A common lament heard from sunbathers this time of year is that which accompanies the pain of sunburn, which can be excruciating and last a couple days or more. Sunburn victims rightfully seek instant relief, and chances are if you’ve ever dealt with a sunburn, you’ve reached for and used a pain-relieving agent that contains aloe vera.
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant that has been used for various medical treatments dating back 6,000 years. It is best known for treating skin injuries, although it has been used for many other health-related problems as well. Aloe vera is a plant with short stems and thick, green leaves that store water, producing a gel-like substance often associated with aloe vera products, per medicalnewstoday.com.
It is in that gel-like form that aloe vera is often used as a topical treatment to be rubbed in for skin conditions such as sunburn. It also is well-known for its strong laxative effects – such as for treating constipation – and for bolstering the immune system, treating type 2 diabetes, reducing arthritis pain, healing wounds, and promoting hair growth.
Aloe Vera as a Source of Nutrition
Thanks to its abundance of amino acids as well as its reputation as a healthy source of energy, iron, sodium, and calcium, per medicalnewstoday.com, aloe vera is also popular among advocates of naturopathy for its nutritional benefits. Aloe vera contains 18 different amino acids that function in tandem with other compounds in the human body, providing myriad health benefits, such as those related to your digestive system while also acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for other health-related purposes.
Dealing with Inflammation
Aloe vera’s robust anti-inflammatory characteristics make it a natural for treating muscle and joint pain. Applied on the skin as a topical agent, aloe vera ran reduce joint inflammation, such as that associated with arthritis. It can also be consumed in the form of a capsule or juice, which makes aloe vera also helpful in reducing pain throughout the body, as in the case of muscle aches. Per organicfacts.net, aloe vera consumed regularly for a period of two weeks can produce significant improvement related to inflammation issues.
A Rundown of Aloe Vera’s Other Health Benefits
- Benefit digestive health. Research conducted in 2010, per alivebynature.com, suggested that consuming one to three ounces of aloe vera, with its low levels of toxicity, after mealtime could decrease the intensity of heartburn or GERD. Other more-recent studies cited at healthline.com indicated that aloe vera, when compared to a placebo, could readily improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also treats constipation.
- Improve oral health. Studies involving aloe vera-based toothpaste showed that after 30 days’ use, subjects exhibited lower levels of candida, plaque, and gingivitis. A 2013 study referenced at alivebynature.com indicated that the use of aloe vera can also speed up the healing of mouth ulcers (also known as canker sores).
- Heal wounds. No less than the likes of Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus were known to use aloe vera to help in the healing of wounds among their soldiers, per organicfacts.net. Aloe vera appears to work in this way by promoting the flow of blood to the injured area. It’s why it is often used in treating victims of third-degree burns in that burned skin gets restored faster thanks to the presence of aloe vera.
- Alleviate skin aging. One study conducted of 30 women over the age of 45 – covering a period of 90 days – showed that topical application of aloe vera raised collagen production and enhanced skin elasticity, per medicalnewstoday.com. It also apparently aids in the healing of stings, rashes, and psoriasis, per organicfacts.net.
- Reduce elevated blood sugar. Aloe vera has occasionally been used for the treatment of diabetes because of its apparent ability to bolster insulin sensitivity while also providing benefits in terms of managing blood sugar levels. Per medicalnewstoday.com, studies involving humans as well as animals have shown promising results from the use of aloe vera extract for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
- Bolster immune system. This benefit is related to aloe vera’s capacity to enhance blood circulation in your body, which is attributed to its ability to accelerate the body’s absorption of nutrients, per alivebynature.com. By bolstering nutrient levels within your cells, your body is better able to fend off infections, thanks to a strengthened immune system.
- Prevent hair loss. Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is most common among men over 40. A 2010 study referenced at alivebynature.com demonstrated that the application of aloe vera extract promoted the regrowth of hair, in some cases with results becoming noticeable within five days of starting treatment.
- Alleviates menstrual problems. Per organicfacts.net, aloe vera extract is a very effective stimulant of the uterus; also, eating aloe vera or drinking its juice can help reduce pain during menstruation.