THE WONDER WORKING PLANT: BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE ALOE VERA PLANT


 

Aloe Barbadensis Miller, aloe vera, is a short-stemmed plant with thick leaves divided into three layers – the gel, latex, and the rind.

 Indigenous to mostly tropical and arid climates globally, it has about 75 known compounds – minerals, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and water – and at least 160 essential ingredients are present in aloe vera leaves.

The practice of using aloe vera as a topical treatment for cosmetic related issues and as a health improvement supplement dates back many years ago.  Ancient Greece, Egypt, China, and other countries used aloe vera plants for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Fun fact: Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus used aloe vera to treat soldiers' wounds, and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt used it in her skin caring routine.

Today, it is used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, but it doubles as an ideal home décor potted plant and has gained popularity in the food industry.

Below are eight benefits of the aloe vera plant explaining why it's nicknamed a wonder plant.

 

Natural Skin Hydrant and Moisturizer

There is rarely a hydrating beauty product without aloe vera as an ingredient. This is because aloe vera extract, when freeze-dried, is a natural humectant with hydrating properties. An aloe vera plant's gel contains 98% of water, which makes it a right choice for moisturizing, hydrating, and soothing. This is incredibly healthy for you if you have dry skin, but take caution and use it in small quantities as excess use may overwhelm the skin and cause more dryness.

 

Body Functioning

Aloe vera plant contains seven of the eight essential amino acids which ought to be gotten through food.  When consumed as a juice or as supplements and capsules, the body receives these essential amino acids vital for proper body functions like appropriate digestion, protein building, blood sugar regulation, immune efficiency, muscle regeneration, and a whole lot more. 

 

Good for the Hair

Aloe vera gel contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline content. These nutrients help strengthen hair, promote hair growth, and give the hair an over-all healthy sheen. The anti-inflammatory properties in the gel reduce scalp irritation and dandruff. Its moisturizing effect keeps the hair hydrated and repairs damaged or brittle hair. It's also a good astringent for reducing excess oil on the scalp.  When used as a hair mask, always rinse off after leaving for the required time frame.

 

Heals Wounds and Burns

It's rich in glucomannan and glycoprotein, compounds known to improve wound healing, and gibberellins, a growth hormone.  They interact with fibroblast growth factor receptors to stimulate proliferation, which increases collagen production. Collagen is a crucial body protein that stimulates tissue growth when disposed of on wounds hence accelerating the healing process.

The plant is also rich in saponins, which are nutrients that contain antiseptic properties and are capable of cleansing.  It also contains Vitamins C and E, known to accelerate wound healing.

 

Aids Digestion

It contains food breaking enzymes which aid digestion like amylase and lipase, which help break down starch and sugar, and fats, respectively. Consuming aloe vera gel before eating has been suggested to reduce the effects of Gastro-esophageal flux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder that causes heartburn.

 

Anti-Cellulite Ingredient

Cellulite is the dimpled or lumpy skin that develops when fat tissues beneath the skin push against the skin's surface. It mostly affects the body's fat deposits like the thighs, stomach, buttocks, and hips. It is very typical to have cellulite, and it's most common in women.

While it cannot be permanently banished, cosmetic creams and procedures, exercises, and weight loss are some cellulite remover choices that may reduce cellulite appearance.

Aloe vera has skin tightening properties and can be applied directly to areas of the skin affected by cellulite. It is also a significant ingredient in cellulite remover creams due to its potential to penetrate the skin and improve skin elasticity.

 

Promotes Dental Health

Studies have shown that aloe vera gel help treats dental ailments like mouth ulcers, gingivitis, oral lichen planus (OLP), etc. It has also been shown to control bacteria- causing cavities. Aloe vera extract is a safer alternative to mouthwashes with chemical actives. It contains vitamins like Vitamin C, which fight and eradicate dental plaques.

 

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory

Aloe vera is composed of a high number of antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Its gel contains polyphenols that may help inhibit the growth of bacteria-causing infections in the body.  Besides polyphenols, it has substantial amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants known to neutralize free radicals.

It provides fatty acids with anti-inflammatory components and the enzyme Bradykinesia, which helps decrease excess inflammatory actions.  In addition to anti-inflammatory enzymes, it comprises auxins and gibberellins, which are hormones with anti-inflammatory properties and help speed up wound healing processes. This makes it ideal for treating skin inflammations like acne, eczema, skin swelling, and other skin conditions.

 

Conclusion

There are many more benefits of the Aloe Vera plant – although with a few downsides.  Little wonder it is one ingredient that is frequently used to produce most cosmetic products and even pharmaceutical solutions. You may also benefit from the qualities of aloe vera by introducing it to your skin and hair care home remedies. 

We recommend taking in small quantities and dosages for consumption and other oral health uses as it has potential toxicity, which may cause serious side effects when consumed in excess. Seek medical advice if you intend to administer it orally and consult with your dermatologist if you wish to use it topically.

 Photo by Will Svec on Unsplash