Throughout history, people have talked about the health benefits of Aloe Vera. The Egyptians gave it the name "plant of immortality," the Mayan Indians called it "source of youth", and for the author Michael Peuser, it is the "Empress of medicinal plants."
A plant that has received so much praise and honour all through the ages must have a lot of benefits. No wonder many brands have started selling the best aloe vera gels. Let's learn more about Aloe Vera!
Let's take a closer look at the ingredients as well as their benefits!
1. Contains Acemannan
Acemannan is a polysaccharide (i.e., a sugar species), aroused the special attention of the researchers when it was discovered in the 1980s. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. That means it can work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi at the same time.
2. Fortified with Amino acids
Of these basic building blocks of proteins, Aloe Vera has 20 out of 22 possible ones, including the nine most essential ones. The body can not make these themselves; it must take them with food. Proteins are needed, for example, as the primary building materials of your cells, i.e., for healthy skin, hair, and muscles. Hence, Aloe Vera can offer that to people who regularly consume it.
3. Has Healthy Enzymes
Enzymes are chemical agents that help the metabolism rate in a body. They can degrade, rebuild, or build up other substances. They also ensure that all other nutrients can even affect the organism. In terms of their structure, they are also proteins but with special tasks. Aloe Vera is known to have a considerable number of these enzymes.
4. Enriched with Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin A, C, E, several vitamins of the B complex (B1, B2, B6, and B12), folic acid, and niacin are the vitamins that you can find in Aloe Vera. Added to this are the macro elements calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and sodium as well as the micronutrients chromium, copper, and zinc. Vitamins and minerals are radical scavengers, thus have an antioxidant and help against cell aging.
5. Has Phytochemicals Too
Lastly, plenty of phytochemicals contribute to what is lacking in the extraordinary nutrient diversity to make the aloe vera a remedy. In this group, you will find laxative anthraquinones, essential oils, analgesic salicylic acid, phytosterols, triterpenes, and saponins, to name a few.
The secondary plant compounds of Aloe Vera also include the glycoside aloin in the leaf resin. It is one of the critical ingredients of the plant because it is toxic when consumed in higher doses and prolonged use. Therefore, things containing aloin may only be used for a maximum of two weeks with twice-weekly use.
Hence, it is evident that Aloe Vera has a plethora of benefits. But what are the areas of application? Let's check it out!
Aloe Vera: Dosage and Where To Apply?
Essentially two products can be produced from the aloe vera plant:
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Aloe Vera juice
From these two consistencies, the areas of application can be derived, because the gel is used differently than juice. For the gel, the leafy skin of the plant is scraped off, and thus, exposed leaf interior is squeezed out. The result is a naturally cloudy, thick gel.
Since it gets oxidized quickly, it must be bottled immediately. Otherwise, it loses its purity and effect. For the production of the juice, the whole leaf is usually pureed. As toxic aloin is also squeezed out with this method, it must then be removed with a carbon filter.
In this process, not only the toxins but also valuable ingredients are lost. Aloe gel is therefore considered to be of higher quality than aloe juice.
Aloe Vera as an Indoor Plant
The Aloe Vera is also a decorative evergreen houseplant. They can multiply themselves by having offshoots. The care is easy because it requires little water and hardly any fertilizer. Only waterlogging and frost can damage the plant.
You can even harvest it by yourself by scratching the outer (oldest) leaves at the base and carefully turning them off. The leaf can be stored in the fridge for a few days, and the exuding gel can be applied to the skin.
Side effects and Contraindications
1. Internal Use (Juice)
The aloe vera contained in the aloe vera juice is a bitter-tasting substance and can have serious side effects if overdosed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has documented, among other things, panic attacks and severe blood pressure fluctuations. It is therefore essential to pay attention to the intended dosage. Children under the age of 12 years must not consume the Aloe Vera juice.
- Kidney disease
- Bowel obstruction
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding period
- Disorders of the electrolyte balance
- Taking medicines that can lead to potassium loss
- Stomach pain of unknown cause
Long-term use of Aloe Vera may cause liver damage, so it should not be used on a permanent or long-term basis. Long-term use can also lead to mineral deficiencies. Overdoses can irritate the kidneys.
2. External Application (Gel)
Aloe Vera gel is often used on the skin. Like all medicinal plants, Aloe Vera may cause hypersensitivity or allergic reactions in individual cases. Generally, however, the application is considered well tolerated by most skin types.
- Hypersensitivity to other Liliaceen species
- Application during a chemical peeling of the skin
- Dermabrasion less than 2-3 weeks ago
- Those who are sensitive can expect burning or itching.
It is vital to always pay attention to the quality of any Aloe product. The product that you use must qualify for the minimum quality standards so that you make sure that you don't consume substandard products.
Many times, a low-quality Aloe Vera product can do more harm than good. Therefore, it is best to check quality certifications before opting for one. Also, consult your doctor before including Aloe Vera in your daily routine to get the best results.