Aloe vera is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands. It is now grown in tropical climates worldwide. In India, almost every house has aloe vera plants either in pots or in soil.
The Aloe vera plant has been known and used for centuries for its health, beauty, medicinal, and skincare properties. Aloe vera, or Aloe barbadensis, is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. The name Aloe vera derives from the Arabic word “Alloeh,” meaning “shining bitter substance,” while “vera” in Latin means “true.”
Two thousand years ago, Greek scientists regarded Aloe vera as the panacea. The Egyptians called Aloe “the plant of immortality.” Today, the Aloe vera plant has is used for various purposes in dermatology.
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes in several cultures for millennia: Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan, and China. Egyptian queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their regular beauty regimes. Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers’ wounds. The first reference to Aloe vera in English was John Goodyew in A.D. 1655 of Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica.
By the early 1800s, Aloe vera was used as a laxative in the United States. Still, in the mid-1930s, a turning point occurred when it was successfully used to treat chronic and severe radiation dermatitis.
- Acne. Applying an aloe gel to the skin in the morning and evening, together with prescription anti-acne medicine, can improve acne in some children and adults.
- Burns. Applying aloe gel or cream to the skin can reduce healing time in people with first- or second-degree burns.
- Constipation. Taking aloe latex by mouth can reduce constipation. But it’s banned for use as a laxative by the FDA due to safety concerns.
- Diabetes. Taking aloe by mouth can reduce blood sugar and HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Genital Herpes. Applying an aloe extract 0.5% cream three times a day might help heal genital herpes outbreaks.
- Rash or sores on the mouth. Using a mouthwash containing aloe gel three times daily for 12 weeks or applying a gel containing aloe twice daily for eight weeks can reduce pain from itchy rashes in the mouth.
- Obesity. Taking a specific aloe product (Aloe QDM complex, Univera Inc.) twice daily for eight weeks might reduce body weight and fat mass in overweight or obese people with diabetes or prediabetes.
- A painful mouth condition. Applying aloe gel reduces burning from this condition. But it does not seem to improve the ability to open the mouth or improve cheek and tongue movements.
- Scaly, itchy skin. Applying a cream containing aloe extract 0.5% for four weeks seems to reduce skin plaques. But using an aloe gel doesn’t seem to have the same effects.
- Sores in the mouth. Applying a gel containing aloe to the gums after getting dental appliances such as braces helps prevent mouth sores.
Aloe vera benefits for your hair
Deep cleans oily hair
Aloe vera cleanses the hair shaft efficiently, stopping off extra Sebum Trusted Source(oil) and residue from other hair products.
But aloe vera doesn’t hurt your hair strands while it cleans. Unlike other chemicals in hair products, aloe vera is gentle and preserves the integrity of your hair.
Using aloe vera is a great way to get hair that looks healthier, shinier, and softer.
Strengthens and repairs hair strands
Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins contribute to cell turnover, promoting healthy cell growth and shiny hair.
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are also contained in aloe vera gel. Both of these components can keep your hair from falling out.
However, no studies confirm conclusively that aloe vera has any benefit in preventing hair loss.
May promote hair growth.
When your scalp has been cleansed, and your hair has been conditioned with aloe vera, you might see that hair breakage and loss slows down.
There are plenty of people who claim that aloe vera causes hair to grow much faster. But as of now, there’s little clinical evidence to prove or disprove those claims.
Aloe Vera can also be used on the hair to treat dandruff by rubbing it into your hair and scalp.
Make gel at home
Once the leaf has been peeled, you will see the natural aloe vera gel. Using a small spoon, scoop it into your blender. Be careful not to include any pieces of the aloe vera skin. Blend the gel until it’s frothy and liquefied, which should only take a few seconds.
When taken by mouth:
Aloe gel is possibly safe when used short term. Aloe gel has been used safely in a dose of 15 mL daily for up to 42 days. Also, a specific gel (Aloe QDM complex Univera Inc) has been used safely at a dose of about 600 mg daily for up to 8 weeks. Aloe extract is also possibly safe when taken short-term.
Taking aloe latex or aloe whole-leaf extract by mouth is possibly unsafe at any dose. Aloe latex is likely dangerous when taken by mouth in high doses. Aloe latex can cause side effects such as stomach pain. Long-term use of large amounts of aloe latex might cause serious side effects, including kidney and heart problems. Consuming aloe latex 1 gram once a day can be fatal.
When applied to the skin:
Aloe gel is likely safe.
Special Precautions and Warnings:
Pregnancy or breastfeeding:
Aloe gel and latex are possibly unsafe when taken by mouth. There is a report that aloe was associated with miscarriage. It might also increase the risk for congenital disabilities. Do not take aloe by mouth if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Aloe gel is possibly safe when applied to the skin appropriately. Aloe latex and aloe whole leaf extracts are possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in children. Children younger than 12 years old might have stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea.
Intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or obstruction:
Do not take aloe latex if you have any of these conditions. Aloe latex is a GI irritant. Products made from whole aloe leaves will contain some aloe latex.
High doses of aloe latex have been linked to kidney failure and other severe conditions.
Both adults and children have applied various aloe products to the skin, including gels, creams, mouthwashes, and topical solutions. Speak with a healthcare provider to determine what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.
Aloe vera is considered a supplement, and supplements are not regulated entirely by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That means there’s no way to know whether the quality, safety, or claims on the product are valid.
Overuse of anything is harmful, so as with aloe vera also, people are consuming in large quantities and hence are getting side effects. Aloe vera can never be a substitute for medicine.
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