Aloe Vera: What it is, Properties and Practical Uses

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For thousands of years, man has made use of plants. Thanks to them, food and medicines, among other things, can be obtained. In the plant kingdom, one plant in particular stands out. It is aloe vera. It has been said that it has up to a thousand uses.

What exactly is aloe vera? What are its properties? What benefits does it provide to the body? Here are the answers.

What is aloe vera?

  • Scientific name: Aloe vera
  • Species: Aloe vera; (L.) Burm.f., 1768
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Class: Liliopsida
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Subclass: Liliidae

Aloe vera, also known as aloe vera, is a shrub to which an enormous amount of medicinal properties are attributed. Most of these have been studied and proven by different medical institutions.

It belongs to the Asphodelaceae family. Its leaves are canalicular in shape and can reach up to half a meter long. The whole shrub is green. It can be planted for ornamental purposes, although in most countries it is used as a medicinal product.

Up to 250 types of aloe have been discovered, but only 0.4% of them produce benefits for man. The rest is only used in decoration. Its origin is not yet confirmed, although some archaeological findings place it in Egypt thousands of years ago. Others point to China as the country where it was first used.

Properties of aloe vera

The properties of aloe vera are present inside the leaf. Several pharmacists graduated from the International University of Catalonia, highlight some of them.

  • Healing. Aloe vera possesses an enzyme called lignin. Thanks to this enzyme, wounds can be disinfected. Healing is also faster than normal.
  • Purifying. Thanks to its high content of carricin, it cleanses the body and increases the body’s defenses.

Other properties

Among the properties of aloe vera we can mention that it is a powerful antioxidant, astringent, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. All this is possible thanks to the large amount of elements present inside the leaves. For example, it possesses calcium, zinc, enzymes essential for the functioning of the body, and many more

Benefits of aloe vera

All the properties of aloe vera can be used in daily life. In that way, many benefits can be obtained. Different pharmacists graduated from recognized Universities in Europe highlight some of these.

Strengthens the hair

The effect on the scalp is very positive. On the one hand, it eliminates those elements that affect hair growth and, on the other hand, it moisturizes this area of the body. It also controls the amount of sebum present. This allows the hair to grow healthier and stronger.

Protects and cares for oral health

One of the main oral conditions is related to inflammation of the gums. These are also influenced by the presence of bacteria. Aloe vera is very useful in this field because it has the ability, proven by several medical institutions, to reduce swelling and keep the mouth free of harmful bacteria.

It takes care of the intestinal flora

Thanks to its cleansing properties, the digestive system can better assimilate nutrients from food and discard the rest. It also works as a mild laxative. The health of the intestinal flora is benefited, as it reduces the presence of harmful elements in the body. In this case, the expert opinion of a physician is always required.

Skin care

Aloe vera skin care can be divided into two parts. First, as it has antioxidant and astringent properties, it allows the epidermis to be protected from UV rays. It also protects it from other elements, such as those that cause skin rashes.

Secondly, when there are wounds, whether deep or superficial, aloe vera protects the skin from infections and contributes to its rapid recovery. This is possible thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic capacity.

Regulates somebody values

Aloe vera has chemical components necessary for the optimal functioning of the body. Among these are chromium and magnesium. Thanks to these, the sugar level in the body is regulated. This in turn helps to minimize the risk of diabetes.

Improves the body’s defenses

All the properties obtained through aloe vera help the body to function better. Among its benefits is the ability to increase the body’s reaction to harmful elements. A study with aloe vera revealed that it produces essential amino acids.

In case it is prescribed by a doctor, the doctor’s instructions should be followed to the letter. Generally, oral treatment with aloe vera will have a very short duration.

Use of aloe vera

To make the most of all the goodness present in aloe vera, many products have been prepared using it as a main ingredient. Let’s take a look at some of the main uses of this plant.

Skin and hair products

Nowadays, a large number of skin products contain aloe vera. For example, creams for both the face and the rest of the body. It has also been included in soaps and other items used during bathing.

Products for human consumption

In order to take advantage of the medicinal properties of aloe vera, it has been included in many food supplements. Others add it to infusions. All this allows a better absorption of food, allowing the body to increase its ability to cope with viruses and bacteria.

However, the U.S. National Library of Medicine points out that there are considerable risks when ingesting aloe vera. For example, the latex of this plant has been associated with the appearance of cancer. For this reason, it recommends seeking advice on the correct way to separate the gel from the latex before consuming it.

Aloe vera or aloe vera has been, and will surely continue to be, part of our lives. If used properly, great benefits can be obtained.

Amparo Miralles Lobato
Amparo Miralles Lobato
M.D. from Stanford Medicine, M.D. from the University of Cambridge. Ph.D. from The University of Warwick. Committed to Human Health. ISI: 0000000503892961

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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