Aloe Vera: More Than Just A Plant For Sunburns
Aloe Vera is known to have many benefits for skin health, especially where healing from sunburn is considered. While there very few side effects that are not well known, the benefits of using Aloe Vera and its juice are absolutely amazing.
This article will look at the full scoop of the health benefits gained from Aloe Vera. What are these risks, and yet, why is Aloe Vera so helpful at the same time?
Here are a few things that you will learn from this article as to why Aloe Vera is so important for our health.
Aloe Vera is a staple for summertime and people who like to spend time in tanning beds, just in case of sunburn rears its painful redness. It can live in the fridge, or can be in some sort of to-go container.
It has so many other uses, though. It can be used for hair growth and immunity boosting, too.
This green plant may look a little strange, but it is actually quite useful for many diet options. People really need to make better use of this plant to reap the full benefits it offers.
The great part of this situation is that, thanks to more recent studies revolving around Aloe Vera, more companies are turning to this plant as far as including it in their products.
Therefore, the Aloe Vera business has skyrocketed to a multi-million dollar industry.
After all, as Christopher Columbus is quoted as writing that, “Four vegetables are indispensable in the well-being of man: Wheat, the grape, the olive, and aloe.
The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit, the third brings him harmony, and the fourth cures him.” This advice cannot be ignored as the fourth item on this list his hallmarked as a healing plant across many cultures and through many time lines.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is sometimes described as a “wonder plant” because of the nutrients it contains.
It is part of the shrub family. In fact, Aloe itself refers to more than 500 different plants, and most of them grow naturally in the northern parts of Africa. Aloe Vera is rather succulent, erect, and forms in the shape of a dense rosette.
It contains a gel in its leaves, which is where all of the nutrients it contains come from.
History Of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of the oldest botanicals to be used for medicinal purposes. It even happens to be one of the oldest plants ever recorded on paper in history.
Both the Ancient Chinese and Egyptians used Aloe Vera to treat burns, wounds, and to reduce fevers. The Egyptians would draw pictures of Aloe Vera plants on the walls of their temples.
It easily became known as the immortality plant, and it was a religious symbol many times throughout Egyptian history.
As a matter of fact, there is a legend between Alexander the Great and Aloe Vera that is very well-known.
Going on the advice of Aristotle, Alexander traveled to Socotra off the coast of Africa to obtain supplies of Aloe Vera in order to treat wounded soldiers during combat.
At the same time, there are stories of Cleopatra using it as a vital part of her daily skin treatments.
On the other hand, the Chinese Materia Medicas claimed during the 7th century that Aloe Vera can be used for sinusitis.
When the Crusades traveled across Europe, Aloe Vera became part of a palm wine. Aloe pulp and hemp were added to this wine. Soon enough, it became known as “The Elixir of Jerusalem.”
European explorers were surprised to find types of aloe plants Central and South America, too.
It was considered to be a healing plant in this location, too. They were able to bring Aloe Vera back to the New World quite easily.
These explorers passed this plant around their journeys to Central America, the West Indies, California, Florida, and Texas.
Spanish Missions also have recorded incidents of padres carrying Aloe Vera with them for up to 50 miles in order to treat the sick.
Therefore, many missionaries grew this plant in their gardens to make sure plenty of it was on hand as often as possible.
In more recent history, the Japanese used aloe gel in 1944 after the “A” bomb dropped twice on their lands to help with healing from wounds garnered from the bombs’ effects.
Today, Aloe Vera is grown for commercial purposes, mostly for the cosmetic and health industries due to the moisturizing benefits from the gel contained in the leaves. It is also one of the most widely studied plants in the world because of these benefits.
Therefore, our natural instinct to use it for these reasons comes from an innate place in our minds that is almost naturally ingrained into our psyche.
Unfortunately, Aloe Vera fell out of popularity for some time, but that is beginning to change as research returns to focus on its benefits.
What Is Aloe Vera Good For?
Aloe Vera is usually packaged as a gel form on its own for treating burns and other skin ailments. It can also be added to lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. Very few people realize it can be used for other means, though.
What other ways can it be used around the house, and more specifically, in the kitchen, though?
As with many other plants and vegetables, Aloe Vera can be turned into a sort of juice for drinking instead of just being used solely for topical applications.
