7 health benefits of aloe vera
by Harry • 7 minutes read
Last updated: 01 Jun, 2022
Aloe vera has long been known for its health benefits - whether you’re struggling with digestive problems or just looking to clear up your skin, the plant’s medicinal properties are thought to benefit our bodies in a variety of ways. But how?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe - the leaves of which contain a soft clear gel which has been praised for its medicinal benefits. The plant’s juice is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C, and both are known to play a key role in our immune system and overall health.
This is no recent discovery. In fact, research indicates that aloe vera has been used for its wellness perks for centuries in Greece, Egypt, India, Japan and more.
Whether you eat it, drink it or simply apply it to your skin, there are countless benefits toted by people around the world, but we’re going to boil it all down to 7 major upsides of aloe vera, all supported by scientific research.
Warning: Although aloe vera may contribute to our health in different ways, it is not a substitute for a healthy diet, exercise and medication. Always speak to a medical professional to seek advice tailored to you.
According to the American Heart Foundation, high blood pressure is a silent killer. Otherwise known as hypertension, the condition can gradually worsen over time without showing any symptoms. The risk of heart attack, stroke and other complications are greatly heightened when we don’t take the necessary precautions to maintain our blood pressure.
One way to help this is by using aloe vera gel powder.
In a study in the National Library of Medicine, aloe vera gel powder was found to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Researchers on the study suggested that this may be due to the two anti-inflammatory components in aloe vera — aloe-emodin and aloin.
Looking after our blood sugar levels is vital to keeping our bodies ticking along, but it can be life or death for those with diabetes - something that affects 1 in 11 adults around the world.
Of course a healthy diet and physical activity can help lower the risk of diabetes for most and improve our blood sugar levels, but aloe vera has also been found to have positive effects.
A 2016 study conducted by The Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics found evidence suggesting that aloe vera has benefits on glycemic control. Results of the trials showed that aloe vera - consumed as crushed leaves, juice, powder, or as an extract - improved glycemic control in people with both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers claimed that the effects took place due to aloe vera’s ability to reduce glucose absorption in our stomachs.
As a natural anti-inflammatory, it comes as no surprise that aloe vera can help reduce the effects of acne.
Although there is limited evidence to suggest that acne can altogether cure acne or eliminate scars, it is widely regarded as something that can help fight these issues.
Aloe vera contains a compound called aloin, which is a depigmentation agent, meaning it can help to lighten dark areas on the skin. This is what makes aloe vera gel so useful in counteracting the appearance of dark acne scars that are left behind once a pimple has healed.
Now, aloe vera alone won’t entirely clear up acne, but it could help. A study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, researched the effects of adding aloe vera into an acne skincare routine. They compared two groups: one using topical tretinoin (a prescription drug used to treat acne) and aloe vera gel, the other using tretinoin alone. By the end of the research period, the group that used aloe vera had less redness and fewer pimples than those treated with tretinoin alone.
Check out Amazon's Choice here - Aloe Vera Gel Moisturizer Acne Treatment 500ml (£12.99)
Aloe is also a popular choice for fighting the effects of sunburn. Its moisturising capabilities make it a hugely reliable option for relieving some of the nasty burning and drying sensations we get after sitting in the sun for too long.
A study in The Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, suggested that the plants ability to moisturise and fight inflammation alongside containing glucomannan (a regenerative compound), provides a great link between aloe vera and calming sunburns.
Why not try Amazon's choice for aloe vera lotions? - Aloe Pura Organic Aloe Vera Lotion with Shea Butter (£5.95)
Perhaps the most infamous benefit of aloe vera is its alleged anti-ageing effects on our skin. But just how true is this?
Well the moisturising abilities of aloe vera gel are undeniable and this is why you’ll see aloe vera all over the facemask market. But is this really enough to claim any anti-ageing properties?
In short - yes.
Moisturising traps water in the skin, which helps it appear more youthful per the Mayo Clinic. Dry skin on the other hand, can lead to premature wrinkling and an overall, less healthy appearance to our skin. The reason aloe vera is such a good moisturiser is due to the high count of mucopolysaccharides, which is a molecule that holds moisture in the skin.
A study in the National Library of Medicine also suggested that aloe activates fibroblasts, which helps our skin appear more youthful by encouraging the production of collagen and elastin fibres.
Here is one of the best-reviewed anti-aging serums you can find online that contains aloe vera - TruSkin Anti-Aging Serum (£35.99)
A past investigation in the National Library of Medicine on the ‘effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health’ using a ‘triple blind randomised control trial’, found that aloe vera–based mouthwash was effective in reducing gingival bleeding and plaque.
The study took 345 subjects, split them into three groups of 115 and gave one an aloe-based mouthwash, one a mouthwash containing standard germicide chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash and one a placebo.
The results were observed after 30 days and found that the aloe vera mouthwash was just as effective as the standard type.
So, if you’re getting sick and tired of Listerine and Colgate, aloe vera dental products could be a suitable alternative for you.
Why not try Amazon's Choice? Aloedent - Whitening Aloe Vera Fluoride Free Toothpaste (£2.89)
Although it is no substitute for laxatives, a fibre-rich diet, and increased water intake, aloe vera can help relieve constipation.
The Mayo Clinic defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. If this is the case for yourself, you may want to look at incorporating aloe vera into your diet.
An analysis published in The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, looked at three different studies and found that people with irritable bowel syndrome who received oral aloe vera extract, had a significant improvement in their symptoms.
Warning: This information regards the ‘aloe latex’ part of the plant which (according to the Mayo Clinic) can have some negative side effects if taken improperly, such as - cramps, diarrhoea, potassium deficiency, and kidney damage. Please speak to a medical professional before consuming aloe latex.
Disclaimer: We provide this information for educational purposes only. No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
- Why High Blood Pressure is a "Silent Killer" - https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer
- Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect of Aloe vera L. in non-insulin dependent diabetics - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857397/
- Diabetes Prevalence - Diabetes.co.uk - https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html#:~:text=World%20diabetes%20prevalence,with%20diabetes%20worldwide%20by%202040.
- Effect of Aloe vera on glycaemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcpt.12382
- Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09546634.2013.768328?journalCode=ijdt20
- The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6330525/
- Mayo Clinic - Wrinkles - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/symptoms-causes/syc-20354927
- Aloe Vera: A Short Review - Indian Journal of Dermatology - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
- Effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: triple blind randomized control trial - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24603910/
- Mayo Clinic - Constipation - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/symptoms-causes/syc-20354253
- Aloe vera Is Effective and Safe in Short-term Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175553/
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