in treating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Although aloe vera as a natural treatment for digestive disorders is a promising theory, it’s supported by only a few studies; more research is warranted.
Enhances Dental and Oral Health
The antibacterial properties found in aloe vera may be beneficial to oral and dental health. One study showed that people suffering from submucous fibrosis, a painful inflammatory oral condition, experienced improvement in their symptoms with daily use of aloe vera juice. A subsequent study indicated that chemotherapy patients suffering from oral mucositis, experienced relief from their painful symptoms when rinsing with aloe vera juice. Other possible benefits of an oral aloe vera rinse include a reduction in dental plaque and soothing painful canker sores.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While there are a handful of telling studies connecting aloe vera to the remediation of oral and dental ailments, more research would better support some of these assertions.
Full of Nutrients
One of the final reasons you should consider adding aloe vera to your diet is that it’s packed with many necessary nutrients. For starters, aloe vera has loads of vitamin A which is connected to eye health as well as vitamin C which is essential to immune health. Additionally, aloe vera is rife with minerals like calcium and magnesium, both of which are good for bone and muscle health. Moreover, aloe vera is fraught with amino acids and antioxidants which contain many medicinal properties. Furthermore, aloe vera contains enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase and bradykinase which help with inflammation. Finally, aloe vera contains healthy fatty acids, hormones, and monosaccharides, each of which has its own health benefits.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Without a doubt, aloe vera is loaded with useful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which deliver optimal health benefits.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
May Improve Memory
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. Some animal studies have indicated a connection between aloe vera consumption and improved memory, however, human studies are needed to make this declaration with confidence.