Nine health benefits of aloe vera!

Last Updated: Jul 12, 2015, 22:52 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Vasavi Grag 

Aloe vera is quite an incredible medicinal plant full of nutritional benefits. It is a succulent plant and part of the lily family (Liliaceae), the same family that garlic and onions belong to.

Different parts of the plant are used for different purposes and aloe vera has both internal and external applications. The juice of aloe helps in order to achieve a clear skin, moreover one can also make fresh aloe vera salads. One can add aloe to smoothies to gain some of the benefits of this incredible plant.

This freely growing plant has amazing properties that promote healthy living.

Aloe Vera contains over 200 active components including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids – no wonder it’s used for such a wide range of remedies! The bulk of the aloe vera leaf is filled with a clear gel-like substance, which is approximately 99% water. Humans have used aloe therapeutically for over 5000 years – now that’s a long-standing track record! The list of benefits and effects for this miraculous plants are many.

Though aloe vera leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when consumed, its inclusion is essential in your diet. Read on to find out what magical properties this humble plant has.

Here are nine health benefits of aloe vera plant:

High in vitamins & minerals: Aloe Vera contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. It is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. Some of the 20 minerals found in Aloe vera includes calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese.

Aloe Vera as adaptogen: Aloe vera is a well-known adaptogen. An adaptogen is something that boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and resist illness. It is thought that aloe’s power as an adaptogen balances the body’s system, stimulating the defense and adaptive mechanisms of the body. This allows you an increased ability to cope with stress (physical, emotional and environmental stress like pollution).

Improves digestion: Poor digestion is related to many diseases. A properly functioning digestive tract is one of the keys and foundations of health. Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract and help improve digestion.

The interesting thing about taking aloe internally is that, because it is an adaptogen, it helps with either constipation or diarrhea, helping to regulate your elimination cycles in whatever way you need. It’s been a great remedy for people with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome as well as acid reflux. Aloe also helps to decrease the amount of unfriendly bacteria and in our gut keeping your healthy intestinal flora in balance.

Aloe is also a vermifuge, which means it helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.

Helps in detoxification: Aloe Vera is a gelatinous plant food, just like seaweeds and chia seeds. The main benefit to consuming gelatinous plant foods in your diet is that these gels move through the intestinal tract absorbing toxins along the way and get eliminated through the colon. This will help the proper elimination of waste from your body and help the detoxification of your body.

Alkalizes the body: Disease cannot manifest in an alkaline environment. Most people are living and subsisting on mostly acidic foods. For great health, remember the 80/20 rule – 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acidic. Aloe vera is an alkaline forming food. It alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits.

Great for the skin: Because of aloe vera's well-known healing properties for the skin, aloe is one of the primary compounds used in the cosmetic industry. It is a known vulnerary, (meaning it helps heal wounds) and is great for applying topically to burns, abrasions, psoriasis and even to bug bites. Aloe acts as an analgesic, acting to help relieve pain of wounds.

High in amino acids & fatty acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 22 amino acids that are necessary for the human body and it is said that 8 of these are essential. Estimates of the amino acids found in aloe range from 18-20 amino acids, with all 8 essential amino acids. Aloe vera also includes quite an impressive range of fatty acids.

Reduces inflammation: Aloe Vera contains 12 substances, including B-sisterole, which can help to slow down or inhibit inflammation. This may be able to help with painful joints due to stiffness and help improve joint flexibility.

Weight loss: Improving your digestion, and detoxifying your body will have a secondary effect of promoting weight loss because when you start to improve your digestion you naturally eliminate more efficiently, which is a primary way that we all detoxify – through our bowels. This will lighten your toxic load on your body and will give you more energy.

There are hundreds of ways to use the aloe vera plant and the various gels and extracts that can be made from it. Researchers are continuing to discover new ways to put this natural superpower to use. The next time you are looking for an effective remedy or just a new houseplant, consider aloe vera and enjoy the health benefits of this magnificent plant.