Mankind has been reaping the health benefits of aloe vera for more than 6,000 years. Its use can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who used the aloe vera plant as a gift for the early pharaohs because it symbolized immortality. Aloe vera was first documented in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian papyrus that recorded ancient medical and herbal knowledge. And as a testament to its medicinal properties, its use can also be found in the ancient book "De Materia Medica,” an ancient manuscript compiled by a Greek pharmacologist and botanist. That’s right - since the beginning of written history, the use of aloe vera has been widespread across the early civilizations found in Asia, North America, Europe, South America, and more.
To help you better understand why Aloe vera has been lauded by both ancient healers and medical practitioners today, you need to know more about what it can offer for your health.
Here are some of the amazing compounds that can be found in Aloe vera and how they can contribute to your well-being:
1) Aloe vera contains anthraquinones
Anthraquinones are chemical compounds that typically act as laxatives when consumed. The most widely known anthraquinone that can be found in aloe vera is Aloin. Aloin contains analgesic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
2) Aloe vera contains hormones
The hormones found in Aloe vera include gibberellins and auxins. These hormones may help reduce inflammation and promote wound healing when applied topically.
3) Aloe vera contains enzymes
The enzymes found in Aloe vera include *bradykinin, which may help reduce inflammation when applied on the skin. It also contains cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase, which may help breakdown fats and sugars when consumed.
* Bradykinin is a peptide that promotes inflammation. It causes arterioles to dilate (enlarge) via the release of prostacyclin, nitric oxide, and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor and makes veins constrict, via prostaglandin F2, thereby leading to leakage into capillary beds, due to the increased pressure in the capillaries
4) Aloe vera contains vitamins and minerals
Aloe vera contains B vitamins, which may act as antioxidants to help fight against oxidative stress and free radicals. It also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which may also help fight free radicals and support the proper enzyme production in the body.
5) Aloe vera contains sugars, phytochemicals, and other potent substances
The thick flesh of the aloe vera or the "gel" is rich in polysaccharides as well as in glycoproteins. These substances are known to help provide anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties that can help soothe and heal damaged skin. It also contains fatty acids, amino acids, and other chemical compounds that may provide antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
How to Consume Aloe Vera Safely
Although aloe vera is known to contain chemical compounds that may be very beneficial when it comes to supporting health, it should be noted that some of these potent compounds may be dangerous when taken in excess. Aloe vera, when taken without caution directly from the plant, may have potential toxicity and/or negative side effects.
When consumed orally, aloe vera may cause side effects if taken in high doses. It may cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Frequent daily intake of aloe vera in very high doses may also lead to the development of heart or kidney problems. In some cases, the application of aloe vera topically may cause allergic reactions and irritations. It may cause contact dermatitis, itchiness, swelling, and redness.
Today, aloe vera is commonly known as the "burn plant" and the "first aid plant.” In other words, it is widely used to help treat various skin conditions such as sunburns, psoriasis, insect bites, and other types of skin injuries. Its gel is also widely used today as a laxative for the treatment of constipation.
Skin injured by radiation
Risks: Do not apply topical aloe vera to deep cuts or severe burns. People allergic to garlic, onions, and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. High doses of oral aloe are dangerous. Don’t take oral aloe if you have intestinal problems, heart disease, hemorrhoids, kidney problems, diabetes, or electrolyte imbalances.