Aloe Vera is one of the most popular and used plants in herbal medicine and the cosmetic industry. This evergreen perennial, succulent plant loves a warm climate, but fares very well as an indoor potted plant. Aloe has now numerous uses in medicine and self-care, but also in the food industry, and more. By now, you may have seen and used at least one product containing Aloe Vera. Nevertheless, do you know its most incredible uses and effects? Today we will look at some amazing uses and properties of this highly praised plant.
1. Hair Conditioner
Aloe Vera contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, E, C, and some in the B complex (B1, B2, and B3) make an important part in shampoos, hair conditioners, and scalp treatments promoted by the cosmetic industry. The benefits of Aloe Vera for the scalp – especially for alleviating the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis – made both researchers and the cosmetic industry enhance their focus on the plant. Some findings suggest Aloe Vera can also help with hair growth – due in part to the aloe’s ability to stimulate blood flow and improve oxygen and nutrients delivery to hair follicles.
2. Skin Treatments
Researchers have studied for many years the topical applications of Aloe and its benefits for the skin. Beyond its moisturizing abilities, aloe also shows promising results in the treatment of burn wounds, genital herpes, and seborrheic dermatitis. According to clinical trials, Aloe Vera showed positive and safe effects to alleviate skin issues, as follows:
- Treatment of mild to moderate burns;
- Treatment of erythema;
- Soothe blisters on the lip, face and feet;
- Soothing of sun burns.
Aloe Vera has plenty of skin benefits and we should use it for self-care more often, as it is safe and non-allergenic.
3. Keep Your Produce Fresh
According to a Cambridge University Press report, produce coated in Aloe Vera gel keep their freshness. Harvested tomatoes seem to stay safe from harmful bacteria growing on their skin. The Aloe Vera coating of produce showed similar promising results with apples – as found by a different study – giving us hope that Aloe Vera could replace the harmful chemicals we use to prolong the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Dental Care
Aloe Vera contains a healthy dose of vitamin C, together with antibacterial and antiseptic components. Given these properties, Aloe Vera seems to be an excellent natural alternative to commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes. Some reports published by the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences confirm that Aloe Vera gel works great in providing relief to people dealing with gum swelling and bleeding. Moreover, Aloe can work well to prevent cavities, block plaque, and keep teeth aches in control.
5. Potential to help women Fight against Breast Cancer
Scientists agree that we still need to study Aloe Vera extensively to ascertain its true medical properties. However, research advances one day at a time with new findings giving the scientific community more and more reasons to focus on Aloe. For instance, some recent studies suggested that aloe emodin – a compound found in the plant’s leaves – might help women fight against breast cancer. Surely, we need many more clinical trials in order to arrive to conclusive results, but Aloe shows promises we never considered before.
6. Immune System Enhancer
If you look at the list of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and polysaccharides in Aloe Vera, you might understand why our ancestors called the plant “miraculous”. While it does not perform miracles, Aloe Vera can help you strengthen your immune system. The antioxidants and essential amino acids make Aloe a plant you might want to consume in order to ward off colds and other illnesses.
However, you should not ingest Aloe Vera outside of medical supervision, as large quantities may prove toxic or lead to side effects. Nevertheless, you can ask your physician about supplements containing aloe to pass flu season with flying colors.
7. Skin Protection after Radiation Therapy
The positive effects Aloe Vera in alleviating sunburns and soothe skin bruises, blisters, rashes, and cuts gained appreciation from many researchers all over the world. Aloe is good for the skin for prevention and treatment – this is why the cosmetic industry is in love with the plant, after all.
However, researchers at the University of Naples in Italy conducted a research trying to learn more about the preventive use of Aloe Vera hydrating creams in the reduction of skin side effects in women treated with radiation for breast cancer.
While they still need to conduct further studies on larger groups of women and on different side-effects of radiation therapy on the skin of cancer patients, Aloe Vera showed promising results. We can only hope Aloe will have even more dermatological uses besides the ones we already mentioned.
8. Depression Reduction
Neuroscientists bring long-lost hope to humankind with every study they conduct. A report published in the Nutritional Neuroscience journal showed that Aloe Vera can reduce depression symptoms and enhance memory and learning in mice. We have still a long time to embrace the clinical trials on humans, but the results are impressive and almost unbelievable. Such promises open new and exciting doors in the study of clinical depression, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.
9. Treatment of Second-Degree Burns
When it comes to Aloe, we seem to return over and over to its immense benefits for the skin. Medicine took a step forward from sunburns, rashes, and lip blisters and went directly to second-degree burns – a field of major concern for plastic surgery.
Recent reports show that severe burn wounds treated with Aloe Vera healed significantly faster than burns treated with traditional medicine. The same researchers – who published their findings in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association – also reported that patients treated with Aloe for their burns also experienced significantly more and earlier pain relief.
10. Digestion Adjuvant
The connection between Aloe Vera and digestion led to plenty of debates. While in Germany, Aloe Vera comes with a recommendation for constipation and with governmental approval, we cannot use Aloe for digestive problems in the U.S.A.
While specialists from Mayo Clinic confirm that Aloe has therapeutic properties on our digestive system, we need to be careful about the dosage. Ingesting Aloe Vera rarely leads to side effects, but it is better to be careful when drinking Aloe Vera juice for digestion and detoxification.
Aloe Vera may not grant us immortality, as the ancient Egyptians believed, but it can help us enjoy healthier lives if we use it with care. Moreover, studies on Aloe can offer future generations the chance to prevent and heal conditions that we still struggle with.