Surprising Benefits of Aloe
We often associate aloe with sunburn or rash relief. Lucky for us, that is not the only way to use it. Aloe vera, or Aloe barbadensis, is a thick, short-stemmed medicinal plant that stores water in its leaves. It contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties and various vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial ingredients to improve our health and treat certain conditions. It comes in many forms, including aloe vera juice, another popular way to get the benefits of aloe. It may be useful for reducing dental plaque, accelerating wound healing, reducing lines and wrinkles, and managing blood sugar, among other benefits.
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Aloe vera gel contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. These polyphenols, along with several other compounds in aloe vera, help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
In a mouth rinse study of 300 healthy people, researchers compared 100% pure aloe vera juice with the standard mouthwash ingredient chlorhexidine. After 4 days of use, the aloe vera mouth rinse appeared to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque.
In a 2009 study of 30 females over the age of 45, taking oral aloe vera gel increased collagen production and improved skin elasticity over a 90-day period. Reviews also suggest that aloe vera could help the skin retain moisture and improve skin integrity, which could benefit dry skin conditions.
People sometimes use aloe vera as a remedy for diabetes. This is because it may enhance insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management. For example, eight studies found that aloe vera could benefit people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes due to its effects on glycemic control. As with any disease management, always speak to your doctor before trying anything new.
- 5Canker sores usually form underneath the lip, inside the mouth, and last for about a week. Studies have shown that aloe vera treatment can accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers. However, it does not outperform the conventional ulcer treatment: corticosteroids.
In another study, aloe vera gel not only accelerated the healing of mouth ulcers but also reduced the associated pain.
Aloe vera may also help treat constipation.
This time it is the latex, not the gel, that provides the benefits. The latex is a sticky yellow residue present just under the skin of the leaf.
The key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has well-establishedTrusted Source laxative effects.
However, people have raised concerns about safety with frequent use. For this reason, aloe latex has not been available in the U.S. as an over-the-counter medication since 2002Trusted Source.
There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that topical aloe vera gel can slow aging of the skin.
ReviewsTrusted Source also suggest that aloe vera could help the skin retain moisture and improve skin integrity, which could benefit dry skin conditions.
Read more about aloe vera’s effects on the skin here:
For example, a reviewTrusted Source
of eight studies found that aloe vera could have benefits for people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes due to its effects on glycemic control.However, the quality of the existing studies is not ideal, so scientists do not currently recommend using aloe vera for this purpose.
Aloe vera is a safe remedy with few known side effects.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Trusted Source say that topical use is likely safe.
That said, the oral use of aloe vera may cause stomach cramps or diarrhea due to its laxative effects. There have also been some reportsTrusted Source of liver damage associated with long-term aloe vera supplement use.
The NCCIHTrusted Source also report that nondecolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera seems to be associated with cancer risk in rats.