Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

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Plants have been known to provide foods for human and livestock. They also provide shelter, fuel and other basic needs. Natural products from plants, animals and minerals are basis for treating human diseases. Not all plants are medicinal, the use of medicinal plants as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is perhaps the oldest and the most assorted of all therapeutic systems.

Medicinal plants are presently in demand and their acceptance is increasing progressively. These plants are a rich source of compounds that can be used to develop drug synthesis. The parts that may be used are seeds, root, leaf, fruit, skin, flowers or even the whole plant. The active compounds in most parts of these plant have direct or indirect therapeutic effects and are used as medicinal agents.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been known as one of the oldest medicinal plant. It is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe, cultivated in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world for agricultural and medicinal uses. Aloe vera can be recognised by its thick, fleshy green to grey-green, leaves. Each leaf is full of a slimy tissue that stores water, which makes the leaves thick. This slimy, water-filled tissue is the “gel” we associate with Aloe vera products. The gel contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins , minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.

Health Benefits

Substitute to Mouthwash

A study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The vitamin C present in aloe vera can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.

Skin Care

Aloe vera gel is believed to improve skin and prevent wrinkles. Collagen is very important in our skin. Aloe vera gel has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin, which helps with wrinkle reduction and a more youthful looking, radiant skin. A study has shown that the tropical application of the gel increases collagen production and improves skin elasticity over a 90-day period.

Aloe vera also have antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may make it effective in fighting acne

Liver Function

Aloe vera contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which makes it an excellent detoxifier, carrying many of the trace elements your liver needs to purify itself and function smoothly.

Reduces Blood Sugar

Aloe vera extract or juice has been shown to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. Although long-term ingestion has been reported to cause liver damage.

Reduces Constipation

The sticky yellow residue found just under the skin of the leaf of aloe vera contains compound called aloin. This compound has been established to stimulate the digestive tract walls, speeding up bowel movements. The compound is also believed to have laxative effect. The frequent use of it has made the US government restrict its use.

Hydration

Staying hydrated helps your body detox by providing a way for you to purge and flush out impurities. Aloe vera is a water-pack and a nutrient-rich plant that can make you stay hydrated.

Preservative

According to findings from the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a gel from the tropical plant can be used as an edible coating to protect fresh produce. Another study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables.

Caution

Decolorized (purified, low anthraquinone) whole leaf aloe vera is considered safe. A Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology shows that purified aloe vera juice has no adverse effects. On the other hand, nondecolorized, unpurified aloe vera juice can have unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea and cramping. Diarrhea can lead to severe pain, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. The side effects caused by unpurified aloe vera juice are a result of the presence of anthraquinone, which is considered a laxative.


REFERENCE

Jamshidi-Kia, F., Lorigooini, Z. and Amini-Khoei, H. (2018). Medicinal plants: Past history and future perspective. Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology, 7(1): 1-7.

Leech, J. (2020). What are the benefits of aloe vera? Retrieved on 24th March, 2020 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com

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