I don’t know about you, but I often call upon the healing benefits of aloe vera when I get a sunburn in the summer. For as long as I can remember I have been using aloe vera to help soothe the pain and heal the redness of my sunburns. While aloe vera has a long history of being used for sunburns, it has an even longer history of being considered a healing plant. Its use can be traced back 6,000 years to ancient Egypt, where it was called the “plant of immortality” and presented as a gift to pharaohs who had passed away. The Chinese also have a long history of using the aloe plant, calling it the “harmonious remedy.” The reason aloe vera is considered a “harmonious remedy” is due to the glycoproteins and polysaccharides it contains, which stop pain and inflammation and stimulate skin growth and repair. There are many healing benefits of aloe vera, ranging from soothing skin to promoting hair health, and if you read on, you will see why you will want to keep aloe vera in your medicine cabinet.
One of the best healing benefits of aloe vera is its ability to heal burns. Aloe vera has a very long tradition of being used to treat burns. Dating back to the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides discovered that aloe vera was soothing for burned skin. Much more recently, science has proven Dioscorides observation true. In studies, patients with burns heal much faster with aloe vera compared to a placebo, up to 9 days sooner! This is likely due to the glycoproteins and polysaccharides I mentioned earlier, which decrease inflammation and stimulate repair. If you want to use aloe vera for burns, you can either buy aloe vera gel or use the gel that is inside the leaves. Just break off a leaf and put some of the gel on your burn. The soothing properties that decrease the sub dermal temperature of the skin will really feel nice.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes the skin to develop red, raised patches that have a white scaly coating. There are actually five types of psoriasis, with the most common being plaque psoriasis, which has the characteristic patches. Psoriasis can burn, sting, or itch, which makes it a very unpleasant skin condition. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera has been shown to be an effective way to relieve many of these symptoms. In fact, the anti-inflammatory effects of aloe vera are similar to 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. One study even demonstrated aloe vera to provide a greater reduction in disease activity than topical steroids! This is very promising because topical steroids have negative side effects, including thinning of the skin.
Aloe vera juice is a very strong laxative, making it very effective for treating constipation. There are several compounds in aloe vera juice that make it an effective laxative, including aloin and anthraquinone glycosides. It is believed that these compounds stimulate the intestines and help break down food. Only a little bit of aloe vera juice is needed to treat constipation, just two ounces. While aloe vera juice is very helpful for constipation, there are a few cautions. It can cause very bad intestinal cramping, and pregnant women should not take it because it can cause uterine contractions and trigger a miscarriage.
Diabetes is one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions in the United States, which means researchers are always looking for new treatments for diabetes. One treatment that researchers have looked into is aloe vera juice, and preliminary studies suggest aloe vera juice can decrease blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Some studies have shown exceptional results of using aloe vera juice for diabetes treatment. One clinical trial found that after two months, subjects who had been given aloe vera juice had their fasting blood glucose levels return to normal. The reason aloe vera is an effective diabetes treatment is because of the glycoproteins and polysaccharides, which help the body use glucose more effectively and remove excess glucose from the blood.
The typical homeopathic remedy for bruises is arnica, and it can be very effective when used to treat a bruise early. Because arnica is such a common treatment for bruises, I was surprised to learn that aloe vera gel can also be used to treat bruises. It is actually quite effective, healing bruises 30 to 50 percent faster than they would heal on their own. It helps heal bruises by speeding up the repair of broken blood vessels. Also, aloe vera can help with the inflammation from a bruise that causes pain. To use aloe vera for a bruise, all you have to do is apply the gel to the black and blue area. It is that simple.
Surprisingly, aloe vera can help with hair growth by balancing the pH of your scalp. Hair scalp oil falls between 4.5 and 5.5, and any deviation from this range can cause a dry scalp, an itchy scalp, hair loss, dandruff, or weak hair. Personally, I like my hair to feel and look healthy and don’t want any of these problems. Unfortunately, most hair products have a pH over 7, which means they make you much more susceptible to hair problems. To rectify a pH imbalance, you can use aloe vera juice as a hair rinse. After you use your normal shampoo and conditioner, simply rinse your hair with a little aloe vera juice. It should help you have healthy and strong hair.
Aloe vera is well known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E that boost the immune system. Also, the polysaccharides in aloe vera have been proven to stimulate white blood cell activity and increase the number of helper T-cells, which translates into having a much stronger immune system. Additionally, there is a compound in aloe vera called mannon, which has antiviral activity. Typically, aloe vera juice is used to boost the immune system. However, as I said earlier, only a very little bit is needed. Aloe vera juice is definitely one of those things where a little goes a long way.
You may already have aloe vera gel in your medicine cabinet that is leftover from using it for last summer’s sunburns. Now, you have other uses for the soothing gel aside from burns. It can treat pesky skin conditions as well as bruises. You may even be considering adding aloe juice to your medicinal arsenal. It certainly has many benefits. What do you typically use aloe vera for?
Sources: nccam.nih.gov, nytimes.com, everydayhealth.com, aloeplant.info, umm.edu
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