As far as consuming Aloe Vera juice goes, it can aid in digestion and help to relieve constipation. It helps easing stomach aches and acidity, too.
Nutritional Value Of Aloe Vera
The benefits of Aloe Vera certainly have been proven with the test of time. It is completely healthy for consumption, and it offers many nutritional benefits for the body in this way.
Aloe Vera contains the following essential and non-essential amino acids:
- Glutamic acid
- Aspartic acid
Aloe Vera also contains anthraquinones, which are as follows:
- Aloetic acid as an antibiotic
- Aloe emodin as a bactericidal
- Aloin as an analgesic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral
- Antrhacene as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory
- Anthranol as an antibiotic
- Barbaloin as an analgesic and an antibiotic
- Chrysophanoic acid as a fungicide
- Emodin as a bactericidal
- Ester of cinnamic acid as an analgesic and anesthetic
- Ethereal oil as an analgesic
- Isobarbaloin as an analgesic and antibiotic
- Resistanol as a bactericidal
Aloe Vera also contains many enzymes that are essential to breaking down proteins, vitamins and minerals consumed and produced by the body. These enzymes include the following:
- Amylase for digestion of sugars and starches
- Bradykinase to stimulate the immune system
- Catalase to prevent water from accumulating in the body
- Cellulase to aid in digestion
- Lipase to aid in digesting fats
- Alkaline phosphatase
- Proteolytiase to hydrolyse proteins
- Creatine phosphokinase to aid in metabolism
Finally, Aloe Vera contains a huge number of minerals, including the following:
Aloe Vera also includes the following vitamins: A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3, and B6.
As far as calories go, one tablespoon of Aloe Vera contains six of them, none of which are from fat, carbs, or dietary fiber. Therefore, these calories are not hollow in their makeup.
31 Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera
- Aloe Vera has detoxifying powers because of the sheer number of amino acids it contains. Therefore, it is one of nature’s most effective cleansers.
- Also, it can strengthen digestion and
- , which is how it goes about detoxifying the body so well.
- Because of its soothing, cooling, and moistening properties, Aloe Vera provides anti-inflammatory properties, too.
- Because of the polysaccharides in Aloe Vera, it can help to realign the body’s immune system, so it will behave properly.
- Because it works to remove the body of inflammation as well, it also works to help the immune system fight off symptoms from asthma, eczema, and Crohn’s disease.
- Evidence suggests that Aloe Vera also lowers cholesterol and has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Therefore, it can be a useful tool in treating both obesity and diabetes.
- Diabetics can also find some help with Aloe Vera in soothing foot ulcers. Therefore, it can help with healing these specific wounds.
- As mentioned before, Aloe Vera is essential in controlling digestion in a positive manner. People who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because of the healing aspects it offers.
- Other features of Aloe Vera that helps out with IBS is the soothing and cooling aspects it offers.
- People who also suffer ulcerative colitis will find Aloe Vera beneficial in their daily diet. Studies have been done to support this statement several times over.
- Because of all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes Aloe Vera contains, it goes without saying that it is a great way to obtains them when it is turned into a juice.
- These same cooling factors also aid in reducing stomach acid, thus negating bouts of painful heart burn.
- On top of dealing with heart burn, Aloe Vera can be used to combat gastric ulcers and prevent them from growing in size.
- When a body’s pH leans higher toward acid than base, Aloe Vera can be used to balance that pH since it is rather alkaline.
- When the body becomes too high on the acid end of the pH scale, it becomes a breeding ground for disease, so rebalancing this pH means negating many infectious diseases from growing or even forming in the body.
- Dehydration is not something to be messed with, so when traveling in arid conditions, you should look for Aloe Vera plants to rehydrate the body.
- The gel can be consumed directly from the leaves.
- Eating Aloe Vera means impurities will be purged and flushed out from the body, which is crucial when the body becomes dehydrated to make sure these impurities do not build up over time in the kidneys.
- Due to the detoxification properties of Aloe Vera, it can help to restore liver function by providing nourishment and hydration. Its rich number of phytonutrients also help with this task.
- Thankfully, the enzymes in Aloe Vera can also be used to break down sugars and fats in the digestive tract.
