Aloe vera, sometimes described as a “wonder plant,” is a short-stemmed shrub. Aloe is a genus that contains more than 500 species of flowering succulent plants. Many Aloes occur naturally in North Africa.
According to Kew Gardens, England’s royal botanical center of excellence, Aloe vera has been used for centuries and is currently more popular than ever.
It is cultivated worldwide, primarily as a crop for “Aloe gel,” which comes from the leaf.
Aloe vera is widely used today in:
- Food – it is approved by the FDA as a flavoring.
- Food supplements.
- Herbal remedies.
For a moisturizer that doesn’t leave a greasy film on your face, look no further than Aloe Vera. It softens the skin without clogging pores.
Aloe Vera gel can also be used as an aftershave treatment as it will both hydrate the skin and help heal razor burn and small nicks.
Research has shown that Aloe Vera extract is an effective natural substance for improving skin hydration – making it a useful ingredient in cosmetic formulations and as a treatment for dry skin.
2. Accelerate Wound Healing
Aloe is most commonly used as a topical treatment for cuts, burns and other wounds – and with good reason. A review of four experimental studies found that Aloe Vera may reduce the healing time of first or second degree burns by almost nine days, when compared to the control groups.
These incredible results may be explained by the fact that Aloe speeds up skin cell reproduction by as much as eight times and penetrates the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) four times faster than water, says Dr. Danhof of North Texas Research Laboratories.
3. Diabetes-induced foot ulcers
A study carried out at the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy, India, and published in the International Wound Journal looked at Aloe’s ability to treat ulcers.
They reported that a “gel formed with carbopol 974p (1 percent) and Aloe vera promotes significant wound healing and closure in diabetic rats compared with the commercial product and provides a promising product to be used in diabetes-induced foot ulcers.”
4. Antioxidant and possible antimicrobial properties
Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, published a study in the journal Molecules.
The team set out to determine whether the methanol extract of leaf skins and flowers of Aloe vera might have beneficial effects on human health. The scientists focused on the extract’s possible antioxidant and antimycoplasmic activities.
Mycoplasma is a type of bacteria that lack a cell wall; they are unaffected by many common antibiotics. Antimycoplasmic substances destroy these bacteria.
They reported that both Aloe vera flower and leaf extracts had antioxidant properties, especially the leaf skin extract. The leaf skin extract also exhibited antimycoplasmic properties.
The authors concluded that “A. Vera extracts from leaf skin and flowers can be considered as good natural antioxidant sources.”
5. Treats Constipation
The use of aloe latex as a laxative is well-researched; the anthraquinones present in the latex create a potent laxative that increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis, which are contractions that break down food and mix the chyme.
In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of 28 healthy adults, aloe vera latex was reported to have a laxative effect compared to a placebo that was stronger than the stimulant laxative phenolphthalein — making aloe vera a natural constipation relief remedy
6. Protection from skin damage after radiation therapy
A study carried out at the University of Naples, Italy, tested five different topical creams to see how effective they might be in protecting the skin of breast cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. One of these creams contained Aloe.
They divided 100 patients into five groups of 20; each was prescribed a different topical treatment. They applied the creams twice daily, starting 15 days before radiation therapy treatment, and carried on for 1 month afterwards.
During the 6-week period, the participants underwent weekly skin assessments.
In the journal Radiation Oncology, the scientists reported that the preventive use of the topical hydrating creams reduced the incidence of skin side effects in the women treated with radiation therapy for breast cancer, none performed significantly better.
“All moisturizing creams used in this study were equally valid in the treatment of skin damage induced by radiotherapy”.