My mom was a huge aloe vera fan – we always had several planters of them growing around the house, and she called them her little miracle plants.
It seemed like whatever ailed me, aloe vera was on the top of her list of treatments.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the benefits of aloe vera but recently I was over at a friends house who had several AV plants of her own. That made me realize I needed to reacquaint myself with my mom’s “little miracle plant.”
First, in case you’re not familiar with aloe vera, let’s start with the basics (from Wikipedia):
Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.
Aloe vera leaves contain phytochemicals under study for possible bioactivity, such as acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones, other anthraquinones, such as emodin, and various lectins.
Now, let’s get into the benefits:
Survival Life has a good list of Aloe Vera benefits. Here’s a summary (and you can check out the entire article here):
Boosts Your Immune System
One of the main ingredients is aloe vera’s long chain of carbohydrate molecules that energize the immune system by activating anti-bacterial properties. It contains more than 100 various types of important nutrients that can help fight infection.
Aloe Vera contains plant steroids which exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect. Additionally, glycosides and indole acetic acid in Aloe Vera act to effectively reduce inflammation. You can use Aloe Vera topically to ease inflammation of joints or you can use it internally in the form of aloe vera juice.
Alkalizes Your Body
Too much acidity in your body is linked to various diseases such as cancer. Unfortunately, most foods we eat are acidic so it is very important to include alkaline foods in your diet. Aloe Vera juice is alkaline so drinking it regularly will help balance out acidity in our diets and boost your health.
Studies have shown that aloe improves poor blood circulation in the arteries thus helping lower cholesterol levels. It lowers total cholesterol levels mainly by reducing triglycerides.
Some compounds in aloe vera aid in the removal of particles that can trigger asthma and can effectively prevent some attacks.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give aloe vera a try. AV plants are cheap, easy to buy (at any nursery) and are worth their weight in health benefits!
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Photo by Sean Hobson licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
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