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Aloe Vera: Benefits, Side Effects, How to Use it

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a plant specie that is from the genus Aloe family. It grows in tropical climates and has been used for agricultural and medicinal purposes. It is also used for interior decoration.

The gel is the thick interior part of the aloe vera plant. It can be extracted directly by cutting it out (decolorized gel) or it can be gotten from grinding the whole aloe vera leaf (colorized gel).

The health benefits of this plant ranges from small issues like treating sunburn to more serious health issues like breast cancer.

Read on to discover the health benefits of this plant, it’s negative aspects and how it can be used.

Benefits of aloe vera

Below are reasons why you should consider adding this plant to your routine.

  1. Hydration
  2. Relieves constipation
  3. Balances body pH
  4. Controls blood sugar level
  5. Clears the skin
  6. Improve liver function
  7. Beauty purposes
  8. Relieves heartburn
  9. Aids digestion
  10. High source of nutrients
  11. Excellent source of vitamin C
  12. Reduces gum inflammation
  13. Used as mouthwash
  14. Keeps produce fresh
  15. May fight against breast cancer
  16. Good for hair care
  17. Enhances weight loss

Read Also:Benefits of aloe vera gel

Relief to heartburn

A good health benefit of this plant is it’s ability to control the secretion of acid in the stomach thereby relieving the effect of heartburn.

The intake of about 2 ounces of the gel at mealtime could reduce heartburn effect that results from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The low level of toxicity in aloe vera plant makes it safe for treating heartburn and other digestion related problems.

Good as a mouthwash

Aloe vera plant has high content of natural ingredients like vitamin C and that makes it a better alternative to chemical-based mouthwash. In addition to that, it can also provide relief to swollen gum or bleeding in the mouth.

Lowers blood sugar level

There are research works that suggest that aloe vera could reduce blood sugar level in people with type 2 diabetes.

According to studies, aloe vera medication helped lower blood sugar level in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This shows there is hope that the plant could eventually treat diabetes but further research is still required.

Note: People with diabetes who are taking glucose-lowering medication should be cautious when using aloe vera because both treatments can lower glucose count to a dangerous level.

Keeps organic foods fresh

Aloe vera have antibacterial properties. These properties help fight off harmful bacteria that causes decomposition in fresh organic foods like fruits and vegetables when it is used as coating on them.

May fight breast cancer

Studies have shown that aloe vera has the capacity of slowing down the rate at which cancerous cells grow in the breast. But more research is needed before a finite conclusion can be given on it.

Also see;Benefits of turmeric & the side effects

It is effective for hair care

The plant is loaded with nutrients that are good for hair. It can be used as hair mask to provide nourishment to the hair and scalp. Apply aloe vera gel to hair strands and let it stay for a while before taking a shower.

It is also a good solution for greasy hair. Mix two teaspoons of the gel and one tablespoon of lemon juice with one cup of water. Apply the solution to the hair after shampooing and let it dry for some minutes before rinsing off with cold water.

Enhances weight loss

The minerals and vitamins in this plant makes it effective for promoting weight loss. It is rich in amino acids, enzymes and sterol, all these ensures that the body absorbs nutrients properly and increase the effect of weight loss diet.

Hydrates the body

Aloe vera plant has high moisture content, and as a result, it is efficient for treating or preventing dehydration. The body detoxifies impurities and harmful substances from itself through hydration.

It is packed with nutrients that optimises the output of the body organs like kidney and liver. These organs are responsible for detoxifying the blood and passing the waste out as urine.

It is also very necessary for people that partake in heavy exercise because during exercise activities, the body builds up lactic acid. And aloe vera juice can provide the body enough hydration to flush out this acid.

Relieves constipation

The high water content in the plant makes it helpful for passing out stool normally. For those that suffer from frequent constipation, try adding the juice to your daily routine. Aside that, the outer part of the plant has a compound called anthraquinone which has a laxative effect. But, consult a medical practitioner before deciding to use it for this purpose.

Balances body pH level

The alkalinity of aloe vera makes it an ideal food for balancing the acidity level of the body. This balance results to limited occurrence of different illnesses. Examples of other foods that are source of alkalinity are; legumes, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, root vegetables etc.

Clears the skin

The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants present in aloe vera plant makes it effective for protecting the skin against infections like; acne, eczema, psoriasis etc. It is also good for treating sunburn and preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Could serve beauty purposes

Aloe vera juice has the following beauty purposes; makeup remover, face moisturizer, primer, sunburn soother etc.

Improves liver function

The high moisture content in aloe vera helps keep the body hydrated, thereby enhancing the detoxifying function of the body by the liver. Drinking it early in the morning will greatly help in cleansing the system.

Read;Benefits of turmeric & the side effects

Aids digestion

The enzymes in the plant helps break down sugar and fat and also helps the body absorb all the nutrients from the food that is consumed. It also helps reduce irritation and inflammatory disorder in the stomach and intestine.

High source of nutrients

This plant is a high source of nutrients to the body. It contains minerals, vitamins, folic acid and trace amounts of nutrients like calcium, sodium, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc etc. Consuming this plant daily is one way of combating several diseases.

Excellent source for vitamin C

The plant is fortified with vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that fight inflammation. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves the body’s immune system. It can also enhance the body’s potential for absorbing iron from plant-based foods. Although vitamin C is readily available in foods like oranges, green peppers, broccoli, tomato juice etc, aloe vera is also one very excellent source for it.

Reduces gum inflammation

Studies suggest that it has the potential of reducing gingival inflammation in people that are suffering from the infection when it is used as mouthwash. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of the plant could be the reason it had positive effect in the treatment of this infection.

See Also;Health Benefits of Ginger & Garlic

Side effects of aloe vera

While there are so many positive health benefits of aloe vera, there are also some negative effects associated with using this plant.

Could cause cancer

A study found that the consumption of colorized aloe vera leaf extract increased the risk of cancer in rats. The researchers suspected that anthraquinone that is present in the leaf of the plant could be the reason for this effect. Contrary to this, research carried out with decolorized aloe vera juice on rats showed no sign of cancer. This claim requires further research.

Effect on the stomach

Another negative effects of consuming this plant is, it may lead to stomach upset or diarrhoea. It also causes electrolyte imbalance. Thus, it should be consumed moderately. If any of those negative symptoms are noticed, you should stop drinking it immediately.

Effect on pregnancy

The colorized aloe vera juice is considered unsafe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers when consumed by mouth. Reports suggest that it could lead to miscarriage.

The leaf extract could also be unsafe for children when ingested.

How to use aloe vera

Aloe vera gel is made by grinding the leaf, followed by purification and separation processes to get the pure gel.

The gel has a natural bitter taste and it can be applied directly on the skin or hair to enjoy the benefits.

To make aloe vera juice, mix one cup of water or fruit juice with two tablespoons of aloe vera gel. The juice should be taken on an empty stomach in the morning. Also, mixing 20 ml of aloe vera gel with 60 ml of karela juice is an excellent combination for diabetes and cholesterol treatment.

You can purchase aloe vera extract from the market or online shops. When shopping for aloe vera, check the labels for the following; decolorized, purified, organic, safety-tested.

There are small research that supports the health benefits of aloe vera juice. However, other studies suggest that there might be negative effects to drinking this beverage. Therefore, proper precautions need to be taken into consideration when using this plant. Consult your doctor before deciding on using it’s medication.

 

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