Aloe Vera

More than just another plant

Returning home from vacation, I’ve got a nice, even burn over most of my body so what better to talk about than aloe vera, a miracle plant that comes to most peoples mind when they get a bad burn.  Aloe can be drinken or worn to benefit your whole body.  We are going to breakdown the ins and outs of aloe vera, how to use it and what the benefit is.

Benefits

  • Accelerates healing of burns | This is one fact we all know and love about aloe vera.  Apply the cooling gel of the aloe vera plant to sunburn for pain relief and significantly faster healing.
  • Reduces dental plaque & soothes mouth ulcers | Aloe vera has been compared to name brand mouthwash in its ability to care for the gums.  Swish around the mouth to feel its healing and antibacterial properties in your mouth.
  • Improves skin & prevents wrinkles | Aloe has been shown to enhance collagen production in the skin and enhance the skin’s elasticity.  Skin cells may become dehydrated from regular use so be sure to moisturize and make it an every-other-day or a weekly routine.
  • Contains antioxidants | Antioxidants combine with free radicals in our bodies to prevent harm to our bodies cells.  Many other foods contain antioxidants, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
  • Has antibacterial properties | Aloe vera may help with the prevention of infection and the prevention of acne due to its antibacterial properties.

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Medical properties of aloe vera
  • Heartburn/ GERD relief | Aloe vera gel taken at meal times has been shown to help soothe the stomach at mealtimes.  Note that this is not meant to be a replacement for medication but rather an aid to traditional medicine and prevention from minor indigestion.
  • Lowers blood sugars | Aloe vera has been seen to lower blood sugars in type 2 diabetes patients.  Again note that this is not a replacement for modern medical management of the illness but rather an aid to assist in stabilizing blood sugars.  Be sure to check your sugar regularly and be aware of signs and symptoms of low blood sugar – cold and clammy, eat some candy.
  • Weight loss aid | Finally, aloe vera has been seen to aid in weight loss in people who were overweight or obese.  Jury’s still out on this one and more research is needed, but studies have supported this as a weight loss aid.

Uses

  • Apply it directly to the skin
  • Use as an alternative to mouthwash
  • Add it to a juice or smoothie
  • Drink aloe vera juice

How to use

Using a sharp knife, slice along either side of the aloe vera leaf.  Gently peel back the flatter side from the rounded side to expose the internal gel of the plant.  Using a spoon, scoop the gel from the leaf.  Use the gel in smoothies, as a topical application, or swished around the mouth for a mouthwash!  Be sure to store it in the fridge and use quickly as the gel goes bad quickly!

Risks

  • Among the benefits of aloe vera is an additional benefit which is constipation relief.  While you can easily find this with a quick google search, the laxative properties of the latex portion of the aloe vera leaf is not an FDA approved treatment for constipation.  It is important to note excessive consumption of this portion of the plant may cause liver damage.  More research is needed to explore the risks and benefits of this so for now, it’s best to stick to the gel portion of the plant for consumption.
  • House aloe plants are not meant for human consumption.  While you may use them for topical use, stick to aloe vera leaves purchased from the grocery store for internal use.
  • Be sure to check with your doctor and do your research if you are pregnant or have any underlying medical condition to be sure the gel will not cause any negative effect.  When in doubt, just ask!

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to hit the “like” button below and leave a comment because I’d love to hear from you! Check out more posts on the blog and let me know which are your faves. xx

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