Aloe vera is a well-loved plant in many households, where it earns its place on the windowsill by providing soothing, rapid relief from cuts and burns.
Yet it is much more than a powerhouse wound healer, having in excess of 75 bio-active components that help the body in many ways, from calming acne to boosting the immune system.
Aloe as One of the Best Medicinal House Plants
Medicinal aloe vera offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic and antimicrobial benefits that more than explain why the Egyptians called it the plant of immortality and Native American tribes referred to it as the wand of heaven or the medicine plant.
Here is a deeper look at what aloe vera can do.
Aloe vera is rich in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid and choline.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be common among people aged 65 or older as well as in those eating a meat-free diet, but supplemental vitamin B12 isn't always readily absorbed into the body.
The good news is that some studies show how consuming aloe can increase the bioavailability of B12, making it easier to absorb and be of assistance.
Along with vitamins, aloe has plenty of minerals, such as copper, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, chromium and selenium. They work to enhance enzyme functionality and boost metabolic pathways that keep cells in prime condition.
Amino Acids and Fatty Acids
Offering 20 out of 22 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids, aloe vera helps to boost the immune system and ensure proper synthesis of hormones, proteins and enzymes.
Plus, it has anti-inflammatory fatty acids like beta-sisosterol, campesterol and lupeol, and other healthy plant sterols like oleic, palmitic, linolenic, linoleic and stearic acids.
Rich in enzymes, including amylase, lipase, bradykinase and six others, aloe vera gives a natural boost to metabolism and the digestive system overall.
Most enzymes found in aloe help break down fats and sugars, while bradykinase decreases skin inflammation.
Enjoying the Health Benefits
Apart from using the thick gel to soothe burns and help wounds heal quicker, people can add the gel to hand lotions and shampoos for extra moisturizing.
Aloe vera juice, which is aloe gel filtered and mixed with water, is another option for those who wish to consume aloe internally.
Aloe juice offers a host of benefits, including detoxifying the liver and kidneys; balancing pH levels; easing constipation; calming acne, IBS and colitis; and boosting heart and immune health.
People interested in taking aloe juice for reasons other than constipation should make sure they purchase decolorized, low anthraquinone aloe juice, which doesn't contain high amounts of emodin and aloin laxatives.
Choosing inner leaf/inner gel aloe juice will also help people avoid these laxative compounds, which can cause toxicity if consumed too often.
Finally, according to a study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Science, using aloe juice as a mouthwash can help decrease dental plaque and inflammation as effectively as commercial mouthwashes containing the chemical compound chlorhexidine.
It's clear that aloe vera is a powerful plant that can help the body heal inside and out – and it all starts with a happy plant sitting on the windowsill.
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