If you look through your cosmetics, moisturisers and body lotions, you’re almost certain to own at least one that contains aloe vera; that’s because aloe vera has been widely used for many years now as a soothing topical skin treatment, dating even as far back as ancient Egypt. The spiny succulent plant contains a kind of gel that is extracted from the leaves, and is known to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, that make it perfect for use on minor burns, as well as dry and blemished skin.
- When the juice is consumed before a meal, it is said to aid digestion by encouraging the production of digestive enzymes in your stomach, which in turn break down your food more thoroughly. It is also believed, due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, to reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, painful gas, and constipation as it passes through your system.
- This anti-inflammatory quality of aloe vera supplements may also by beneficial to those suffering from arthritic pain, or sore muscles.
- There are studies that show that aloe vera may be useful in lowering blood sugar levels, and although research does not seem to be definitive yet, it suggests that aloe vera may become useful in the treatment of those suffering certain types of diabetes.
- Aloe vera could help reduce anaemia, with some research suggesting it may stimulate the production of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow.
- Since it may have the ability to boost white blood cell production, aloe vera may improve our immune system as a result, since white blood cells are responsible for combating disease and infection in the body.
- Aloe vera could aid weight loss, since by aiding digestion it speeds up the metabolism, and lowers the amount of time that it takes for food to pass through our systems- this means the body has less time to process the food passing through, and so may absorb less calories.
What side effects?
The use of aloe vera as a topical skin treatment has no dangerous side effects linked with it, although those with sensitive skin may find it a little drying. However, when taken orally, there are a few minor effects that you should be aware of:
Aloe Vera does contain a powerful laxative, that while useful in helping constipation, may lead to stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Those with diabetes should always be careful when taking supplements that lower blood sugar levels, since it may interfere with medication that you are already taking, so do consult your doctor before you take it.
What the Medical Studies say:
- An early study into the use of aloe vera on skin abrasions showed that while it is effective on minor injuries, it may actually hinder healing in deep wounds.
- One study into the consumption of non-decolourised aloe vera in rats suggested that aloe vera could potentially cause intestinal cancer after prolonged periods of use.
- A study done in 2009 showed that aloe vera could be effective at combating mouth bacteria, and hence lower the risk of cavities. It could also be used as a form of pain relief for sore gums and teeth.
What the Papers say:
BBC News: (Click article for full size)
Well Blogs: (Click article for full size)
Times of India: (Click article for full size)
What People on the Web Say:
It’s helped my digestion!
I take 3 ounces of pure aloe vera juice mixed with grape juice and water. My digestive tract has been pretty good the last 2 weeks due to this new treatment.– maremoser
My stomach is more settled!
Really helped calm my tummy down and feels healing on the inside.– chunkydancer
It clears my complexion!
I just put some on a nasty patch of pimples on my chin and it totally helped! -Woke up to them healing nicely instead of worse! Yay! I was worried it would clog my pores but no sign of that.– LittleFace
It moisturises my eczema!
I have used pure aloe vera on my skin & it is soothing & also drink pure aloe regularly which helps moisturise from the inside.– AusSue