Aloe Vera, sometimes referred to as "The Potted Physician", is a legendary plant that has a long history of being used not just medicinally, but also for its numerous health benefits.
With its unmistakeable appearance, Aloe vera is not only popular with plant enthusiasts, it's also frequently used and praised by many who are into natural remedies and holistic healing.
We've included Aloe Vera in our "Superfood Series" because in addition to its many topical uses and benefits when applied to the skin, it can also safely be ingested for additional nutritional and health benefits.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is categorized into what is called "succulents", a family of plants known for their hardy nature and resistance to dry conditions. One characteristic of succulents is they tend to have thick, fleshy stems, leaves or roots where water and moisture is stored. It is also classified as an evergreen plant which means it never sheds its leaves, and a perennial, that lives more than 2 years.
Originating for the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera grows wild in warm and dry climates all over the world, where it is often cultivated commercially for a variety of purposes.
Aloe vera also features widely in gardens, as pot plants and in terrariums. Not to mention in all sorts of products, which include food, lotions, cosmetics, ointments, and pain relief.
History & Traditional Uses
Aloe vera has a long history, with records of its use going back millennia. It was often mentioned in ancient Egypt, with hieroglyphics showing it used. The plant was greatly valued, believed to be a source of immortality and beauty. It was used by royalty and the elite thanks to its ability to help give a wrinkle-free and youthful complexion.
From the earliest times, it was recorded as being used in Ancient China as an important medicine, both externally and internally. As well as in Japan, where aloe vera was called the royal plant, with its juice recognized as a powerful tonic.
There is also evidence of its use in Arabia as an anti-inflammatory, pain relief remedy, as well as a treatment for other problems.
In the West, it is believed that the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, sent a task force to get it from the island of Socotra near Somalia. He wanted it for his troops to eat before battle, to give them strength.
Later, the Romans used aloe vera as medicine to treat the war wounds of the legions.
In the middle ages, the English started to import aloe vera from Socotra as medicine.
So what makes this super plant so special and beneficial?
Aloe Vera Nutritional & Biochemical Profile
Aloe vera "gel" is a clear, thick, substance that oozes from the plant when its leaves are cut. It is 98% water but also contains biochemicals, which give it the properties that have been known for such a long time.
Like so many plants, it is full of vitamins and minerals. First and foremost, it has a lot of vitamin C, so vital in the absorption of iron in the body, assisting the immune system, and maintaining healthy muscles, bones and teeth.
Other important vitamins in aloe vera include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
However, what makes aloe vera unique are its useful enzymes. Among these are amylase, aliiase, and lipase, which are essential in starch and fat digestion. In the absence of enzymes, our cells would not work. They are catalysts, which means they help, essential cell reactions. Without enzymes, such reactions would be impossibly slow.
Aloe vera gel also contains some fatty acids from the steroid group (not the performance-enhancing type) – cholesterol, campesterol, and others. These fatty acids help give aloe vera its notable anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic properties.
Health Benefits When Consumed
The edible part of Aloe vera are the leaves, which have three parts: skin, gel, and latex (a clear yellow liquid under the skin of aloe vera). It is the gel, which provides most of the health benefits.
While the gel is usually put on the skin, it’s safe to eat if prepared correctly by removing an aloin. The gel has a most refreshing taste and it can be added to a variety of food, including smoothies and sauces.
A healthy juice can also be made from it by scraping and separating the gel from the leaves and latex then mixing it with fruit juices like orange or melon juice. This juice can be drunk on its own or mixed into smoothies. Many health products now include Aloe vera gel making it a lot more convenient to consume.
What are the particular health benefits of consuming aloe vera?
Here are five:
Drinking the juice helps prevent dehydration. You must be properly hydrated for your body to work properly. Being water-dense, aloe vera is ideal for this.
Aloe vera juice is great for liver health thanks to its many phytonutrients, hydrating properties and qualities that assist with body detoxification.
Aloe vera has long been used as a laxative and with good reason, thanks to its ability to help augment the amount of water in the intestines. In addition, it's also good for the health-promoting bacteria found in the gut. Aloe Vera latex, which can be quite bitter, is sometimes used thanks to its purgative qualities. However, if constipated, drinking aloe vera juice can also help promote more regular and easier bowel movements.
Aloe vera juice can help with skin condition such as acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. This is thanks to its antioxidants and vitamins that known to nourish and help protect the skin.
Other Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses
As mentioned, Aloe vera has many uses external or topical uses, primarily in regards to the skin:
Aloe Vera can help the effects of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, from the sun. The gel when applied directly to the skin feels cool and helps soothe sunburn. This is because it naturally moisturizes, promotes healing and can even help reduce skin peeling that usually accompanies sunburn.
Skin, Anti-Aging & Blemishes
Aloe vera's anti-aging benefits for the skin primarily result from its antioxidant content, which help combat free radicals and consequently slow the appearance of aging. It also promotes improvements in skin elasticity and collagen production.
Aloe vera can also help fade dark spots on the skin, called hyperpigmentation, which are often caused be sun exposure, acne, or aging. This is thanks to the biochemical called aloesin.
Additionally, the gel contains antimicrobial properties which can help skin that is prone to acne. It is also very soothing for complaints like psoriasis and eczema.
Many people people have reported that rubbing the gel on the skin lessens the appearance and spread of unsightly stretch marks.
Aloe Vera is an excellent natural skin moisturizer. As a result, many beauty brands and cosmetic companies produce products containing aloe vera gel to make use of its properties that help to hydrate the skin and retain moisture.
Scalp & Hair
The moisturizing benefits referred to previously for the skin are also very useful for the scalp and hair. Mixing aloe vera gel with shampoo is great for dry scalps, hair and dandruff. Aloe vera can also be used as a scalp mask to help soothe, exfoliate, hydrate, strengthen and smooth the hair follicles.
Aloe Vera In Phenoh REPLENISH
Phenoh has recognised the amazing hydrating qualities of aloe vera and includes it as an important natural ingredient in REPLENISH for Hydration. REPLENISH is the first sugar-free Rapid Hydration drink mix powered by Perfect pH® – for complete hydration, peak performance, and daily wellness.
REPLENISH Hydration Superboosters are loaded with Potassium-packed Electrolytes, Magnesium, and 84 Trace Minerals from Himalayan Pink Salt. Plus, along with Aloe Vera, they also contain plant-based superfoods Bamboo, Green Spirulina and Antioxidant Support from Complete Vitamin C, D + Zinc. Bounce back from symptoms of dehydration, feel well, live energized, and perform at your peak.