- Aiding in
- these two things in the digestive tract means keeping the tract moving smoothly and without much blockage.
- These same enzymes also help the body to maintain nutrients from other foods being consumed while pushing out what the body does not need to hold onto.
- When the body is constipated, it can be rather uncomfortable and painful to have a bowel movement.
- Research indicates that there is an increase in intestinal water content and stimulation of peristalsis when the body processes Aloe Vera juice.
- At the same time, it balances the intestinal tract to make sure that bacteria is neutralized to be as healthy as possible.
- When it comes to rehydrating after exercise, drinking some Aloe Vera juice can help the body in this way greatly.
- It also flushes the body of any lactic acid buildup in muscle tissue. Aloe Vera juice is much more effective at this task than coconut water.
- These same vitamins and enzymes also aid in promoting healthy hair, which can restore hair from damage and also restore hair growth.
- Acne is no match to the nutrients and benefits of Aloe Vera. Once more, its hydrating properties come to the rescue for this aid.
- It may also reduce other skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis. These conditions are reduced due to the antioxidants and vitamins found in Aloe Vera.
- The most obvious use for Aloe Vera is to prevent harm from and heal the skin from the effects of UV rays. Therefore, it also can help prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles throughout the skin.
- There are many other beauty hacks that Aloe Vera can help out with, too. It can be used as a makeup primer, make up remover, and a lightweight moisturizer.
- Babies will find Aloe Vera to be rather soothing in cases of diaper rash, too.
- It can also treat frostbite, gum disease, bedsores,
- , dandruff, and wounds.
- Speaking of gum disease, many toothpaste companies have started putting Aloe Vera into their products to help fight this disease, but studies also indicate that Aloe Vera can be used to fight cavities, too.
- This research is backed by the fact that Aloe Vera contains
- Furthermore, Aloe Vera can be used to treat hemorrhoids, and it can be applied to help with healing after hemorrhoid surgery.
- Another simple application for Aloe Vera is to apply it on cold sores for immediate and long-term relief.
- A study provided by researchers at the University of Ls Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain have found that methanol extras in the skin of Aloe Vera leaves might be beneficial as an antioxidant on its own.
- Aloe Vera has been used in many cancer treatments as a topical application to help with treating the skin after radiation therapy.
- This application came to light during the 1940s and 1950s when the United States bought out total farms of Aloe Vera to help with treating radiation burns on bomb victims in Japan. Aloe Vera is the only known treatment for these burns.
- Sunburns and radiation burns are not the only kind of burns affected in a positive, healing manner by Aloe Vera. It can also be used to treat second-degree burns, too.
- These burns appear to heal a lot faster with Aloe Vera than they do with a gel containing one percent
- , which is the preferred treatment method for serious burns.
- Another benefit for Aloe Vera is that it can help with reducing depression and improving memory.
- Further studies are needed to confirm this plausibility, but current testing does indicate that rats who were exposed to Aloe Vera gleaned these symptoms easily.
What Are The risks Of Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera poses a few risks, so it should be consumed with caution. Everything is good in moderation, especially Aloe Vera.
The leaves contain alonin, which is a harsh laxative. When Aloe Vera is consumed too often, it can cause diarrhea, which can lead to an electrolyte imbalance in the long run.
People with latex allergies should also be careful when consuming Aloe Vera. While this latex is meant to help with constipation concerns, it can cause some allergies to react.
Ingesting too much Aloe Vera can also lead to lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetics who suffer from hypoglycemia need to be careful. Blood glucose levels should be monitored closely when Aloe Vera is ingested.
The digestive aids and lessening of constipation that Aloe Vera features can also come with some painful side effects. Yes, the pain of constipation might be lessened, but it could be replaced rather easily by abdominal cramping as the digestive tract is cleared.
Also, many tests have yet to be done on the effects Aloe Vera has on pregnant and breast feeding women when it is consumed.
Internal use is not suggested with Aloe Vera for this reason, especially since it is not known if components of Aloe Vera can end up in breast milk, thus potentially harming a feeding child.
With all of these concerns at play, it should be noted that Aloe Vera should not be consumed on a daily basis. Topical use is a different story, though, so topical applications will likely not result in the concerns which have been mentioned.
