Aloe vera has been known for centuries for its medicinal properties. The etymology of the term “aloe” probably derives from a Greek word that means “salt”, alluding to the sea areas, favorite habitat of the plant. According to other opinions, the term refers to an Arabic word which means bitter, in relation to the very bitter juice that is obtained from the plant.
Aloe vera: a bit of botany and chemical composition
The aloe vera plant is a perennial herbaceous plant. It can grow to be one meter tall and the leaves are arranged in tuft. They are lanceolate with acute apex, fleshy and light green. By etching the leaf in depth we see the gelatinous and transparent mass from which gel or juice is obtained. It is rich in:
- Complex sugars: glucomannans, mannans, and acetylated mannans in particular
- Simple sugars: mannose and glucose
- Anthraquinones: aloin A and B
- Vitamins: group A, C, B, E and folic acid
- Minerals: iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, potassium, sodium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, germanium
- Essential and non-essential amino acids
- Plant sterols
- Phospholipids: choline and inosito
The most interesting components are the complex sugars present inside the leaf. They have an immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and healing action. Aloin A and B are found in the outer membrane of the leaf and function as detoxifiers and laxatives. The B typology in particular stands out for its bitter taste and its acrid smell.
Immune-stimulating and energizing action of the aloe
The aloe vera plant, in particular its gel, is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals, molecules that damage the cells of the body. When these attack cells, they cause premature aging, for example provoking wrinkles. Moreover, among the polysaccharides there is the acemannan, a powerful immunomodulant, a molecule capable of regulating the immune system’s response to infectious agents. The immunostimulatory action of aloe vera is one of the most appreciated! Aloe vera juice is an excellent ally not only to regulate body weight, but also to eliminate all the toxic substances that accumulate in the body. When not expelled with constancy, such substances can cause fatigue and a general sense of malaise and tiredness. Aloe helps you increase energy levels and control weight.
Joint pain and blood sugar: treat them with aloe
Inflammation in the joints can be treated with aloe from both inside and outside. Massaging the inflamed areas with the gel reduces the pain that could be caused by diseases such as arthritis. The same effect is obtained by drinking aloe juice daily.
Another beneficial property of this plant is the ability to stabilize the level of glucose in the blood. It is particularly indicated to treat type 2 diabetes. The gel obtained from the leaves of the plant helps to counteract one of the consequences of diabetes, namely the insensibility of the lower and upper limbs (hands and feet).
Aloe vera: acne, hair and sensitive skin
Aloe vera gel is one of the oldest remedies to combat all those problems related to skin diseases. This plant with countless beneficial properties has a healing, refreshing, soothing, moisturizing and antiseptic action. By applying the gel directly on the skin, it gets moisturized, bright and elastic. It is used to treat insect bites, sunburns, allergic reactions, first degree burns, inflammation caused by diseases and tattoos. It is particularly recommended for individuals who have sensitive and delicate facial skin.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the aloe are also used in the aesthetic field, in particular for acne. This problem afflicts so many people, especially teenagers. Some subjects that are predisposed or follow a wrong diet produce more sebum, that mixes with the dead skin cells and provokes the inflammation of the pores and their occlusion, determining the formation of the classic red papule that we all know. Applying the gel twice a day on the inflamed pustule reduces redness and prevents the formation of any scars.
In the aesthetic field aloe is also effective to make the hair smoother and shinier. It balances the pH of scalp and hair and promotes growth. It also prevents hair fall, dandruff and itching.
Aloe vera gel: high cholesterol, heartburn and constipation
Many studies have been carried out on the beneficial properties of this millenary plant. Some of these have shown that aloe gel has the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, to the benefit of HDL cholesterol.
But aloe also helps speed up digestion, contributing to a greater production of digestive enzymes, so as to quickly break down proteins, sugars and fats. In fact, it is advisable to take aloe juice before meals to speed up digestion. We must not underestimate how important a correct digestion is. Digestive problems do not only cause a feeling of heaviness, but affect also the absorption of nutrients and consequently the possibility of suffering from pathologies caused by nutritional deficiencies.
The gel is also effective for counteracting heartburn and gastritis. By drinking aloe juice, a sort of protective barrier against the acids is created in the stomach. The clinical studies have also shown that aloe is also able to fight gastric ulcers and prevent their increase. One of the many beneficial properties of the aloe is its laxative effect. The juice of the plant is rich in fibers that help improve intestinal peristalsis and fight constipation. Daily use helps not only to counteract the problem, but also to prevent it.
Care for oral hygiene with aloe
Aloe gel is an excellent remedy for diseases affecting teeth and gums. The natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are effective for treating bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. The application is easy, you just need to massage the gel on the painful or damaged areas with a cotton swab or gauze.