Benefits of Aloe Vera. When we think about Aloe Vera, most of us think of the bottle of green jelly that we reach for after getting too much sun. While the use of Aloe Vera gel as a topical treatment for skin irritations and dryness is certainly well-documented, what is less well-known and what I want to explore here are the uses of Aloe Vera internally. The consumption of the gel of the medicinal plant provides countless health benefits, from antimicrobial to anti-inflammatory properties. As most of you who have been following along with my journey know by now, if I am going to put something into my body, I want it to be as close to its natural state as possible. I’m not talking about taking shots from the bottle of green goo sitting in the medicine cabinet of undetermined age and origin. I’m talking about the good stuff. The creamy gel center of the succulent plant and all of the wondrous uses it has.
Treating Reflux, GERD, and Indigestion
With the diagnosis of Barrett’s Esophagus came a whole slew of additional dietary recommendations. A lot of the foods I would love to be able to eat for healthy, whole living are not an option because of the symptoms of Barrett’s. It turns out that a lot of the more acidic foods like tomatoes, onions and garlic cause uncomfortable symptoms. The same is often true for those who suffer from reflux, indigestion, or GERD. However, studies have shown that pure, unadulterated aloe vera can lessen the discomfort of these symptoms. Not only is it cooling and soothing to the skin when you are out in the sun too long, but it is cooling and soothing to the stomach. Aloe helps to stimulate cells within the stomach lining to increase mucous production. This works to insulate, soothe, and protect the stomach from irritants as well as reduce inflammation that can trigger GERD responses and reflux.
Improve Overall Gut Health
For a long time, there has been little clinical evidence to support claims that aloe vera taken internally can help improve gut health. However, a 2004 study has given clinical and pharmacological proof of the efficacy of taking aloe vera for inflammatory bowel disease. In a random, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study, 44 outpatients with ulcerative colitis were given either oral placebos or aloe vera. Of the patients given aloe vera, almost all saw improvement. Nine patients achieved clinical remission. Another eleven patients achieved sigmoidoscopic remission. And fourteen patients achieved histological remission. In all, out of 44 patients who received aloe vera, 34 of them saw noticeable improvement.
It works in the gut in a number of ways. It is a known anti-inflammatory which works directly in the gut on a cellular level. Aloe vera also has numerous probiotic properties helping to balance the healthy flora of the gut inhibit growth of harmful organisms. Additionally, aloe contains two important compounds known to aid in digestion. Amylase and Lipase are two enzymes that are naturally occurring within a normal, healthy gut. Both of these enzymes are also found in aloe vera which can help aid and improve regular digestion.
Loaded with Nutrients, Minerals, and Phytonutrients
We all know that aloe vera is high in Vitamin E, which is known to protect the skin. But it also has the benefit of being high in Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes; Vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, skin health, and metabolism;
Vitamin B12, which is essential for brain and nerve health as well as DNA replication; and Folic Acid, which is important particularly in pregnancy but also supports brain health, liver function, and metabolism.
On top of the great vitamin-rich properties of aloe vera, there is also a whole load of minerals. Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Chromium, Magnesium, Potassium…just to name a few. The vitamin and mineral content of the plant is on the same level as other superfoods because it also boasts over 200 bioavailable nutrients.
Improve Dental Health
Aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties once again take center-stage when it comes to improving oral and dental health. The soothing gel has been effective at reducing gum irritation and gingivitis. It also helps to prevent the growth of a common form of oral yeast known as Candida albicans. This yeast is an opportunistic pathogen which can overgrow and cause conditions of thrush in the mouth—particularly in immunocompromised individuals. Candida albicans also lives within the gut, which is yet another gut-health benefit of consuming pure, raw aloe.
There is a proven connection between oral health and heart health. It’s a good thing aloe is beneficial for both! Not only can it help improve overall oral health and hygiene, but it has also been shown to have definite benefits to heart health as well. The plant has high concentrations of phytosterols, which are natural cholesterol reducers. Plant sterols are so effective at lowering harmful lipid levels in the blood that many food manufacturers have begun adding them to foods. Instead of eating packaged and manufactured foods with added plant sterols, though, I say you just consume the plants naturally high in them. Aloe vera is near the top of that list!
If there weren’t enough health benefits to consider consuming aloe vera so far, then perhaps the plant’s ability to fight cancer will sway you. When applied topically to the skin, aloe vera has been shown to protect from UV and gamma radiation. Applying it directly to the skin actually generates an antioxidant protein called metallothionein which acts as a barrier against UV radiation and helps to prevent certain types of skin cancer.
Aloe vera gel has also been shown to inhibit the flow of calcium into mast cells in the body. The compound acemannan stimulates an immune attack against cancerous cells which in mice showed significant tumor necrosis and cancer regression. In other words, aloe vera taken internally actually fights cancer.
For a plant with as many health benefits as aloe vera, I often wonder why it is not more talked about. Why aren’t more people consuming aloe vera? For me, consuming aloe as close to its natural state has been a game-changer specially with this new Barrett's diagnosis. It is natural, clean, and offers countless health benefits. There are no side-effects of consuming aloe vera other than better quality of life. What’s not to love about that?
It is important to point out however that aloe vera is safe to drink as long as it is prepared correctly from the plant’s inner leaf gel. The best source of aloe vera I have found to work well for me is Stockton Aloe Vera. They offer the best aloe vera because it is 100% pure, chemical free, preservative free, inner leaf gel only, no citric acid, no sodium benzoate, just pure raw aloe. I have been drinking it for the past 3 months and my symptoms have improved a great deal. Of course I believe it complements my diet and additional protocols. It is by far the best aloe in the market.