This concern about needing further testing is prevalent in all areas regarding Aloe Vera. So far, many of these benefits regarding Aloe Vera are anecdotal, and many of them are not backed by scientific studies.
Currently, the FDA has demanded more testes to be done on products containing aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin, which are components of Aloe Vera, because they need to be reformulated for the sake of lacking safety data. This occurrence happened in 2002.
Based on the sheer volume of anecdotal evidence alone, and the recurring themes and messages in this evidence regarding the uses of Aloe Vera, it is safe to say that many of the applications and benefits mentioned already are safe to use.
Doing so does involve some caution, especially for when Aloe Vera is ingested.
Fresh Is Best
When it comes to consuming Aloe Vera, or even applying it topically, should be used in the freshest state possible.
This state happens rather easily as Aloe Vera plants can grow almost everywhere. Honestly, it is a plant that can thrive on its own without much care because of the cactus-like properties it hosts.
The warmer the weather or growing conditions, the more easily it will grow on its own.
Mixing It Up
Aloe Vera does not have to be ingested on its own. Juice obtained from Aloe Vera can be consumed in the form of shots, but doing too many of these in one time period might kick up a person’s gag reflex.
To avoid this situation from happening, it would be wise to mix Aloe Vera juice with other things. It makes a great additive to smoothies of all kinds, and it does not do much to alter the taste.
However, it does a lot in the way of adding on more nutrients.
How To Make Aloe Vera Juice?
Aloe Vera is mostly non-toxic, but there are some parts of the plant that are toxic. This rind needs to be avoided if you are allergic to it, though some people are able to consume it without a concern.
However, consuming it can lead to diarrhea for some people. The gel should be removed from the inside of these leaves either by squeezing it out or scraping it out once the leaf has been opened into halves.
The first step to making Aloe Vera juice is to wash the outside of the leaf thoroughly once it has been cut from the plant. It should then dry the outside of the lead carefully.
Then, remove the thorny parts of the leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors. With a sharp knight, remove the rind on one side, including the yellowish part. The inner gel should look clear and not yellow or green.
These parts need to be removed. Fillet the gel with a knife or take a spoon and extract the gel. Make sure the rind at the bottom is not scooped up in the process.
Now that the gel is ready, two teaspoons of it can be combined with plain water to make a juice. However, it can be combined with orange juice to help with the flavor. It works great with coconut water, too. Additional sweeteners can also be added to taste.
Aloe Vera Juice Recipes
Aloe Vera can be added to many different types of smoothies and juices to add even more benefits to things you might already drink.
Here are a few recipes that should be considered when wanting to incorporate Aloe Vera juice into a diet.
Green Drink with Aloe Vera Juice
- 1 cup of Aloe Vera juice
- ½ cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- 1 cup of baby kale
- 1 cup of baby chard
- 1 banana
- ½ a cucumber
- ½ cup of fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons of protein power (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix the Aloe Vera juice and oats together in a bowl and set it aside until the oats have absorbed the liquid. This process should take about ten minutes.
The oat mixture should be blended with one cup of baby spinach, one cup of baby kale, one cup of baby chard, one banana, half a cucumber, half a cup of fresh blueberries, two tablespoons of protein powder (optional), one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and one pinch of cayenne pepper into a blender for about two minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Then, consume immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Strawberry Mango Super Smoothie
- 1 1/3 cups of coconut milk
- ½ cup of Aloe Vera juice
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 2 cups of frozen strawberries
- ½ cup of frozen mango chunks
Blend 1 and 1/3 cups of coconut milk, ½ cup of Aloe Vera juice, one tablespoon of almond butter, one teaspoon of honey, two cups of frozen strawberries, and one half cup of frozen mango chunks on high until they are a smooth mixture. Consume immediately.
Awesome Aloe Vera Smoothie
- 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
- 1 medium Aloe Vera lea, filleted (about ½ a cup)
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen mango chunks
- ½ tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- A little honey, maple syrup, or stevia for sweetness (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes or shreds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds (optional)
- 1 service of protein powder (optional)
Pace all of these ingredients into a blender on high until it runs smooth. The optional items are just that, optional, but they will add texture and additional nutritional benefits to the smoothie. It should be consumed immediately.
