Aloe vera benefits
You’ve likely noticed that moisturizer or after-sun lotion often contains aloe vera due to its soothing anti-inflammatory properties. But while aloe vera has long been known to be good for the skin, there are lots of other health benefits to be had from this unique plant.
Whether you use aloe vera extract directly on the skin, as an ingredient in supplements, or drink it as a juice, it can have a direct impact on your skin and your overall health.
What is aloe vera?
The aloe vera is categorized as a shrub and is part of the succulent family of plants. While it’s now grown in all sorts of tropical climates, it originated in areas such as north Africa and southern Europe.
The plant grows low to the ground and is characterized by thick, heavy leaves. The jelly-like substance extracted from its leaves has been used for medicinal and healing purposes for thousands of years.
Aloe vera contains several different minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids that promote good health and active healing of wounds.
Benefits of aloe vera
Whether you drink it or moisturize with it, there are several proven health benefits of aloe vera.
Aloe vera can help keep you hydrated
Aloe vera can help to keep your skin and body hydrated in two ways.
First, the plant itself is extremely water-dense and retains a lot of water and moisture in its leaves and in its gel-like extract. Secondly, the nutrient properties in the gel promote the healthy function of your internal organs, so the processes by which your body hydrates itself are optimized.
Aloe vera contains antioxidants
Aloe vera is abundant with different types of antioxidants, including polyphenols. This particular type of antioxidants neutralizes free radicals in the body that can cause cell damage in your skin, organs, and other tissues. Polyphenols may also reduce inflammation in the body that can contribute to many chronic conditions and illnesses.
Many of these antioxidants are included in aloe vera supplements and juices.
Anti-aging properties of aloe vera
Many creams and moisturizers that contain aloe vera are promoted as anti-aging products, and there is some scientific truth to this claim.
In a review published by the National Institutes of Health, the moisturizing and anti-aging properties of aloe vera are attributed to several different compounds and processes.
Mucopolysaccharides are sugar molecules in aloe vera that, when applied to the face or body, work to bind moisture into the skin. Aloe can also stimulate fibroblast cells in the skin; these cells are responsible for producing collagen and elastin, which helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The amino acids and zinc in aloe vera help to soften skin cells and tighten pores, producing a more youthful texture on the skin.
Healing properties of aloe vera
For thousands of years, aloe vera has been used for its healing properties. It’s known to be particularly useful in the treatment of burns.
In one study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that aloe vera accelerated wound healing by stimulating cell repair and fibroblasts. For this reason, you can find aloe vera sprays, like the Real Aloe Aloe Vera Spray, specifically designed to treat light burns and irritation on the skin.
Promotes better oral hygiene
The antioxidants in aloe vera also function as anti-bacterial agents; aloe vera coatings are often used to keep food produce fresher for longer.
Reduces blood sugar levels
While research is limited, it has been suggested that ingesting aloe vera can help combat fat in the body and reduce blood sugar levels, therefore lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Improves indoor air quality
From the materials used to build and insulate your home to the cleaning products you use every day, chemicals are continuously being released into the air inside your home. These chemicals can be harmful and impact the purity of the air you breathe inside.
Aloe vera is one plant that can potentially remove some of these chemicals from the air and purify them during its routine photosynthesis processes.
Types of aloe vera products
Aloe vera gels and creams
The most common place you'll see aloe vera is on the cosmetics shelf. It's an active ingredient in many different beauty and skincare products, including shampoos and conditioners, moisturizers, face creams, and body lotions, such as the Aloe Infusion Body and Face Moisturizer. You can also buy pure aloe vera gel and directly apply onto the skin moisture and anti-aging.
Aloe vera is also commonly used as an ingredient in creams designed for sensitive skin to avoid irritation.
Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera juice is made from crushing and blending the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant. It is then purified and filtered into a juice for consumption.
Aloe vera juice has a very mild flavor and is often filtered into a more drinkable form than the thick gel you squeeze directly out of an aloe vera leaf.
Many people also choose to add aloe vera juice to smoothies, along with other nutritious ingredients.
Aloe vera houseplant
If you have a bit of a green thumb, you can grow an aloe vera plant yourself, although it is far more likely to grow and thrive in a warm, tropical climate.
The benefit of growing and maintaining the plant yourself is that it’s a cost-effective way to access aloe vera gel whenever you like. Just make sure you leave a few weeks between cutting leaves off to allow the plant to thrive.
Lauren Farrell is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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