What Is Aloe Vera? Benefits, Risks, Uses, and More
Aloe vera is gel from the leaves of aloe plants. Aloe vera benefits – Aloe plant is a stemless plant belonging to the cactus family. People have used it for thousands of years for healing and softening the skin. Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant used in various ayurvedic rasayans or lepas used internally or topically to heal or maintain good health balance. Each leaf contains a slimy tissue that stores gel like water, and this makes the leaves thick. This water filled tissue is the “gel” that people associate with aloe vera products.
Fact – Aloe vera is basically a desert wild plant that does not need much water. Aloe vera found in drought areas are more potent than the ones grown in homes or gardens with regular watering.
Aloe vera contains many vitamins, minerals, and other active ingredients like choline, aglycone, Aloe emodin, aloin, including folic acid, vitamin A & E etc. that give it many health benefits. Each aloe vera leaf has three main layers. There is an inner gel containing 99% water, and the remaining part made of amino acids, glucomannans, sterols, lipids, and vitamins. Aloe Vera can also be used on the hair to treat dandruff by rubbing it into your hair and scalp. Aloe vera also contains hormones, such as gibberellins and auxins, which help in the faster healing of wounds.
Health benefits of Aloe vera
Research backs up the ancient use of topical aloe vera as a skin treatment, at least for specific conditions
- Aloe Vera May Help Stabilize Blood Sugar
- Aloe Vera in Mouthwash Can Improve Dental Health
- Aloe Vera May Stimulate Collagen Production and Fight Skin Aging
- Aloe Vera Gel Popular for Soothing Sunburn Inflammation
- Aloe Vera May Help Get Rid of Acne Naturally
- Aloe Vera Gel Is a Natural Antidote for Skin Irritation
- Aloe vera is majorly used in Ayurvedic preparation that is useful in correcting disorders like anaemia.
Skin Benefits of Aloe vera
It is a unique astringent in nature with anti-viral, antibacterial and emollient properties, which pose the ability to treat your skin effectively. Aloe secretes a clear gel that when broken off from the rest of the plant that can be applied topically to heal wounds and soothe skin. Let’s look at how beneficial aloe vera is for the skin and some face packs that you can apply to enjoy glowing and flawless skin.
- It can help combat acne.
- It can help fade dark spots and acne scars
- It soothes sunburns
- It moisturizes dry skin
- It can treat cold sores
- It provides relief from psoriasis and eczema
- It reduces puffiness and dark circles
- It’s a natural exfoliant
- It may slow signs of aging.
- It’s good for most people with sensitive skin.
Aloe Vera For Hair Fall
Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth, soft, and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff, and conditions your hair.
Aloe vera can do more harm than the good, here’s how?
With all the super beneficial properties of aloe vera for skin and hair, the gel is often found in many ready-to-use skin and hair care products. Since it is in the form of gel, the difficulty arises in preserving it without using chemicals and preservatives. And the usage of chemicals and preservatives in the aloe vera-based product may do more harm than the goodness it brings with it.
The consistency and color of real aloe vera are way different from the aloe vera gels (only gel -single ingredient in the jar) that we get from the market.
Also, the products like face wash, body wash, face cream, body lotion, face gel etc. contain the must-have chemicals like emulsifiers, stabilizers to give product gel-like consistency, easy blending, and of course the shelf life. Such products often contain the major ingredient as water to make the product cost-effective. And just to bring the fact to the consumers who believe such products to be absolutely natural, Think –
- Can you preserve aloe vera gel you scooped out from the plant at home even beyond a week?
- Can you easily mix aloe vera gel and the Almond oil or coconut oil? Then how come these ingredients all together in the bottle you recently bought. There is much more to it with healthy ingredients only highlighted on the bottle.
Aloe vera is useful but only when it’s used in its fresh form. Going healthy in your skin and hair care routine may call for more time and the inconvenience associated with sourcing the fresh gel and using it each time but you are doing it not at the cost of your health.
Side effect of Aloe vera
Always do a patch test when using it for the first time. This is simply because the aloe vera gel that is good for others may not be suiting you.
Excess of anything is bad including eating more than needed food or drinking more than required water. Hence use it in moderation or as directed by any experienced/ ayurvedic practitioner.
For intake or application to avail comfort from any skin or body disorder, seek the advice from the expert.