Aloe vera–even if you haven’t used it, you’ve probably heard it before. In fact, this cactus-like plant with long, pointy leaves have been used since ancient Egypt to heal various ailments. (Something tells me that those Egyptians really needed soothing aloe after sunburns!).
There are three commonly used parts of the aloe: aloe gel, aloe juice, and aloe latex. Aloe gel is extracted from the fat inner part of the leaves. The juice is made from the aloe gel. And the latex is the yellowish, rubbery part right underneath the skin of the leaves.
Many people are aware of the healing benefits that result from applying aloe vera gel topically to the skin. Aloe has been my go-to remedy since I was a child, especially during the summer months, for sunburns, bug bites and rashes. More recently I have started adding it to my beauty regime to improve my skin texture and lighten the spots on my face. But did you know that taking aloe juice orally can also aid in healing your body from the inside out?
Consuming aloe vera juice is a great way to cleanse and repair the body. Here are the top ten reasons why everyone should be drinking aloe to help maintain optimal health:
1. Detoxifies the body – aloe clings to various free radicals and eliminates them.
2. Alkalizes the body – studies show that taking aloe eases peptic ulcers, which is symptomatic of excessive acid. Aloe balances the pH level and alkalizes the digestive system.
3. Supports the immune system – helps body defend itself against viruses. In fact, studies show that aloe vera gel (applied topically) can alleviate the symptoms of genital herpes, which is a viral infection exacerbated by lowered immune system. It works the same way to heal cold sores (herpes simplex I).
4. Cleanses the colon – aloe juice is a powerful laxative. If you have constipation, this will flush out toxins and accumulation.
5. Reduces irritation to the digestive tract – inflammation of the GI tract, such as Crohn’s and irritable bowel syndrome, can be alleviated with aloe vera. In a study, subjects with unhealthy colon microbes and yeast infection were shown to have improved symptoms after taking aloe.
6. Increases vitamin & mineral intake – contains vitamins A, C, E, the B’s, and folic acid.
7. Hydrating – like cucumbers, aloe boasts a high water content and hydrating on a cellular level.
8. Antibacterial properties – In addition to being anti-viral and anti-fungal, aloe is also anti-bacterial. It reduces acne and blemishes giving you glowing skin from inside out. Take it orally, and also dab some on your acne scars and discolorations to even your tone. It will also have an immediate cooling effect, reduce redness and inflammation of your skin.
9. Moisturizing and anti-aging properties – aloe is excellent for promoting new cell growth, healing scars and improving tone and texture.
10. Improves circulation – Studies show that aloe supports your heart health by removing fatty deposits in your arteries and lowering your bad cholesterol.
It is recommended that you take 2-4 oz. of aloe vera juice a day. Most aloe juice that I have tried is very bitter so I usually pour a few drops into my water bottle for the day and then add some lemon. You could also add this to your fresh juices or smoothies as well! I hope you try it–and let me know how it goes!
Also by Lauren: Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
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Photo: Lauren Sacerdote; Andreas Issleib via Flickr