People use aloe gel as a remedy for skin conditions, including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores, but there are a host of other benefits.
Aloe vera, sometimes described as a 'wonder plant', is a short-stemmed shrub that produces two substances used for medicine: the gel, which is obtained from the cells in the centre of the leaf, and the latex, which is obtained from the cells just beneath the leaf skin.
Most people use aloe gel as a remedy for skin conditions, including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores, but there is a host of other benefits.
Aloe gel is used for treating osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, fever, itching and inflammation. It’s also used as a natural remedy for asthma, stomach ulcers, diabetes and for soothing side effects of radiation treatment. Aloe latex is used to naturally treat depression, constipation, asthma and diabetes.
Aloe vera was officially listed as a skin protectant in 1820 and was clinically used in the 1930s for the treatment of radiotherapy burns to the skin and mucous membranes. The plant has been used therapeutically for centuries in China, India, Greece, Egypt, Mexico, and Japan.
The medicinal claims made about this particular plant are endless. Some are backed by rigorous scientific studies while others are not.
Here are a few, and they really show exactly why this plant has been dubbed the wonder plant.
1. Teeth and gums
Aloe vera in tooth gels is as effective as toothpaste in fighting cavities.
Studies where researchers compared the germ-fighting ability of an aloe vera tooth gel with two popular toothpastes. They found that the gel was just as good, and in some cases even better than the commercial toothpastes at controlling cavity-causing oral bacteria.
2. It makes a great natural hair and face mask
On the lookout for more natural beauty products? It doesn’t get much more natural than this- scoop out the gooey insides of the plant, whizz through a blender and then apply to your hair for luscious, conditioned locks, or use as a soothing, replenishing face mask.
3. Soothes rashes and skin irritations
There have been numerous studies that have explored the role and benefit of aloe vera administration in skin conditions and wound healing management, including the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, oral mucositis, surgical wounds and as a home remedy for burn injuries.
4. To treat burns
The gel found within the plant has a protective effect against sun damage to the skin. The properties in its gel help to soothe and protect the skin against further damage. In that instance, an aloe vera plant at home can be great in the case of a burn. A leaf snapped in half and the gel applied directly onto the burn does wonders for relief and healing.
5. Heals cold sores
Similarly, when the gel is applied to a cold sore a few times a day, it eases the discomfort and helps speed the healing process. It’s also safe when consumed by mouth, so there is no need to worry about swallowing this natural treatment. Aloe Vera has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that accelerate healing and reduce pain associated with cold sores — or any sores on the mouth.
6. 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.
7. Boosts the immune system
The enzymes present in aloe vera break down the proteins that we eat into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, which enables the cells to function properly. The bradykinase in the plant stimulates the immune system and kills infections. Zinc is also an important component in aloe vera — making it a great source to combat zinc deficiency because it’s essential to maintain immune function.
It helps us ward off diseases, kill bacteria and protect the function of our cell membranes. Zinc is also a key structural component for a slew of hormone receptors and proteins that contribute to a healthy, balanced mood and immune function.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.