Have you noticed that at least 6 out of 10 beauty products you use contain Aloe vera as a key ingredient? This humble-looking, spiky plant in your garden is hailed as the best herbal remedy in both ayurvedic and modern medicines. With over 200 nutrients, the wonderful effects that this super-food has on your body can outshine even the most expensive drugs and cosmetic products. Let us get to know about 10 amazing health benefits of aloe vera for overall well-being.
Aloe vera, also called Ghritkumari in Sanskrit, is a desert plant that resembles a cactus. It belongs to the family of lilies and is also one of the oldest known plants used for medicinal purposes. History also tells that Aloe vera was extensively used by the ancient Egyptians like Cleopatra to enhance their physical beauty!
Now you know why Aloe vera has such high demand in the market these days! Let us now do a quick round-up of the Top 10 Benefits of Aloe vera for Health, Hair and Skin, which is also proven by modern science!
Aloe Vera Nutritional Benefits:
Here is a high-level breakup of the nutritional profile of Aloe vera juice (100gms)*:
*Packed juice fortified with Vitamin C
- Total Calories – 15
- Fat – 0 gm
- Protein – 0 gm
- Carbohydrates – 3.75 gm
- Sugars – 3.75 gm
- Water – 96 gm
- Vitamin C – 3.8 mg
- Calcium – 8 mg
- Iron – 0.15 mg
Aloe Vera Benefits (Ghritkumari) for Health, Hair and Skin:
Here are our 10 research-based aloe vera uses for skin, hair and health. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Treats Digestive Disorders:
Aloe vera juice is used as a traditional home remedy to treat digestive problems like indigestion, constipation, flatulence etc. Aloe juice contains many enzymes that can support digestion by breaking down the fats and sugars in food. A study also shows that Aloe contains a compound called Aloin that works like a potent laxative for smoother and consistent bowel movements (1). This makes it ideal for getting rid of toxins in the stomach and free-up your digestive tract.
2. Heals Burns, Cuts and Wounds:
One of the best benefits of Aloe vera is it would healing properties! According to a study, Aloe vera effectively treats wounds caused by first, second-degree burns and surgeries (2). This is attributed to the anti-inflammatory agents of Aloe which can reduce inflammation and pain, along with speeding up the wound-healing process. With over 99% of water content in the gel, Aloe can also offer quick relief from irritation and itching sensation for faster relief.
3. May Revert Pre-Diabetic Conditions:
A study shows that Aloe vera was able to revert abnormal blood sugar levels in pre-diabetic patients, after orally taking the extract for 4 weeks (3). Scientists suggest that this hypocalcemic activity of aloe vera is due to a substance called Acemannan that is effective in reducing blood glucose. Additionally, a prolonged intake of Aloe vera also resulted in increasing insulin sensitivity and correcting the abnormal lipid profile levels in the body.
4. May Help You Lose Weight:
For many people, Aloe vera may support weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate and speeding up the overall digestion process. A study also shows that Aloe can effectively reduce visceral fat accumulation in mice fed with a high-fat diet (4). Another study shows that Aloe has anti-obesity effects on the body by stimulating increasing calorie expenditure in high-fat diet-fed rats (5). However, this effect is not entirely proven in human beings.
See More: Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
5. Has Anti-Cancer Properties:
Aloe vera can also protect our bodies from many types of Cancers. A 2014 study conducted on rats suggests the chemo-protective effects of Aloe are attributed to a compound called Aloin (6). This agent works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and preventing them from turning into large tumours. However, its role in treating certain types of cancers in humans is largely under question with no strong supportive evidence.
6. May Improve Immunity:
Many studies show that Aloe can help in strengthening our natural immune system. The strong anti-microbial properties of this agent can protect the body from many types of infections. One study also shows that the anti-viral activity of Aloe vera can prevent the virus from attaching and entering a new host cell (7). This shows that Aloe vera can be used as an anti-flu drug that protects the body from seasonal influenzas.
