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15 Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe Health Benefits
Aloe vera or aloe is famous for being used to treat burns. It is a succulent plant. These are plants that have thickened area to retain water in very dry climates. Many have these plants in their house or yard.
Mike Adams (the Health Ranger) says that this is the best herb that there is. He says:
When I say aloe vera is the most impressive medicinal herb invented by nature, I don't make that statement lightly. Of all the herbs I've ever studied -- and I've written thousands of articles on nutrition and disease prevention -- aloe vera is the most impressive herb of them all.
Also the NCCAM (National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) says that aloe vera is one of the top 5 searched for herbs on the NCCAM website for 2012. They are the 37th National Institutes of health (NIH). The others are fenugreek, St. John's wort, evening primrose oil and echinacea.
Although Dr. James A. Duke (PhD in botany) is probably the leading herbal expert in the United States. He worked for the USDA for over 30 years creating database of plants (herbs) and the plant medicines that are in them.
He wrote a book about the 13 best herbs and this herb was not one of them. So he does not believe that it is one of the 13 best herbs. For more on these herbs see 13 Best Herbs for Health.
About 40 years ago, aloe vera was introduced to the U.S. by a multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing company called Forever Living Products. They did a great job of letting people know about the benefits of this plant. They still grow most of it in the U.S. Now aloe vera is in thousands of skin care and hair care products. It is famous for using the gel inside the leaf to help burns.
This gel inside the leaf is used topically for many things and it is also consumed. The 2 substances in the leaf are gel and latex. The gel is the clear gel in it. The latex is under the plant skin and is yellow and also like jelly.
Both of these substances are consumed but the latex has a strong laxative effect so the more you take, the stronger it is. So if you take too much, it can cause intestinal cramping lime most herbal laxatives. Because of this the U.S. FDA made all laxatives containing it to remove or reformulate their product.
Webmd.com says about aloe:
Aloe gel is taken by mouth for osteoarthritis, bowel diseases including ulcerative colitis, fever, itching and inflammation, and as a general tonic.
Some people take aloe latex by mouth, usually for constipation. Less often, aloe latex is used orally for epilepsy, asthma, colds, bleeding, absence of menstrual periods, colitis, depression, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and glaucoma and other vision problems.
The aloe gel does have a very mild laxative effect. On a bottle of aloe vera, latex and leaf in capsules, it has 200 mg of aloe ferox (latex) and 50 mg of aloe barbadensis (leaf)(this probably includes the gel). This bottle says to not take more than one capsule per 24-hour period. it also says: "Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain since aloe may worsen these conditions and be harmful to your health.
Here is a PubMed article on Aloe Vera: A Short Review. PubMed is part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that is part of the NIH. It says lots of great things about aloe vera including:
The botanical name of Aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis miller.
Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives.
[Under side effects it says] Oral: Abdominal cramps.
15 Health Benefits of Aloe
Here are 15 of the more popular uses for aloe vera that is also known as the ‘plant of immortality.’ There are many phytochemicals (plant medicines) in this plant that are not in any other foods.
1. Helps Constipation
This has been discussed thoroughly in the previous section.
2. Aloe Vera Helps Burns, Scars, Cuts and Hair
This is why it is in thousands of skin care products. Also it helps with dandruff and helps with hair growth so it is also in many hair care products.
3. Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Many herbs that I have written articles on have these properties. This means that helps to prevent any disease that is more prominent and people get older. So you can say that anti-inflammatory means that it is also anti-aging.
4. Improves Digestion and Detoxifies the Body
Part of the detoxifying ability is linked to the laxative effect of this herb. Also as the gel moves through the colon, it can absorb toxic substances that is then eliminated.
5. Aloe Vera is Anti-bacterial, Anti-septic, Anti-fungal and Anti-viral
Anti-septic means that it reduces the possibility of infection. Some of the active substances in aloe that are responsible for this include phenol, sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid and cinnamic acid.
6. Aloe Vera is an Adaptogen
This means that it helps the body adapt to external changes and helps the body resist illness. This makes it good for athletes to use to help recover after intense work-outs.
7. Helps the Immune System
Aloe contains many beneficial substances including polysaccharides. These stimulate the white blood cells in the body that fight against viruses.
8. Improves Circulation and Cardiovascular Health
A study where they injected it into the blood showed that it greatly multiplied the oxygen transportation and diffusion capabilities of red blood cells. It also helps with the blood pressure.and lowers cholesterol.
9. Protects the Kidneys
This is due to some of the benefits mentioned before. Since it is good for circulation and lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, this makes it good for kidneys. Also lowering high blood pressure can save the kidney. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Not mentioned before is aloe vera can help flush out excess water in the body.
10. Helps Diabetes
Research shows that consuming this herb helps blood glucose levels. The mannans, lectins and anthraquinones in aloe vera are thought to be responsible for better blood sugar levels.
11. Helps with Weight Loss
Helping digestion and detoxifying helps with weight loss. Also the anti-inflammatory effect is great for weight loss. See this article: Latest Science on Losing Weight. It explains why calories are not important.
When a person gains too much weight the body is supposed to produce a hormone known as leptin. This suppresses appetite and speeds metabolism. But too much inflammation in the body causes it to be leptin-resistant.
12. Helps With Candida Overgrowth
Candida albicans is a fungus that grows in the colon. Certain conditions can cause it to grow too much and can cause many problems in the body. The good bacteria in the colon help to prevent this overgrowth. Antibiotics kill the good bacteria whereas taking probiotics can help the growth of the good bacteria.
13. Slows the Growth of Cancer Tumors
This is something that they learned in a study.
14. Increases Energy Levels
This is from stimulating the metabolism and burning calories faster.
15. Helps Ulcers, Crohn's Disease and IBS (Irritable Bowel Sydrome)
The mucilaginous gel probably helps to soothe the above conditions.