- Kim Cotton
Aloe Vera - it isn't just for burns
I remember getting burned as a child and going to the neighbors house to break off a piece of aloe and rub on the burn. It was soothing. Years later, that stuff comes in a bottle and is found in the tanning lotion isle.
In doing a video tour I noticed the owner had several aloe plants. None looked quite the same, so it sparked my interest to find out if there are different kinds of Aloe Vera plants and what uses it has. To my amazement Google said there are 62 different species of aloe vera plants.
Here are some of the uses, beside putting it on your sunburn.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in heartburn. A 2010 review suggested that consuming 1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD. It may also ease other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.
Keeping produce fresh
A 2014 study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.
An alternative to mouthwash
In a 2014 studyTrusted Source published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.
Lowering your blood sugar
Ingesting two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day can cause blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a studyTrusted Source in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy. This could mean that aloe vera may have a future in diabetes treatment. These results were confirmed by another studyTrusted Source published in Phytotherapy Research that used pulp extract.
A natural laxative
Aloe vera is considered a natural laxative. A handful of studies have looked into the benefits of the succulent to aid digestion. The results appear to be mixed.
A team of Nigerian scientists conducted a study on rats and found that gel made from typical aloe vera houseplants was able to relieve constipation. But another studyTrusted Source by the National Institutes of Health looked at the consumption of aloe vera whole-leave extract. Those findings revealed tumor growth in the large intestines of laboratory rats.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that all over-the-counter aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or be reformulated.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that aloe vera can be used to relieve constipation, but sparingly. They advise that a dose of 0.04 to 0.17 grams of dried juice is sufficient.
If you have Crohn’s disease, colitis, or hemorrhoids you shouldn’t consume aloe vera. It can cause severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. You should stop taking aloe vera if you’re taking other medications. It may decrease your body’s ability to absorb the drugs.
You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. This may be because the plant thrives in dry, unstable climates. To survive the harsh conditions, the plant’s leaves store water. These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates, make it an effective face moisturizer and pain reliever.