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Famous as a topical treatment for sunburn and other skin conditions and irritations, aloe vera also boasts a landslide of other health benefits that scientists are only just beginning to understand. Through all the studies conducted on this plant, no negative effects have been found. On the opposite, tests on animals have shown that the animals lived 25 percent longer than those not consuming the aloe. Furthermore, animals consuming aloe showed reduced incidences of heart disease, leukemia, and kidney disease. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this remarkable herb!
Although Aloe’s makeup is predominantly water (approximately 96-99%) the remaining ingredients (Vitamins, Minerals, Sugars, Enzymes, Lignins, Amino Acids, Anthraquinones, Saponins, Fatty Acids, and Salicylic Acid) pack quite a powerful nutritional punch. Scientists believe that it is; A) the huge variety of constituents in aloe (close to 100), and B) their ability to work synergistically, that makes aloe such a powerful helper for such a variety of ailments.
Despite having only trace amounts of B12, the other active ingredients greatly increase the absorption and bio-availability of the B12 to the body thus making aloe a valuable addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Though Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, interestingly enough it has also been shown to aid the body in absorbing Vitamin E which is fat-soluble. These findings would suggest that aloe may help in the absorption of all fat and water-soluble vitamins making it a wonderful addition to any menu.
Externally aloe has been shown to give relief to skin problems including sunburn, acne, rashes, cuts, insect bites, and poison ivy. In addition to its soothing effect, aloe has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties helping accelerate healing and preventing infection.
Taken internally aloe is beneficial in combating a plethora of ailments from irritable bowel syndrome to cancer, and hemorrhoids to HIV. It is believed this is largely due to its ability to help regulate the immune system. In those with weak immune systems, it can stimulate immune response while for those suffering from an overactive immune system such as allergy sufferers, it can help calm the immune system. Beneficial as a mouth rinse, aloe helps relieve canker sores and gum disease and accelerates the healing of other dental ailments. It also has a wonderful reputation as a cleanser for many organs, especially the colon.
The list of health benefits for aloe vera does just go on and on. What more needs to be said? Time to get a shovel, some potting mix, and pop a few plants around your kitchen and living room.
Warning! Aloe may have a laxative effect and cause abdominal cramps in some people if over-consumed.
Tip!!! When harvesting your own Aloe Vera, prop the leaves up vertically and allow the yellow sap to drain out for 10 minutes. It’s the yellow sap, otherwise known as aloe latex, which is responsible for causing cramps and the plant's laxative effects.