Little known medicinal value of Aloe Vera

A common ingredient in beauty products, aloe vera has also many uses in traditional home remedies. An excellent treatment for burns, the gel hidden inside the spiny leaves may offer relief from many common ailments including rheumatoid arthritis.

Aloe vera is commonly used in cosmetics. But did you know that this succulent plant has many medicinal properties and effects against common ailments as well?

Aloe Vera offers relief from rheumatoid arthritis

The Kota tribals in the Nilgiris have used the pulp of the aloe plant for treating the pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis. There is some scientific evidence to back the plant's anti-inflammatory effects. It is believed that the presence of mannose-6-phosphate, which is anti-inflammatory, is what gives aloe vera this property.

A simple home remedy for rheumatoid arthritis is to warm aloe vera pulp (if you have access to it) and apply it on the affected areas. In the absence of fresh pulp, aloe vera gel may also be used.

Heals burns quicker

Aloe vera is nearly miraculous in healing burns. It contains a chemical compound called bradykininase that is known for its pain relieving property. A simple solution to treat minor first-degree and second-degree burns is to immediately tear off a fresh leaf, split it, and rub the fresh juice on the affected area. Relief comes within minutes. Some studies suggest that the gel may help to cut down burn healing time by as much as 9 days when compared with traditional medicines for burns. Note that severe burns may not be treatable with aloe.

Whether or not aloe vera is good for healing other types of wounds (like infected wounds, surgical cuts, lacerations etc.) is not clear, though many tribes have been using it for healing wounds.

The succulent has anti-bacterial properties

Aloe vera has been traditionally used as an antibacterial and anti-parasitic home remedy. Aloe vera gel is rich in polyphenolic antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants may be antibacterial. This makes the aloe gel an effective remedy for acne, prickly heat and boils and other bacterial skin infections.

Soothes mouth ulcers

Studies have been carried out to find out whether or not aloe vera patches applied to mouth ulcers can reduce the size of the ulcers. The results were positive. Aloe vera patch or gel may be just as effective as steroids such as corticosteroids in treating mouth ulcers. But the gel does not seem to speed up recovery in comparison to mainstream drugs. Mouth ulcers through both treatment methods take about a week to ten days to heal. It is definitely a safer way to treat ulcers, as, unlike prescribed drugs, the gel has no side effects.

A cure for constipation

Aloe vera contains a component called aloin in the sticky yellow latex (not the gel) just under the leaf. Aloin is a well-known laxative. In fact, 2 teaspoons of aloe vera oil at bedtime is recommended as an Ayurvedic treatment for constipation. Aloe juice may also be taken for its laxative effects.

However, there have been reports that taking aloe vera latex orally may cause hepatitis. Because of the safety concerns of taking aloe vera latex orally, the FDA has banned it as an OTC medicine in the US since 2002. It is advisable to take aloe vera supplements and juice orally only at recommended doses or speak to a physician before you take them.

An excellent agent for skin health

There have been conflicting reports about the ability of aloe vera to reduce wrinkles and improve skin condition. Some studies have suggested that topical aloe vera gel application may increase the production of collagen and improve the elasticity of skin over 90 days.

Another study found that the gel may reduce redness caused by erythema. At the same time, this study found that the gel dehydrates the cells of the skin. Overall, there is some evidence to suggest that aloe vera may remove wrinkles, but more research is needed for confirmation.

Powerful skin healer

The aloe vera plant has some amazing skin healing properties that provide relief from various skin conditions -

  • Shingles:

    Shingles is caused by the herpes virus and it creates awfully painful lesions on the affected area. Applying aloe vera gel on the infected skin prompts it to heal quicker than it otherwise would. Certain substances in the gel promote the dilation of capillaries (in the blood vessels) when applied to the skin. This increases the blood circulation to the infected area, resulting in speedy recovery.
  • Psoriasis:

    This chronic skin condition is identified by itchy, dry, skin scales. A study that involved patients of this disease indicated promising results. Patients were made to apply aloe vera gel on the infected skin, and over eighty percent of participants showed a remarkable clearing of skin in comparison to those who used prescribed medication.
  • Acne:

    The healing power of aloe can be observed on acne prone skins as well. Another study showed a whopping ninety percent of breakouts healed within a couple of days of applying the plant gel on the infected skin. It worked better than conventional topical creams containing Benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, clindamycin, and erythromycin etc.

    Aloe vera is easy to grow. It needs very little care as it belongs to the family of succulents. It can be grown in a pot. The plant is also an air purifier and acts as a filter. It removes harmful chemicals trapped within homes; chemicals that are emitted by the paints, cleaners, varnishes and dyes etcetera that are used within closed spaces. It is known to absorb benzene and formaldehyde that float around in the air, in our homes. It is a cheap, hassle-free air purifier that removes toxins and surrounds you with pure oxygen.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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