Like many other herbs, spices and plant compounds, there is not much scientific evidence supporting the use of Aloe Vera either internally or externally for cosmetic or therapeutic benefit. However, Aloe Vera has been used for well over 2000 years in herbal, alternative and holistic medicine all over the world. Even in today’s marketplace Aloe Vera is widely available in all different forms gels, crèmes & juices, by itself and featured within other skin, hair and beauty products.
Now a days Aloe Vera plants are common in many homes and gardens. However Aloe was originally grown in arid regions of Africa and the Sudan but was spread by human cultivation to Asia, Europe, and America. Now Aloe is commercially cultivated all over the world. The Aloe plant resembles that of a cactus (even though its actually a member of the lily family) with long thick leaves with spiny ridges. The leaves are green or gray green in appearance and when cut emit a yellowish green sap known as aloin. Also beneath the surface of the leaf lies a pulp known as Aloe gel.
Aloe Vera’s medicinal properties stem from compounds contained within the plant. Aloe Vera contains over 75 active ingredients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential amino acids, sugars, digestive enzymes, anti inflammatory enzymes, plant sterols, phytochemicals, lignan, saponins, anthraquinones, salicylic acid and more. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, minerals calcium, phosphorus, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and 18 essential amino acids. Aloe Vera is considered to be an anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antihistamine, anti irritant, detoxifier and immunostimulant. With so many components and properties it’s hard not to believe in its ability to heal.
Aloe Vera has been used on a wide range of conditions both internally and externally. It can be found in products for beauty, skin care, hair care, home care, cleaning and many more. Cosmetic companies have added Aloe Vera to tons of their products including makeup, facial tissues, soaps, moisturizers, sunscreen, incense, shaving cream and shampoo. It is also in commercially available lotions, yogurt, beverages, and desserts.
Most widely known, Aloe Vera gel has been used to soothe and heal burns, sunburns, boils, bites, abrasions and skin cysts. However it is now widely used for moisturizing and rejuvenating the skin. Internally Aloe juice is thought to treat digestive problems, gingivitis, and dental plaque, and benefits conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, asthma and ulcerative colitis. The sap, aloin of Aloe Vera is a known laxative and can be used in a tonic to promote regularity.
Although research has time and time again shown contradictory results for any and all of Aloe Vera uses, the use of Aloe Vera by itself and in conjunction with daily products has only increased. For people to continue to use Aloe Vera for their daily needs without sufficient evidence from the FDA or the medical community, this must prove that they are getting a desired result. Aloe Vera’s benefits to the body are seen through the use of its pulp, gel and juice. It is truly a healing plant.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Labdar graduated with a BA in exercise science and has worked in the medical field since. Her focus is alternative medicine and how it interacts and works in conjunction with traditional medicine.
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