What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is a medicinal succulent plant that thrives in warm weather climates and it has been used for centuries to treat various health and skin conditions.
Aloe is usually safe to use directly from the Aloe leaves but you can also buy Aloe Vera gel. Just keep in mind that not all Aloe Vera gel is of the same quality. Many retailers and drug stores typically stock a very low quality of Aloe Vera gel. Aloe is also sold in capsule form as well as liquid form taken internally to promote a healthy gut and overall well-being.
Aloe Vera is considered very safe to use and consume for most people as long as you are not taking certain medicines listed at the end of this article. Dogs and Cats should avoid internally consuming Aloe Vera in gel or liquid form.
How to Properly Use Fresh Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel can be cut and applied directly to your skin as a homemade beauty and skin product. You can also add your freshly cut Aloe Vera gel to smoothies and blended drinks. Just keep in mind that Aloe Vera leaves, when cut, will contain a yellow substance called Aloin which can act as a laxative. Drain properly to remove any Aloin before adding your Aloe gel to your food or beverages.
If you’re planning on consuming fresh slices of Aloe gel, you can keep the gel in the refrigerator for a few days, it will go bad past two days so it’s best to consume your Aloe when it’s fresh. As an alternative, you can freeze Aloe Vera gel and best to cut it into cubes before freezing.
Using Aloe Vera Gel
1. Supports and Heals Skin Burns
Aloe Vera is soothing, it moisturizes, and has excellent cooling properties, which makes it an effective option for topical burns.
If you do unfortunately have a sunburn, you can apply Aloe Vera a few times a day to the effected area as needed. For severe burns, immediately seek medical attention.
2. Aloe Vera Improves Digestive Health
Consuming Aloe Vera may benefit your digestive system and alleviate stomach ailments, most commonly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you do decide to consume Aloe Vera, make sure the Aloe you consume comes from the Aloe Barbendaris species. This is the only safe species of Aloe Vera to consume.
Aloe Vera may also help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria including H. pylori, which can lead to stomach ulcers.
3. Aloe Promotes Oral Health
Before reaching for a mouthwash filled with chemicals or alcohol, consider one made with Aloe Vera juice. Aloe is naturally antibacterial and can promote a healthy oral environment. Aloe Vera is great for lowering levels of candida, plaque, and gingivitis.
4. Aloe Clears Acne
Gently rubbing Aloe Vera gel into your face as a daily ritual is safe and effective without any side effects or harmful ingredients. Aloe is antibacterial and not only clears acne, but cleanses and tones your face naturally.
5. Aloe Relieves Anal Fissures
Hemorrhoids are a pain in the ass, literally. Applying an Aloe Vera cream to your affected area several times a day can work really well.
Is Aloe Vera Safe to Use?
Aloe is quite safe for most skin types with minor skin care problems. Allergic reactions, while rare, are possible. Its always best to try a small amount first to test the product and if you experience any adverse reactions, wash the Aloe off thoroughly and consult a medical professional. If you are allergic to garlic, onions, or tulips, avoid taking Aloe Vera. And within two weeks of any scheduled surgery, Aloe should be avoided..
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children under the age of 12, should avoid consuming Aloe Vera.
The laxative effect of Aloe Vera has the potential to cause diarrehea and abdominal cramps. These effects could inhibit the absorption of oral drugs and reduce their effectiveness.
Do not consume Aloe Vera internally if you have any the following conditions:
- Kidney Conditions
- Renal Disorder
- Cardiac Condition
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Intestinal Obstruction
Side effects of Aloe Vera are possible and include:
- Kidney Issues
- Blood in the Urine
- Low Potassium Levels
- Muscle Weakness
- Nausea or Stomach Pain
- Electrolyte Imbalances
Speak to your medical doctor before using Aloe Vera if you are taking any of the following medications:
- Water Pills(Diuretics)
- Herbs and Supplements
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- Sevoflurane (Ultane)
- Stimulant Laxatives
- Diabetes Medications