Many of us know aloe vera as a short-stemmed succulent that comes in handy when treating skin injuries (e.g. sunburns). But there’s so much more that Aloe barbadensis offers that most people aren’t even aware of.
The cactus-like plant species have a variety of properties that can be beneficial not just for our skin but for our overall health, all thanks to enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and other active compounds found in this powerful plant’s leaves. Below, we explore the six amazing health and skincare benefits of aloe vera and how you, too, can reap them.
It makes wounds heal faster
Discovered thousands of years ago, aloe vera has long been used as a natural healer. Most often applied as a topical medication, aloe vera is widely regarded as an effective skin protectant. From burns to sunburns to sores, aloe vera’s medicinal properties do not only help the wounds heal but also accelerate the entire healing process.
Studies have shown that treating wounds with aloe vera sped up the healing process by nine days, thus proving to be more effective than conventional medication. Another study showed that aloe vera can be an effective topical treatment for addressing both 2nd and 3rd-degree burns.
It helps strengthen the immune system and aids in digestion
When talking about the health benefits of aloe vera, it’s impossible not to mention the positive effect it has on both our digestion and our immune system. A rich source of antioxidants, aloe vera helps ensure a strong immune system. It does so thanks to its detoxifying properties that rid the body of toxins and ward off infections and illnesses. What’s more, aloe vera’s adaptogenic properties promote proper digestion and help improve nutrient absorption.
You can take it as a juice or use it as Aloe Vera Powder is an organic, non-toxic, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly supplement to your diet. Aloe vera also comes in the form of a capsule for added convenience. Either way, consuming beverages made with aloe vera supports a healthy lifestyle and is a way of promoting overall health.
It can help reduce dental plaque
Another common health problem that can easily be addressed with the help of aloe vera is dental plaque. When left untreated, dental plaque starts to build up, which could then potentially lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
One way to kill the bacteria producing plaque is to use aloe vera juice to rinse your mouth. According to a study, aloe vera mouth rinse can be equally effective as chlorhexidine –a standard ingredient found in mouthwashes. It’s particularly effective in eliminating Candida albicans as well as Streptococcus mutans, both of which produce plaque.
It’s a great natural moisturizer
Given how aloe vera plant is made up of 96% water, there’s no doubt that it can be a powerful skin hydrator. It is particularly beneficial for individuals with dry and oily skin, but it can be used by all skin types. It acts as a natural moisturizer without leaving the skin feeling greasy. Its sugars, mucopolysaccharides – make it super-easy to lock in moisture.
The best part? You can apply aloe vera in a number of ways. Use it as a scalp mask to smoothen and strengthen hair follicles and calm any irritation or itching. Apply it as a primer before putting on your mineral makeup, or, use it to make a DIY face mask for your bedtime ritual and ensure a better night’s sleep. The options are practically endless!
It helps with acne, eczema and psoriasis
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, aloe vera is also used to address certain skin conditions such as acne. While it’s not recommended that you replace your conventional acne medicine with aloe vera, you can certainly use them together. Its anti-inflammatory also makes it an ideal companion for treating whiteheads and blackheads.
Two other skin conditions that can be addressed by using aloe vera include eczema and psoriasis. Both conditions are associated with compromised epidermal barrier, inflammation, and general discomfort. When used to treat these conditions, aloe vera helps reduce the symptoms such as redness, itching, and scaling. It also acts as a shield against bacteria, thus reducing the likelihood of bacterial and fungal infections.
Given its wide range of benefits, it’s really no surprise that this nature’s superplant has found a multitude of applications. Whether you decide to use it internally, as a topical treatment, or as a cosmetic product, you can rest assured you’ll be reaping some significant health and skincare benefits by relying on this powerful botanical ingredient.
Stella is an illustrator, a lifestyle blogger and a food enthusiast. She is also very passionate about the environment and green topics. Stella loves giving tips about healthy lifestyles and self-development. She is a contributor to several health and lifestyle blogs. You can find more about her writing by following her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StellaGreenTho1