Extraordinary Healing Powers of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a succulent plant and there are more than 300 species of it. However, it’s the Aloe barbadensis species that has proven to have medicinal properties. Scientists have identified 75 nutrients in the gel of the aloe plant and it contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, choline, folic acid, alpha-tocopherol, and beta-carotene. This member of the lily family also provides 19 of the 20 required amino acids and seven of the eight essential ones. And it contains digestive enzymes like amylase to break down starch and sugar, and lipase to help break down fats. In addition to all that, aloe gel and whole leaf extracts can improve absorption of both vitamin C and vitamin E.
While Aloe is already know to help topically with skin, a study from 2009 found that taking it orally reduces facial wrinkles. Thirty healthy women, over the age of 45, took aloe vera gel as a supplement; one group took a low dose (1,200 mg/day) and a second group took a high-dose (3,600 mg/day).
“The researchers measured signs of skin aging at the beginning and end of the study. After just 90 days, the researchers found that facial wrinkles improved significantly in both groups. But in the lower dose group facial elasticity also improved”, reports The Epoch Times.
It seems that aloe increases collagen production, which better supports the structure of the skin and thus leads to fewer wrinkles. The researchers also found that aloe decreased the gene activity that causes collagen to become damaged in the first place! Whole Foods produce section- here I come!
2. To help with psoriasis
Swedish researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 60 patients with psoriasis and found that an aloe vera extract cream (0.5%) was effective to treat psoriasis. The participants were given either the cream or placebo cream to apply three times a day for five consecutive days per week. The study lasted for 16 weeks with only four weeks of active treatment and 12 months of follow-up. At the end of the study, the cream with aloe cured 25-30 of the psoriasis patients compared to only two out of 30 patients in the placebo group.
It may also help prevent and treat skin cancer. In a study from the University of Belgrade School of Medicine, aloe vera was found to inhibit the skin cell proliferation that accompanies skin cancer. Researchers radiated human skin cells to simulate sun damage and trigger the process of proliferation that leads to skin tumors. By treating the cells with aloe-emodin, a constituent of aloe, the team was able to significantly stop the proliferation process. (Might be good practice to apply aloe after a day at the pool or beach- even as a preventative measure.)
But its cancer effects aren’t just limited to skin- it may also help prevent cervical cancer. Published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, a study found that, “a cream containing aloe vera, curcumin, reetha, and amla (brand name “Basant”) is an effective and safe therapy for the clearance of cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Researchers studied a group of women with HPV that had not yet progressed to high grade cervical neoplasias (i.e. cervical pre-cancer). Of the women who used the Basant vaginal cream for 30 consecutive days, 87.7% cleared the HPV infection compared to 73.3% of the placebo group”, according to Epoch Times.
Aloe also improves treatment outcomes in cancer patients; in a study of 240 patients with metastatic tumors, some received chemo alone or chemo with 10 ml of aloe given orally three times a day and this group had significantly better regression of their tumors and better 3-year survival rates.
4. Periodontal Disease
Aloe vera has also been found to be helpful when added to toothpaste and mouthwash, as it reduces plaque buildup on the teeth, but that’s not all:
- In one study, 15 patients with periodontitis received injections of aloe vera gel in the gums around certain teeth and they all saw improvements in plaque build-up and their periodontitis.
- Researchers in India compared 100% aloe vera juice with a placebo and a chemical mouthwash in 300 people. For four days the subjects either used the chlorhexidine, aloe vera, or placebo mouthwash. At the end of the study aloe vera juice worked just as well to reduce plaque buildup as the chemical mouthwash but with no side effects. It also worked significantly better than the placebo.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Thailand, 54 patients with OLP (oral lichen planus) were given either aloe vera gel or placebo. After eight weeks 81% of the aloe group had a good response compared to only 4% of the placebo group. And 7% of the aloe group had complete clinical remission while 33% had complete resolution of burning pain.
- A Spanish study with 64 patients suffering from OLP were randomized in a double-blind study, with either aloe vera or placebo. The aloe group received a topical dose of 0.4 ml (70% concentration) three times a day and in that group, 31.2% of patients had complete pain remission after 6 weeks compared to only 17.2% of the placebo group.
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
It’s also been shown to help improve irritable bowel symptoms. In a study using 44 patients with mild to moderate active ulcerative colitis, scientists used 100 ml of aloe vera gel or placebo twice a day and saw the disease improve by 30 to 47% in those who used the aloe vera compared to only 7 to 14% for the placebo.
Epoch Times reports that aloe vera helps lower blood glucose levels, “In one study of five patients with non-insulin diabetes, subjects were given half a teaspoon of the dried sap of the aloe plant (aloes) per day for 4 to 14 weeks. Fasting blood glucose levels fell an average of 122 points in every patient with no change in body weight. The researchers concluded that aloes contains a hypoglycemic agent that lowers blood glucose.”
7. Wound Healing
In a study in Iran involving 90 women, researchers dressed cesarean section incisions with aloe vera gel, this increased their healing within 24 hours of surgery. And a preliminary study in Nigeria found aloe vera gel to be just as effective as benzyl benzoate lotion in the treatment of scabies.
If you haven’t ever used this little miracle plant, perhaps now is the time. Growing up, my Mom always kept one in the kitchen for burns, but as you can see there are so many more uses. It’s a great addition to smoothies too- and just remember- your aging skin will LOVE you!
Source: The Epoch Times