Aloe vera is one of those houseplants that even someone without a green thumb can grow with ease, but it’s more than just a pretty plant. The plant has been used for millennia because of its medicinal properties.
In fact, Aloe vera was renowned in ancient Greece, Egypt, Mexico, China, India, and other cultures as far back as 2,000 years ago. The plant became monumental once Aloe Vera was proven to help treat dermatitis in the US in the 1930s.
It’s hard not to see the benefits of Aloe vera, which is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. But in case you’re wondering just why the Egyptians referred to the Aloe plant as the “plant of immortality,” here are the top 10 health benefits of Aloe vera.
1. Aloe Vera Acts as a Natural Inflammatory
Aloe vera has been shown to act as a natural inflammatory if applied topically or ingested. But what does this mean, and how can it benefit you on your holistic journey? Let’s take a look.
How Does Aloe Vera Prevent Inflammation?
Without getting too technical, Aloe vera contains many chemical properties that help reduce inflammation and promote healing, as documented in this review.
A few of these properties include:
- Magnesium Lactate: Prevents the skin from itching and becoming inflamed as it heals.
- Polysaccharides: Aloe vera is rich in a compound called glucomannan, which helps your body produce collagen—a structural protein responsible for keeping connective tissues, joints, and skin healthy and supple.
Aloe Vera Inflammation Benefits
Through its amazing chemical properties, Aloe vera can help reduce inflammation and promote the following medicinal benefits:
- Wound healing
- Sunburn relief
- Reduced scarring
- Ulcer relief
- Improved psoriasis, and more
2. Aloe Vera May Help with Blood Sugar Regulation
For those with diabetes, Aloe vera may be a beacon of light to rollercoaster blood sugars that come with the disease. Multiple studies, such as this Pub-Med Study and this other Pub-Med Study>, show promising results in Aloe vera juice’s ability to lower blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes.
Another study from NCBI concluded that supplementing Aloe vera L. gel powder improves fasting glucose levels in study participants who aren’t insulin-dependent. Keep in mind, Aloe vera alone is probably not enough to regulate blood sugars. In this last study, participants saw the biggest improvements in sugars through a combination of Aloe vera and nutrition counseling.
Overall, however, these studies highlight Aloe vera as an antidiabetic agent, though more studies are needed to show just how effective the plant is at reducing increased blood sugar levels.
3. Aloe Vera May Lower Blood Pressure
On a similar note, Aloe vera may contribute to improved blood pressure. According to the CDC, almost half of US adults have hypertension or high blood pressure. This silent killer often shows little to no symptoms, and more than half a million people died from the disease in just 2019 alone.
How Aloe Vera Might Improve Blood Pressure
While Aloe vera is no cure for hypertension, and a healthy lifestyle of exercise, diet, and medication can go a long way, the plant may still aid in the severity of high systolic and diastolic blood pressures. There are a few AJOL studies to support the potential effects of Aloe vera on blood pressure in humans, but one NCBI study shows that Aloe vera helps reduce high cholesterol, which is a known cause of cardiovascular disease.
4. Aloe Vera May Provide Heartburn Relief
If you’ve ever experienced heartburn, then you know it’s not fun. For those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it’s an all-too-common issue that can affect daily life. While research is limited, Aloe vera’s ability to reduce digestion issues like heartburn is promising.
A recent Science Direct clinical trial showed that Aloe vera gel syrup was as effective in treating GERD in participants as popular GERD drugs ranitidine and omeprazole.
5. Aloe Vera Has Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antiseptic Properties
Another way that Aloe vera can help heal wounds is through its antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. In other words, Aloe vera works as a skin protectant by killing unwanted germs and viruses, preventing infections from jeopardizing an injury’s healing process.
The Science Behind Aloe Vera’s Germ-Fighting Abilities
Many studies highlight how the homeopathic plant contains handfuls of natural, germ-fighting chemicals. Here are just four of the properties that help keep your body protected:
- Enzymes: Aloe vera’s enzymes speed up and break down intrusive bio-organisms and chemicals.
- Saponins These substances have been shown to possess anticancer and antibacterial potentials.
- Steroids: Aloe vera contains steroids, like cholesterol, that work as an antiseptic.
- Sugars: Sugars: Some polysaccharide and monosaccharide sugars found in the Aloe vera plant contain anti-viral potential.
6. Aloe Vera Works as A Mouthwash
Say goodbye to that Listerine. From the vitamin C to the antimicrobial properties, Aloe vera is proven to:
- Reduce plaque buildup on your teeth.
- Soothe bleeding or irritated gums.
- Prevent yeast and bacteria growth.
- Soothe inflamed tonsils and throats.
Research from NCBI shows that Aloe vera may work as well as conventional mouthwashes without harsh chemicals. When compared to standard mouthwash, 100% pure Aloe vera juice was equally effective at reducing plaque buildup.
7. Aloe Vera Helps Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Donned as perhaps one of the primary health benefits of Aloe vera, skin hydration—and the effective improvement in appearance—is one of its most revered properties. Aloe vera keeps skin looking fresh and youthful due to its collagen-enhancing abilities and nutrient-rich properties, which are documented in numerous studies.
It wasn’t until the early 1970s, however, that Aloe vera hit the markets as a miracle plant. This change happened when scientists discovered how to extract and preserve Aloe vera gel without a loss in medicinal properties.
Aloe gel is effective at:
- Moisturizing skin.
- Preventing dryness.
- Promoting healthy, new skin.
- Softening skin.
- Soothing inflamed skin.
8. Aloe Vera May Control and Prevent Acne
But the plant doesn’t just stop at hydration. Another potential health benefit of using Aloe vera includes acne treatment. Western medicine for acne control tends to come with a slew of side effects, like dry skin, redness, peeling, inflammation, and irritation. Aloe vera, on the other hand, acts as a mild acne medicine while preventing many of these side effects.
In fact, research suggests that some of the very anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make Aloe vera so effective at treating skin and body ailments also help reduce, treat, and prevent blemishes. It’s no surprise, then, that the anti-microbial plant is a common ingredient in more natural acne treatments.
9. Aloe Vera May Reduce the Appearance of Scars
On a theme of blemishes, Aloe vera is known to prevent wound scars and improve the appearance of older scars.
According to one study, the plant does this through its naturally occurring mucopolysaccharides, rich amino acids, and zinc. When compared to the placebo group, study participants who used Aloe vera gel to treat dry skin experienced fewer cases of eczema, dryness, and scarring.
10. Aloe Vera Reduces the Appearance of Wrinkles
As the last, and perhaps most sought-after, health benefit of Aloe vera is its potential anti-aging properties. The cosmetic industry has picked up on the natural effects of the Aloe vera plant, with countless wrinkle-ridding products toting the infamous plant as a popular ingredient and selling point.
And, while not all cosmetics utilize the true, natural components of pure Aloe vera extract, this miracle plant continues to improve the lives of those who use it. Research shows that Aloe vera can greatly reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Those who participated saw an increase in skin elasticity and a decrease in wrinkles, with researchers noting a measurable increase in collagen.