You probably know that aloe vera is great for burns, but did you know there are other, equally amazing ways to use this spiky plant? 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 healing abilities and as a beauty aid. 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.
Aloe vera has been a revered plant for a very long time and known for its healing and beautifying powers. 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 healing agent for his wounded soldiers. It is said that Aristotle convinced Alexander to conquer the island of Socotra simply for their aloe groves.
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’s also great for the following uses.
Heartburn is a common symptom of sufferers of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There are both prescription and over-the-counter medications aplenty to deal with this disease, but aloe vera could also soothe your symptoms.
In a study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of aloe vera for GERD, it was concluded that aloe did indeed reduce the symptoms and provide relief to patients. It also was well-tolerated with no adverse events.
2. Keeping Produce Fresh
If you’re concerned about keeping produce fresh longer in your home or the chemicals that are used to keep them viable in the stores, 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.
It’s time to give up the burning, chemical-based mouthwash you’re used to and try a more gentle and natural version that’s made with an aloe vera supplement. A study indicated that aloe vera reduces dental plaque, making it a viable mouthwash alternative.
Additionally, aloe vera supplements contains six different antiseptic agents, lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur. All of these agents inhibit fungi, bacteria, and viruses. That’s a powerful combination for keeping your breath fresh and germ-free.
4. Lowering Blood Sugar
If you struggle with blood sugar issues, then you might like the results determined by a study of aloe vera’s antidiabetic potential. There have been other studies with varying results, so it’s not time to give up your prescribed protocol just yet. That said, this might be an alternative path to consider.
Either way, this is something that should be discussed with your healthcare provider and together you can map out a plan of action.
This is where aloe gets really interesting. There is some controversy on aloe’s ability to treat constipation safely, and it comes from the fact that it’s not typically the clear gel that’s used for constipation but the yellow latex, or whole-leaf extract.
This part of the aloe vera plant is typically very effective as a laxative but should only be used sparingly, in low doses, and for short periods of time, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic.
If you have underlying gastrointestinal conditions, you might want to avoid consuming aloe or discuss the potential for side effects with your doctor. It has been known to cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
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 glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins to boost skin health and vibrancy.
In addition, aloe has an anti-aging effect with mucopolysaccharides helping to bind moisture to the skin. While stimulating fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin fibers for less visible wrinkles and a clearer complexion.
7. Fights Breast Cancer
This is a relatively new development, and it needs further evaluation and support. But it just may be that the aloe-emodin found in the plant’s leaves can slow the growth of breast cancer according to a study out of Taiwan.
There’s no concrete evidence yet, but this is a very exciting prospect.
Aloe vera barbadensis has been a popular plant for health and beauty for thousands of years.
While aloe is known for its burn-soothing qualities, it also has many other potential uses. From keeping your foods fresh longer, without the use of chemicals to fighting cancer.
That said, before you begin using aloe to treat your illnesses, it’s important that you seek the advice of your primary care physician. There are some side effects to this plant, especially when the whole leaf is used rather than just the interior gel.
Once you are cleared to try aloe vera, you can discover its amazing health benefits.