Most of us have seen aloe vera before — if only as an ingredient in skin care or a way to soothe a painful sunburn.
Surprisingly, aloe vera has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for all kinds of ailments. The Egyptians even referred to aloe vera as the "plant of immortality."
Considering that humans have used aloe therapeutically for more than 5,000 years, there must be some benefit to it, right? Aloe vera contains over 200 active components including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharides, and fatty acids.
Different parts of the plant are used for different purposes, and aloe can be used both internally and externally. Here are some of the reported benefits of this ancient plant:
- Lowers blood sugar levels — especially for diabetics
- Taking aloe vera orally might help reduce the risk of heart disease
- Minimizes inflammation and infections of the skin
- Drink aloe vera juice to relieve gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion and constipation
- Reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including bloating and discomfort
- Take orally to relieve heartburn
- Soothes pain from arthritis and rheumatism
- Heals damaged skin
- High in vitamins and minerals including: A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and folic acid
- High in amino acids
- Antibiotic, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral
This plant is incredibly medicinal, but there are some cautions against long-term use. More is not necessarily better. This is an incredibly potent plant and should be used with a level of respect for its potency. Long-term use can lead to loss of electrolytes, especially potassium. As with any treatment, the best practice is to consult a doctor before using aloe vera.
Photo credit: Jeici1 via Flickr