In years gone by, many African communities used aloe vera, a short stemmed shrub that contains more than 500 species of flowering succulent plants for treating skin injuries.
However, in recent times, thanks to scientific research conducted by various health practitioners, aloe vera, often termed the ‘wonder plant’ is now used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
This article is going to share with you the various medicinal uses of aloe vera.
Firstly, for those looking to consume aloe vera orally as a health tonic, they will need to extract aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera juice is extracted from the inner fillet and may be used to treat constipation, provide vitamin C, reduce gum inflammation, control blood sugar levels among other vital uses.
The wonder plant also has immense benefits on the skin.
Aloe vera gel, once dried up on the skin’s surface can effectively provide a protective shield that helps keep moisture locked in.
It has a powerful cooling effect that plays a significant role in reducing acne irritation while assisting in curing and soothing dry skin.
For those looking to maintain their youthful glow, aloe vera is your recommended friend. Studies have shown that aloe vera gel can slow ageing of the skin. When applied onto the skin, the gel increases collagen production which in turn improves skin elasticity thereby maintaining the glow.
Aloe vera gel is extracted from the inside of the leaf. The most common method used in extracting the gel is to separate the interior gel from the outside of the leaf by hand; this is done by simply applying pressure or squeezing the outside of the leaf such that the gel oozes out.
One can also trim the prickly edges with a knife, cut the aloe vera leaf into slices and cubes and ‘apply’ the slices and cubes onto the skin.
Alternatively, one can simply dip the slices and cubes into warm water for some minutes and afterwards, apply it onto the skin.
All of these methods are equally effective hence the preference on the method to use lies with the user.
Treat Canker Sores
Applying aloe vera gel on canker sores which are small, shallow sores inside the mouth or at the base of the gums reduces the size of the ulcers.
One can use a cotton ball to apply the gel on the affected areas for a number of days until the healing process is complete.
Studies have however shown that aloe vera gel does not outperform corticosteroids, the conventional ulcer treatment when it comes to mouth ulcers.
Effective treatment for diseases of the gum
Aloe vera juice has been scientifically proven as a panacea to reducing the buildup of plaque on the teeth.
Research has confirmed that aloe vera juice is just as effective as chlorhexidine (the standard mouthwash ingredient).
This, therefore, means that aloe vera juice can be used as an effective mouth rinse which reduces and in some instances prevents tooth decay and diseases of the gum.
Thanks to its strong laxative effects, aloe vera can be used in treating constipation. It’s important to note though that here; it’s not the gel nor the juice that’s used but rather the aloe vera latex. The aloe vera latex refers to the yellowish substance that is found under the skin of the leaf (most times it oozes when one plucks the leaf from the stem).
While the aloe vera latex possesses strong laxative effects, it’s been proven that it is useful only when treating constipation but not other digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disorder and irritable bowel syndrome.
Preliminary evidence from research has shown that aloe vera can be used as a diabetes remedy. Aloe vera juice enhances insulin sensitivity thereby helping improve blood sugar management. While promising results have shown that aloe vera juice can be an effective remedy in type 2 diabetes, there have been cases of liver damage reported with long term ingestion of aloe vera supplements hence using aloe vera juice as a permanent remedy to diabetes is not recommended.
Aloe vera is generally regarded as a safe medicinal product to use.
However, there is need to guard against using aloe vera on any severe cuts or burns. It’s important also to take note of the amount ingested as too much aloe vera in the body can have adverse effects. The user also needs to pay attention to how the body reacts after using aloe vera. Aloe vera is not advisable for people who are allergic to tulips, onions and garlic. Pregnant women and infants should avoid consuming aloe vera orally.