Aloe Vera: A Succulent With Medicinal Properties

Aloe Vera: A Succulent With Medicinal Properties

Aloe Vera is a popular gel-like substance derived from the Aloe Vera plant.

The gel is included as an ingredient in many natural supplements. This is because aloe contains many beneficial vitamins.

It provides a group of health benefits.

Aloe Vera most well-known for its proven benefits to several conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. Also, its shown benefits to wound healing and oral and digestive health.

What Is Aloe Vera And How Can It Benefit Your Health?

Aloe Vera is a long-standing remedy that has been used for thousands of years to treat various health conditions and promote overall health.

Aloe plants are a type of flowering succulent. It is native to many areas across the world, but is most commonly found in Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.

From the aloe plant, the gel inside the aloe leaves is used to create medicinal gels, creams, salves, ointment, and more (1). There are also aloe juices and liquids that are safe for consumption

Traditionally, the aloe plant has been used to health wounds, treat and sooth burns, maintain the skin, and ease stomach issues (1).

It is also a potent antibacterial at high concentrations with anti-microbial properties. Aloe Vera inhibits the activity of and reduces growth of harmful bacteria. Especially bacteria in wounds and the mouth.

Aloe Vera is most known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects from a combination of anti-inflammatory enzymes, fatty acids, antioxidants, and hormones it contains (1).

Micronutrients and Beneficial Compounds in Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera contains lots of different compounds that provide many benefits.

These include:

Vitamins – Aloe Vera contains a variety of essential vitamins. These vitamins are required by our body to perform daily activities. Each vitamin serves a different process, but the vitamins that you will find in Aloe Vera include: vitamin A, C, E, B-12, and B-9.

Antioxidants – Some vitamins found in Aloe Vera function as antioxidants; including vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidants help with reducing oxidative stress and damage to tissues.

Enzymes – Aloe Vera contains 8 different enzymes, but the most known is A. vera enzymes (2). A. vera helps reduce inflammation, typically of the skin.

Fatty acids – There are a few plant steroids that provide anti-septic properties (2).

Salicylic acid – This acid occurs naturally in Aloe Vera and is a common additive to skincare products. It enhances skin moisture and provides exfoliation.

Hormones – The hormones in Aloe Vera (auxins and gibberellins) help heal wounds (2).

2 Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera provides several health benefits.

Including – healing burns and wounds, improving oral health, boosting digestive health, and may help with acne.

  1. Heals Burns and Wounds

Healing both burns and wounds is a well-known property of Aloe Vera.

The components of aloe gel – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory enzymes, moisturizing acids, and anti-septic fats – help skin abrasions heal correctly and at a quicker pace. 

  1. Beneficial for Oral Health 

Aloe Vera has recently been used as an alternative, natural mouthwash.

When used for oral health purposes, Aloe Vera inhibits the activity harmful bacteria of the mouth through its anti-sceptic and anti-microbial properties.

In clinical research, this has shown to directly inhibit the two most harmful strains of bacteria in the mouth.

Dosage and Potential Side Effects

There are currently no exact intake or usage recommendations for Aloe Vera, but all forms are generally well tolerated.

Those who should be cautious when using Aloe Vera are women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children under the age of 12, and those with certain diseases or already consuming specific prescription drugs (1).

Potential side effects of consuming or using too much Aloe Vera can include (1):

  • Low potassium
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and/or stomach cramps
  • Electrolyte imbalances

This far, research has shown that moderate, long-term use of Aloe Vera is safe.

Seek advice from a medical professional

It is always important to seek the advice of a trusted medical professional if you experience discomfort when using a new health product.

Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD