Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe vera is a herb from the aloe species and it belongs to the Liliaceae family with a wide range of medicinal having remarkably health benefits. Aloe vera extracts is found in many consumer products including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics, or ointments.
There are about 460 species of aloe, among which aloe vera is the only variety of aloe with legendary medical effects dating centuries back.
Aloe is derived from the Arabic word ‘Alloeh’ meaning bitter due to bitter liquid/gel found within the leaves
The herb can be traced back 6,000 years ago to early Egypt being depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.
Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.
In recent years, several reviews revealed various aspects of aloe gel use. Exaggerated claims are still being made although doubts to substance’s efficacy has been tested and proven otherwise, however there is still room for caution.
Whats in Aloe Vera
Over 75 potentially active ingredients have been found in aloe vera making it the most biologically active among its species. These include vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): a co-enzyme that maintains the muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract and promotes the health of the nervous system, heart, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver. It also improves the body’s ability to withstand stress and is often called the “anti-stress” vitamin
Vitamine B2 (Riboflavin): an antioxidant vitamin that neutralize free radicals responsible for cell damage. An energy booster facilitating healthy body metabolism, protecting skin and eye health.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): maintains a healthy cardiovascular system and metabolism, especially balancing blood cholesterol levels, healthy brain function, skin formation and maintenance and even preventing or treating diabetes.
Vitamine B6 (pyridoxine): maintains a healthy metabolism, nerve function, liver function, skin health, eye health, as well as help to boost levels of energy.
Vitamine B12 (cyanocobalamin): maintain the health of nerve cells, including those needed for neurotransmitter signaling, and helps form the protective covering of nerves, called the cell’s myelin sheath
Vitamin A (Retinol): powerful antioxidant hence cell damaging free radical neutralizer as well as maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, skin, immune system and cell growth
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): maintaining the health of the body’s connective tissue, collagen precursor, collagen producing cell (fibroblast) activator, as well as acting as an antioxidant.
Vitamin E: Anti-oxidant, cholesterol balance, repairs damaged skin, thickens hair, balances hormones, prevents heart and blood disease.
Folic Acid (a form of vitamin B9): synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA aiding rapid cell division and growth, enhancing brain health, Healthy hearing.
Choline: important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our body needs 22 amino acids to build the proteins it needs. Of these, eight are called “essential amino acids”, because (like vitamins), our body cannot synthesize them. Instead, we must get them from food. Amazingly, aloe vera is a rich source of amino acids, providing 20 of the 22 necessary amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
9 vital minerals found in aloe vera include
Calcium: maintains healthy bones, teeth, gum and nerve impulse, balanced blood pressure, prevent colon cancer, kidney stones
Sodium: maintains healthy acid base and fluid balance, nerve transmission, nutrient absorption, prevent muscle cramps
Iron: Hemoglobin prodyction, treat anemia, increase brain development, maintain muscle health
Potassioum: boosts nervous system, prevents muscle cramps, maintains optimal fluid balance, normal brain function, prevents strokes, improve bone health and muscle growth, stabilize blood suger and blood pressure
Chromium: contribute to fat metabolism regulating cholesterol, metabolism of carbohydtrates helping absorption of glucose into the cells.
Magnesium: energy booster, promote relaxation aiding in sleep and curing insomnia, aids in digestion releaving constipation, relieve muscle aches and spasms, maintains healthy heart.
Zinc: strengthens bones, defense against cancer, anti-fungal, maintains brain health, assists weight loss, fights acne and hair loss, boosts immunity.
Manganase: healthy bones, maintain suger levels, metabolism regulator, prevents osteoporosis, essential for thyroid function.
Copper: prevents premature aging, stimulates brain, boosts immunity and energy, helps absorption of iron and red cell formation, essential for normal growth and health, maintains hair pigmentation, skin and eye colour.
Aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase and peroxidase. These enzymes aid in breakdown of food (sugers and fat) and assist in efficient nutrient absorption
Aloe vera provides 12 anthraquinones, these are organic conpounds with many functions aloe-emodin, emodin, chrysophanic acid, cinnamonic acid, anthracene. Anthraquinones function as laxatives, analgesics, break down dead tissue in the skin, natural anri-inflammatory and have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Serves as a binding agent allowing aloe vera to penetrate the skin and body four times faster than water
Aloe vera provides sugars, such as monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides. These boosts anti-body formation and function, increase leukocytes count and activity, protect gut wall and aid in gaseous transfer in the lungs.
Reduces fever = anti-pyretic (aspirin), also gives antiseptic effect, aids in skin exfoliation and renewal.
Four fatty acids are present, including cholesterol, campesterol, beta-sisosterol and lupeol — all providing anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antiseptic properties.
Natural soapy cleansers the act as anti-septic and cleanses the body.
auxins and gibberellins are present; they help with healing wounds and have anti-inflammatory properties.
9 Aloe Vera Benefits
- Soothes Rashes and Skin Irritations
Numerous reports showed the effect of topical aloe vera administration in skin conditions and wound healing, including treatment of conditions as psoriasis, dermatitis, oral mucositis, surgical wounds, burn injuries genital herpes, frost bite and inflammation. Aloe vera extract was reported to provide rapid relief from the itching and burning associated with severe radiation dermatitis and skin regeneration. Aloe vera can also be safely used as an antifungal and antimicrobial.
- Treats Burns
The use of aloe vera gel on burns has prevents UV-induced suppression so the area of skin can heal at a faster rate, proving the aloe vera is protective against burns and radiation damage to skin.
- Heals Cold Sores
Application of aloe vera gel is applied to a cold sore a few times a day, it eases the discomfort and helps speed the healing process. It’s also safe when consumed by mouth, so there is no need to worry about swallowing this natural treatment. Aloe vera has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that accelerate healing and reduce pain associated with cold sores — or any sores on the mouth.
The amino acids and vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin C are highly helpful. One of the vitamin B6 benefits, for example, is it acts as a natural pain treatment and creates antibodies that our immune system uses to protect us.
- Moisturizes Hair and Scalp
Aloe vera is highly beneficial for dry hair and itchy scalp, with nourishing properties, wide variety vitamins and minerals that are present keep your hair strong and healthy. Due to aloe vera’s antibacterial and antifungal properties, it also helps with dandruff, and the gel’s enzymes can heal the scalp of dead cells and promote the regeneration of skin tissue around the hair follicles.
Aloe also helps stop the itching associated with dandruff or a dried scalp. Many shampoos and conditioners are full of chemicals that damage hair leading to inflammation and skin irritations; adding aloe vera is an effective way to keep your scalp free of bacteria and damaging skin reactions.
- Treats Constipation
Anthraquinones in aloe vera latex create an effective laxative that increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis, which are contractions that break down food and mix the chyme. This makes aloe vera a natural constipation relief melody and has been proven by many studies
- Helps with Digestion
Due to its anti-inflammatory and laxative components, aloe vera has been highly benefitial in aiding digestion. Aloe vera juice helps digestion by normalizing acid/base and pH balance, lessens yeast formation, encourages digestive bacteria and regularizes bowel processing.
Aloe vera has been used to soothe and heal stomach ulcers because it has antibacterial agents and natural healing properties that can restore the stomach lining back to health.
- Boosts the Immune System
Enzymes within aloe vera break down proteins that ingest into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for body cell in the body, this enables efficient cells function. The bradykinase in aloe vera stimulates the immune system to combat infections. Zinc is also an important component in aloe vera, which is essential to maintain immune function.
Studies have proved aloe vera to be be an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal plant, and it’s very good in enhancing the immune system without causing allergic reactions or side effects..
- Provides Antioxidants and Reduces Inflammation
Aloe vera provides an amazing number of vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, protect from sun rays UV damage, protect from skin cancer and fight skin inflammation after sun exposure.
Aloe vera can also treat acne and eczema naturally since it helps skin healing process. Bradykinase, also present in aloe vera, helps reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically.
- Treats Diabetes
Some studies in humans and animals suggests that aloe vera is able to reduce chronic hyperglycemia and balance lipid profile that are common among people with diabetes hence are major risk factors for cardiovascular complications. This add natural diabetes cure to the list of aloe vera benefits.