- 2 large aloe leaves peeled and cubed (about one pound total)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 lime for juicing
Peel the Aloe leaf and remove the gel from inside as mentioned previously. Chop what remains into small pieces and add to a small saucepan with sugar and lime juice.
Cook the Aloe over medium low heat until the liquid is no longer slimy and the cubes have a grape-like texture. Allow this to cool and serve it with yogurt.
Fresh Iced Aloe Vera Lemonade with a Breeze of Orange
- 1 cup of fresh Aloe Vera gel fillets
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons of agave
- ½ cup of coconut water
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
Add all of these ingredients to a blender and blend on high until it turns into slush. Serve between two glasses and consume immediately.
Chunky Aloe Vera Salsa
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 fresh garlic clove, chopped
- ½ cup fresh Aloe Vera gel fillets
- 2 fresh tomatoes
- 3 fresh baby marrows
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Add two fresh tomatoes, three fresh baby marrows, one fresh garlic clove that has been chopped, and one half cup of fresh Aloe Vera gel fillets into a blender on high until they become a paste.
Then, spoon this mixture into a large bowl before mixing in the other ingredients. The final product will be chunky. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Fresh Hydrating Aloe Juice
- 1 fresh, large cucumber that has been juiced
- 3 fresh apples, also juiced
- 1 freshly squeezed lemon, juiced
- 1 cup of mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of Aloe Vera fillets
Blend in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately, two glasses total.
Green Aloe Vera Booster
- 1 teaspoon of spirulina
- 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder
- 2 freshly squeezed oranges
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of spinach leaves
- 1 cup of Aloe Vera gel
- 1 cup of water
Once more, blend all of the ingredients on high until smooth.
Silky Pink Aloe Purifier
- 3 tablespoons of raw flax oil
- 1 whole grapefruit, peeled
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1 cup of Aloe Vera fillets
- 2 tablespoons of agave
Blend all ingredients together on high speed. Pour into a glass and refrigerate for ten minutes before serving chilled. Can also be served over ice.
Aloe Fruit Explosion Salad
- 1 cup of fresh mango, chopped
- 1 cup Aloe Vera gel fillets, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts
- 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup of grapefruit, chopped
Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.
Aloe and Mango Caprese
- 1 fresh mango, peeled and sliced
- 2 fresh Aloe Vera gel fillets, sliced
- ½ cup fresh mint
Pack a plate with two rows of alternating mango and Aloe Vera. Garnish with mint.
What About Juicing Aloe Vera With a Machine?
When it comes to juicing Aloe Vera, one machine keeps coming up again and again. It is powerful and can be used for a variety of vegetables and herbs. The J8004 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer by Omega is the machine of choice.
This juice extractor has a powerful, single gear motor that is commercial grade. It has dual-stage juicing, which means it works at low speeds of 80 RPMs to avoid foaming, clogging, and heat build-up.
This lower speed also helps to preserve nutrients and enzymes while preventing oxidation, too. Omega claims this model produces a high yield with very little and very dry pulp as a by-product.
The pulp is ejected automatically for continuous operation. The pulp from some vegetables and herbs can be processed through a second time to reach even higher yields.
This machine is easy to assemble, operate, and clean. It is UL and cUL approved. Additionally, the motor rarely makes any noise. It runs on 110 volts.
This model is so strong that it can turn nut into butter with ease due to the two horsepower motor.
It can handle fruits, vegetables, and even wheatgrass, too. It can be used to make homemade baby food, too. An added benefit is that juice from this juicer can be stored for up to 72 hours without degradation or separation.
This model measures at 14.5 inches by 6.5 inches by 15.5 inches, and it weighs in at 15 pounds.
Aloe Vera has been around for centuries, and it continues to stand the test of time. This article has covered a history of Aloe Vera, what it is good for, 31 benefits for using Aloe Vera, and ways to incorporate it into recipes with ease.
There really is not much of a concern with adding Aloe Vera to a diet, so it can be used beyond the topical applications that people usually think of purposing Aloe Vera for.
The Egyptians, Chinese, and Spanish missionaries had it right when they started using Aloe Vera for topical purposes.
They treated this shrub with the utmost adoration to the point that it is considered sacred. With more research that is being done currently to find new purposes for Aloe Vera gel, it is bound to return to a state of sainthood once more.