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Health Benefits and Uses of Aloe Vera

Updated on February 15, 2011

The aloe vera plant has been prized for its healing powers for millennia. It is often called the ‘first aid plant’, and was even known by the ancient Egyptians as the ‘plant of immortality’. While it might be a bit much to claim that it gives eternal life, it can certainly help to make life easier for people suffering from a variety of ailments, including rashes, acne and other skin problems, allergies and sunburn.

Aloe vera is especially attractive to anyone interested in natural health, as it lacks the invasive nature and side-effects of many conventional medical treatments (although of course if you are ill you should seek professional advice, and note that while most people’s experience of using aloe vera is a pleasant one, it can cause allergies in a minority). Here are some more details about some of the most well-known of the health benefits of aloe vera.

External use

The aloe plant is probably best known for the cool, soothing effect that it has on the skin. The gel which is found inside the succulent aloe leaves is the part which provides the plant’s healing benefits, and this is thanks to the wide variety of nutrients and other beneficial chemicals it contains. These combine to give aloe vera gel its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial powers, making it useful for various skin conditions.

Many people have found that applying aloe gel onto the skin provides relief from the pain, itching and inflammation that can be caused by sunburn, pimples and acne, itching and rashes, eczema, burns, insect bites and other skin problems.

Internal use

Aloe vera is normally applied externally, but it can also be taken interally in the form of aloe capsules, tablets or juice). It is nutrient-rich, and these nutrients may help to boost the immune system. People using aloe vera in this way have found improvements in conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive problems and other common issues. Regular use of aloe may also help to maintain good health and prevent the future development of illness.

Using aloe vera

Aloe vera gel is very easy to use. If you have your own aloe plant, simply remove a leaf, cut it open lengthways and scrape out the gel, before applying immediately to the affected area. If you don’t want to grow your own, pure aloe vera gel is readily available to buy in health stores, some pharmacies and on the internet. You can also find a wide variety of creams, lotions etc which feature aloe as a major ingredient. Aloe vera juice, tablets and capsules may be taken regularly or on an ‘as needed’ basis – for best results follow the directions on the product you choose.

However you decide to use aloe vera, it’s important to only use high quality products. Unfortunately, a lot of aloe products contain potentially harmful additives and useless fillers, with only tiny amounts of actual aloe vera. It is best to look for products which are highly concentrated, using unadulterated food grade aloe, and preferably organic. Or of course, you can keep a plant and be guaranteed a pure source of aloe.

Disclaimer:

This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice, and you act on it at your own risk.

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