Did you know there is more to aloe vera than promoting skin health and the body’s natural healing? There are other, equally amazing ways to use this spiky plant, and some of them are pretty surprising.

While there are more than 300 species of aloe, it’s aloe barbadensis that’s the most common, and it is the one noted for its health and beauty benefits. It naturally grows in the dry, tropical climates of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the American Southwest. 

Fortunately, it’s very easy to grow in your home, too.

a glass jar with a plant in it

History of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been a revered plant for a very long time. The Bible, Ancient Egyptian drawings, and Sumerian clay tablets attest to the history of aloe vera and its many uses throughout the ages.

Aloe has been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians and was used as an ingredient in embalming. It’s believed that it could help stop decomposition in the Egyptian quest for eternal life. 

In the times of Alexander the Great, aloe was an important agent for his soldiers. It is also said that Aristotle convinced Alexander to conquer the island of Socotra, simply for their aloe groves.

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Uses for Aloe Vera

While the history of its use is fascinating, it’s how it can be used today that’s even more interesting. Aloe vera is just about everywhere, and it’s no surprise when you learn that it has so many amazing uses.

1. Digestive Aid

Aloe vera has been shown to support proper cellular function and to soothe irritation in the stomach and intestines. In doing so, aloe vera helps to promote healthy gut lining, digestive health, and reduces occasional indigestion, gas, and bloating.

2. Blood Sugar Maintenance

Certain compounds within the aloe vera plant help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. As part of a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise, aloe vera can help support optimal circulatory and metabolic health.

3. Healthy Bowel Movement Support

This is where the benefits of aloe get interesting. There is some controversy on aloe’s ability to support healthy bowel movements. The debate stems from the fact that it’s not typically the clear gel that’s used, but the whole-leaf extract. 

This part of the aloe vera plant is typically very effective in supporting digestion and the body’s ability to effectively remove occasional toxins. When used as recommended and in low doses, the aloe vera leaf can help support healthy bowel movements.

4. Promotes Healthy Cellular Aging

This is a relatively new development, and it needs further research. But it just may be that the compound, emodin, found in the aloe plant’s leaves can support healthy cellular function, growth, and aging. Research continues in this area as this is a very exciting prospect.


5. Mouthwash

It’s time to give up the chemical-based mouthwash you’re used to and try a naturally-sourced version that’s made with aloe vera. A study indicated that aloe vera supports dental hygiene, making it a viable mouthwash alternative. It is the lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur that help support the body’s natural defenses against everyday toxins.

6. Skin Moisturizer

Cleopatra was a big fan of aloe vera as part of her beauty regimen, and this water-laden plant makes complete sense as a moisturizer. The clear gel on the inside of an aloe leaf is 99% water. The rest is a potent mélange of amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins to promote skin health. In addition, aloe has supports collagen production, skin elasticity, and protects against occasional oxidative stress.

7. Keeps Produce Fresh

If you’re concerned about keeping produce fresh longer in your home, then aloe may be the answer. A study focused on an aloe vera coating for tomatoes showed that it maintained the quality of the tomatoes in storage and delayed ripening.

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The Bottom Line

Aloe vera barbadensis has been a popular plant for health and beauty for thousands of years. While aloe is known for its skin-soothing qualities, it also has many other potential uses. From beauty tricks to promoting digestive comfort, aloe vera can help you. Be sure to check with your doctor first, and then you are free to discover what aloe vera can do for you.