Aloe vera nutrition and health benefits

By:Times Foodie, Updated: Jun 24, 2022 | 15:54 IST

aloe vera health benefits

Once thought to be a common houseplant, aloe vera has proven its merit in recent times. This herb has been used extensively in wellness products, cosmetics, medicines and home remedies. It's a treasure trove of healthful ingredients that can treat a variety of ailments. Let's take a look at the many health benefits of aloe vera.



What is Aloe vera juice?

Aloe vera which is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe, grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates all around the world. The name Aloe has roots in Arabic "Alloeh" which means "shiny bitter substance" and vera means "true" in Latin.

This plant is stemless or very short-stemmed growing to 60–100 centimetres tall and spreading by offsets. Aloe vera leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper and lower stem surfaces.

The plant has been used since the ancient times in Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese and Chinese communities. Queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it in their beauty regimens. Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus reportedly used aloe pulp to treat the wounds of soldiers.

Aloe vera juice can be prepared by mixing the pulp in water. Sweeter can be added to reduce or eliminate the little bitter flavour of Aloe vera pulp.

Aloe vera juice nutrition

240g of Aloe vera juice contains the following amount of nutrition:

Nutrient

Measure

Calories

36

Total Carbohydrates

9g

Sodium

19mg

Vitamin C

15%

Calcium

1.5%

Iron

2%



Aloe vera health benefits

The aloe plant has been used as a medicine and as a dietary supplement. The sap or pulp of the plant contains polysaccharides and phenolic chemicals.

It is commonly used in the treatment of skin diseases and healing wounds. Consuming aloe juice helps regulate the digestive system since it has a laxative-like effect.

That's not all. Aloe vera has been used in the treatment of conditions like alopecia, Alzheimer's disease, congenital heart failure, depression, varicose veins, glaucoma, piles, multiple sclerosis, etc.

It may also have powerful effects against metastatic cancer, ulcers and the inflammation of the stomach. Following are some of the health benefits of aloe vera:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Improve skin health
  • Benefit pre-diabetes treatment
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Help with digestive issues
  • Help relieve constipation
  • Help in the treatment of IBS
  • Improves dental health
  • Improves oral health
  • Has anti- bacterial properties
  • May help in the treatment of cancer
  • Reduces ulcers
Can be used in the treatment of cancer: Aloe vera can be used alongside chemotherapy drugs like Cisplatin to improve the efficiency of the treatment. It was shown to be effective in the treatment of breast and cervical cancer, according to a 2015 study. The active ingredients in aloe such as aloin, aloesin and emodin give aloe vera its anti-cancer properties.

Good for digestive health: Aloe vera has been used as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems, inflammation of the digestive tract, ulcers and constipation. The pulp has laxative-like qualities that improve the frequency of bowel movements and the consistency of stools. Aloe contains anti-microbial and prebiotic properties thanks to its polysaccharide acemannan and anthraquinone aloe-emodin.

Good for skin health:
Oral intake of aloe vera gel can improve the elasticity of the skin and promote a youthful appearance. It can also mitigate some of the harmful effects of sunlight and reduce facial wrinkles. Consuming aloe vera can also boost hyaluronic acid and collagen production.

Despite its health benefits, there are concerns about aloe vera toxicity. In some cases, consuming aloe vera preparations can cause diarrhoea, hypokalemia (low potassium levels), kidney failure, phototoxicity, hypersensitive reactions and even carcinogenic activity. Recently, aloe vera leaf etract was classified as the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen. Always consult a doctor or a medical practitioner before self-treating with aloe vera.



References:
1. Sánchez, M., González-Burgos, E., Iglesias, I., & Gómez-Serranillos, M. P. (2020). Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(6), 1324. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061324
2. Guo, X., & Mei, N. (2016). Aloe vera: A review of toxicity and adverse clinical effects. Journal of environmental science and health. Part C, Environmental carcinogenesis & ecotoxicology reviews, 34(2), 77–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/10590501.2016.1166826

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