7. Promotes Good Oral Health:
The benefits of Aloe vera for oral health are numerous. A study shows that the anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe vera gel proved effective in treating gingivitis and periodontitis (8). It is also known that mouthwashes made with Aloe vera have shown a significant reduction in inflammation and pain associated with oral problems. Also, the anti-fungal properties of Aloe helped reduce oral sores, ulcers etc.
See More: Aloe Vera Oil Benefits
8. Moisturizes Skin:
Aloe vera contains 99% water, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins which can hydrate the skin and adds suppleness. A Brazillian study confirms that a topical application of freeze-dried Aloe extract on skin effectively treated dry skin with its humectant properties (9). This is one of the main beauty benefits of Aloe vera.
9. Delays Ageing-Signs:
Apart from using aloe vera gel as a topical lotion, it can also be consumed as a supplement to achieve healthy skin. A 2009 study shows that patients over 45 years who were given an oral dose of Aloe vera showed significant improvement in facial wrinkles and other ageing signs (10). Aloe was found to be effective in boosting collagen levels in the skin for improved elasticity.
10. May Prevent Hair Loss:
Aloe vera can benefit your hair in numerous ways! It can hydrate your hair and nourish them with its nutrient-rich profile. A study also shows that Aloe vera can work like a natural hair loss treatment with the many hair-enriching enzymes present in it (11). In this experiment, it was observed that a scalp application made with aloe vera juice, coconut milk and wheat germ oil stimulated hair regrowth, along with aloe vera curing scalp problems like dandruff.
How To Use Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a versatile ingredient that can be used in myriad ways to treat specific problems and health conditions. Here are the 3 major forms in which it is popularly used:
- Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe gel is a thick, gel-like substance extracted from the plant’s leaves. It has a bitter taste and is suitable for topical applications.
- Aloe Vera Juice: Aloe juice is a gooey liquid prepared by blending the Aloe gel in a mixer or juicer, along with a small amount of water. This concentrated juice can be added to fruit or vegetable juices to camouflage the bitter taste and enhance the health benefits.
- Aloe Vera Capsules/Pills: Aloe vera capsules or pills are prepared from Aloe extracts. They are highly potent medicines which are to be used as doctor-prescribed supplements.
Recommended Dosage of Aloe Vera per Day:
The safe daily limit of Aloe vera depends on the problem, age and health condition of a person. An average adult can consume around 1-2 tablespoons of concentrated Aloe vera juice diluted in 1 glass of water or juice per day. If you are taking it in the form of tablets, you can take 1-2 pills or as prescribed by the doctor.
Industrial Application of Aloe Vera:
The annual global market of Aloe vera is estimated to be around 1.6 Million USD in 2018. This figure shows the growing market demand for this plant, which is forecasted to grow by 7.6% year on year!
Let us now look into the main industrial applications of Aloe vera:
- Natural Medicines like Supplements, Skin creams, hair serums etc.
- Anti-Cancer Medications
- Oral Medications
- Weight Loss Products
- Immunity Boosting Products
- Lipsticks, Creams, Lotions etc.
- Personal Care products like Soaps, Shampoos etc.
- Energy drinks, juices, smoothies, squash etc.
Side Effects of Aloe Vera:
So far we have seen the many health benefits of Aloe vera. Let us now look into the side effects or health risks associated with Aloe Vera:
- Skin Irritation and Burning sensation on sensitive skin
- Diarrhoea due to the laxative effect of Aloe vera
- Electrolyte Imbalance due to loose stools (also from the laxative properties)
- Cramping and Stomach pain
- Interactions with medicines related to diabetes, heart problems, steroids etc.
- Pregnant women may experience early uterine contractions through oral consumption
After reading about these wonderful benefits of Aloe vera or Ghritkumari, don’t you feel like buying one plant for your home? Along with supporting good health and well-being, Aloe vera also serves decorative purposes. We are curious to know the ways you use Aloe in your daily life. Do let us know and we’d be happy to hear from you!