Aloe Vera is the most common name for the different species of the genus aloe, more specifically aloe vera plants and sometimes aloe arborescens and aloe maculata. Aloe is a succulent plant, meaning that its leaves are thick and store water and nutrients for the dry season, as these plants have a semi-arid climate, growing naturally in arid areas of Africa from where it has spread to the rest of the continents. , although there are native varieties from other regions. Although physically aloes are very similar to agaves, they are not the same genus of plants and do not have the same uses.Aloe Vera is a physically similar plant to agaves, that is, it has long, flattened, thick triangular leaves with thorns on the edges. These leaves are attached in the form of a rosette to a single trunk, so that all the leaves of the aloe vera are directly connected to the trunk and not to a stem. When the Sabilas mature enough they develop their inflorescences, which are clusters of flowers that grow on a single stem in the center of the plant.These inflorescences can be yellow, greenish, orange or red, depending on the variety of the plant and the conditions in which it grows. Both the leaves of the aloe vera and its flowers are edible, but due to the bitter taste of its leaves, it is more common to consume only the flowers as a vegetable.

Aloe Vera gel is found inside its leaves, in most cases it is a transparent gel or light green color, but depending on the maturity of the plant or how dehydrated it is, the gel may turn yellow or amber due to its latex, which some people confuse with the iodine solution, because it is of a similar color, although it is not the same substance.

Aloe is a plant considered medicinal by many cultures, therefore its main use is as a remedy for many diseases and disorders, mainly skin problems, since aloe gel is very moisturizing and calms pain and itching on the skin. . Aloe Vera is believed to be a plant that prevents many diseases, for example cancer, diabetes and hypertension among other disorders, but there are no studies that prove its effectiveness one hundred percent.

What is aloe vera used for in daily life?

This succulent plant has as its main characteristic the gel contained in its leaves. This gel has many properties that make it ideal for various herbal remedies, mainly to help heal wounds and treat broken or dehydrated skin. In many parts of the world, aloe vera tea is used to calm or prevent illnesses, such as diabetes, intestinal problems, and hypertension.

Aloe is used among other things to:

  • Relieve minor burns
  • Heal shallow wounds
  • Disinfect superficial wounds
  • Soothe the itch
  • Moisturize the skin
  • Decrease wrinkles
  • Lighten the skin
  • Remove dead skin cells
  • Relieve mild gastrointestinal disorders
  • Laxative
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Improve digestion
  • Improve the immune system
  • Detoxify the body
  • Treat ringworm
  • Improve healing
  • Used for weight loss
  • It is used in cosmetics
  • Used in shampoos
  • Used in skin creams
  • It is used in drinks
  • It is used in some foods
  • The flowers are edible

Skin diseases and disorders

Aloe vera or aloe vera gel has been used for centuries as a treatment for various skin disorders and diseases, as one of its functions is to disinfect, calm burning and soften the skin.

Traditionally, only aloe gel is used to cure skin diseases, as the yellow latex is irritating to some sensitive skin, and the flowers do not have soothing effects on the skin.

Some of the diseases most commonly treated with aloe are psoriasis, dermatitis, acne, chafing, and ulcers. In some places, aloe vera poultices or pieces of leaves without a part of the skin are used directly on wounded or injured skin, so that the aloe gel has direct contact with the damaged skin. The use of aloe vera on deep wounds or exposed lesions is currently not recommended, as it can worsen skin lesions or cause infections.

Constipation and gastrointestinal disorders

The main active substance in aloe is aloin, which is a glycoside with laxative properties. Aloin is found more specifically in the latex of aloe leaves, it is the amber liquid that aloe leaves give off when a cut is made. This substance is used in different products to combat constipation, since the main function of aloin is as an accelerator of defecation, this thanks to the fact that it stimulates intestinal peristalsis, that is, the contractions and natural movements that the intestines make for digestion. .

Aloin is not found in the gel of the aloe leaves, but in the skin or shell that covers the gel, that is why the leaves are usually used with everything and the green part for smoothies and teas against constipation. The fiber from aloe leaves is also useful against constipation, which is why some products contain aloe fiber as part of their ingredients.

Aloe Vera is believed to help prevent digestive problems, as its bitter taste stimulates the production of gastrin, a hormone produced by the stomach. Gastrin helps gastric acid and other substances such as bile and pancreatic juice to be released by the stomach and other organs of the digestive system, which contributes to better digestion, especially of fats and heavy foods.

Diabetes, cancer and degenerative diseases

Aloe Vera has the property of being hypoglycemic, this means that it helps to lower blood glucose levels. This hypoglycemic property of aloe is useful for cases of type II diabetes, when there are still functions in the pancreas.

Aloe Vera contains a substance called emodin, which is an organic compound with hypoglycemic properties, which helps lower blood glucose levels. Aloe Vera also contains glucomannan, which is a polysaccharide with the property of satiating the appetite and lowering cholesterol levels.

Both emodin, glucomannan, fructose, mucilage and fiber contained in aloe, help improve the health of people with diabetes, as some of these substances lower blood glucose and cholesterol, and others help to satiate the appetite and maintain healthy glucose levels. This does not mean that aloe “cures” diabetes, but rather that it helps to control blood sugar more easily.

Many people believe that aloe vera helps fight cancer, but there are no serious studies to support these claims. There is currently not enough evidence to state that aloe vera cures or shrinks cancerous tumors. Aloe Vera can help reduce some cancer-related discomforts, such as constipation and some digestive disorders. It can also reduce scars and ulcers from cancer and surgery.

Did you know it can cause side effects?

Yes, although it is generally harmless if taken carefully and in the recommended doses. Aloe vera can be irritating to some people, whether ingested or taken. Aloe latex can be irritating to some sensitive skin, and can even cause allergies and skin disorders.

Being a laxative, aloe vera and its extracts can cause diarrhea and vomiting, therefore it is not recommended in pregnant women, the weak and young children.

Some of the side effects of aloe are:

  • Urticaria
  • Redness
  • Diarrhea
  • He retched
  • Sickness
  • Stomach ache
  • Colic

It is very important not to self-medicate or substitute the medication established by the doctor, with aloe or any other plant. In case of any discomfort related to the use of aloe, it is important to stop using it and visit the doctor.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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