Aloe vera gel is widely recognized to relieve sunburn and help heal wounds. But did you know that your favorite potted plant can be used for much more than sunburn relief and home decoration?
The succulent has a long history of use for medicinal purposes, dating back to ancient Egypt. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe and the Canary Islands. Today, aloe vera is grown in tropical climates around the world. Whether it’s to relieve heartburn or to potentially slow the spread of breast cancer, researchers are just beginning to reap the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts.
Relief of heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder of digestion that often causes heartburn. A 2010 review suggested that eating 1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtimes could reduce the severity of GERD. This can also mitigate other problems related to digestion. The low toxicity of this plant makes it a safe and gentle remedy against heartburn.
Keep fresh products
A 2014 study published online by Cambridge University Press examined tomato plants covered with aloe gel. The report showed that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study on apples. This means that aloe gel can help fruits and vegetables stay cool and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of products.
An alternative to the mouthwash
In a 2014 study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found that aloe vera extract was a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The natural ingredients of the plant, which include a good dose of vitamin C, can block the plaque. It can also bring relief if you have swollen bleeding or gums.
Reduce your blood sugar
According to a study of Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy, ingesting two tablespoons of aloe vera juice a day can cause a drop in blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This could mean that Aloe vera could have a future in the treatment of diabetes. These results were confirmed by another study published in Phytotherapy Research that used pulp extract.
However, people with diabetes who take hypoglycemic medication should exercise caution when consuming aloe vera. Juice and diabetes medications could eventually lower your blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.
A natural laxative
Aloe Vera is considered a natural laxative. A handful of studies have examined the benefits of succulent for ease of digestion. The results seem to be mixed.
If you have Crohn’s disease, colitis or hemorrhoids, you should not eat aloe vera. It can cause severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. If you are taking other medicines, stop taking aloe vera. This could decrease your body’s ability to absorb drugs.
You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. This may be due to the fact that the plant thrives in dry and unstable climates. To survive the harsh conditions, the leaves of the plant store the water. These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates, make it an effective moisturizing and anti-pain treatment for the face.