Aloe Vera: Inside and Out
From sunburn to flaky skin with cuts and scrapes in between, aloe vera has long been used to treat a multitude of skin conditions. But what may not be as widely known are the numerous benefits you can reap when you eat or drink the stuff.
Consuming aloe vera juice or including an aloe vera supplement in your regular diet can add another layer of benefits that help aloe live up to its nickname as the miracle plant.
- Sunburn, wounds and stretch marks, speeding up the healing process of the skin’s outer layer
- Dry skin, with hydrating properties and healing help for small nicks when used as an aftershave
- Skin conditions of eczema and psoriasis
- Minor skin infections
- Effects of aging, with a range of antioxidants, include Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene and the ability to keep skin firm and hydrated
- Acne, thanks to the two hormones of Gibberellins and Auxins that help the skin heal rapidly while reducing the risk of scarring
- Cysts, canker sores and skin ulcers
- Genital herpes
You can use the gel directly from a live aloe vera plant by breaking open the leaf, or you can invest in an aloe vera gel or cream to have a ready supply handy any time you need it.
Aloe vera juice and supplements are rich with nutrients that can assist with internal cleansing, healing, and repair. Taken internally, aloe can give a boost to your:
- Digestive system, with the same compounds that help soothe the skin able to soothe the digestive tract. This soothing can extend to stomach and intestinal ulcers, irritable blower syndrome, colitis and other inflammatory disorders. It also promotes healthy bacteria in the intestines that help with digestion.
- Immune system, thanks to the antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties that help the immune system flush out toxins and pathogens. This balancing of the immune system can also help decrease symptoms of seasonal allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory immune disorders.
- Heart, due to aloe’s ability to help enhance blood circulation. Aloe may help reduce total fat levels for people with high cholesterol, resulting in a decrease of fatty deposits and blood clots in arteries throughout the entire body.
While applying aloe gel topically to the skin or scalp is not known for producing adverse effects unless you happen to be allergic to aloe, you want to note a few safety tips before you take aloe internally.
- Diarrhea may be a side effect of drinking aloe vera juice, since the juice contains the substance anthraquinone that doubles as a laxative.
- Drug interactions are possible with all herbal supplements, so double check the possibility with any prescription or over-the-counter medications you may be taking.
- Checking with your doctor before adding any type of supplement to your diet never hurts, and it’s also imperative to only drink or eat aloe vera that has been specifically produced for internal use.
Whether you slather its gel on a sunburn or drink it down as daily juice, aloe vera can bring you a bevy of benefits both inside and out.
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Armed with a BFA in creative writing, an MA in English literature and a thesis in NYC subway folklore, she has written thousands of articles for newspapers and the online crowd. Credits also include writing and poetry awards, three illustrated humor books and an art shop. Her passion for the creepy is balanced out by her passion for all things natural, holistic, organic and/or involving singing bowls.