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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Aloe Vera, A Skin & Stomach Soother

Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis Miller


Also Known As: Aloe


Member Of The: Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) Family


Herbal Actions:  Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Antimicrobial


How To Identify: A Dense Rosette Of Thick, Fleshy, Green, Lace-Shaped Leaves With Serrated Edges


Internal Body Benefits: Extremely Nutrient Dense, Can Soothe Your Stomach & Support Overall Digestive Health


External Body Benefits: Helps Heal Wounds & Soothes Sunburns & Topical Skin Irritations


When To Use: When You Have A Topical Wound Or Skin Irritation In Need Of Healing & Soothing, Are Experiencing Stomach Pain Or Digestive Distress, Are Seeking Overall Digestive System Support



Aloe vera is a succulent that grows in dry, arid climates. So it stores water and nutrients in its fleshy leaves. This water then takes the form of a clear, gel-like substance. 


This mucilaginous gel contains 200 beneficial bioactive compounds including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, and is often harvested for its healing properties.


The use of aloe vera can be traced all the way back to ancient civilizations. Egyptians referred to it as the “plant of immortality,” and even depicted it in their hieroglyphs.


Today, aloe is still esteemed for its health benefits, and scientific research has confirmed many of its traditional uses.


Where Does Aloe Vera Grow?


Aloe vera thrives in warm, dry, climates. This makes complete sense, since aloe was first found growing on the Arabian peninsula. It’s an arid climate, and rocky mountains and sand dunes dominate most of the region. 


Several countries make-up The Arabian Peninsula including: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. 


Aloe is currently cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions around the world. 

Since aloe plants are drought-tolerant and do not require frequent watering, it is well-suited for container gardening. Aloe is commonly grown indoors as a houseplant, where it can be kept in bright, sunny locations.


How To Identify An Aloe Vera Plant?


Aloe vera is a succulent, so it stores water in its thick, fleshy, green leaves. (Although, they may appear slightly blue-green in certain lighting conditions.)


The lance-shaped leaves of an aloe vera plant grow in a circular pattern (a rosette), and have spiky, serrated edges.


Mature aloe plants regularly reach a height of one to two feet, but they can climb even higher when thriving. 


Wild aloe vera plants produce tall spikes of tubular, yellow or orange flowers that emerge from the center of the rosette in late winter or early spring. (Indoor aloe plants don’t always flower.)


They also have a shallow, fibrous root system that spreads out horizontally in the soil.

Aloe vera plants require plenty of sunlight but can also tolerate partial shade.


What Does Aloe Vera Do To Skin?


Aloe vera can be incredibly healing for your skin. In fact, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the therapeutic effects of applying aloe vera topically.


Here are some of the benefits that are backed by science:


-Aloe vera gel has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound-healing properties that contribute to its effectiveness in promoting skin health and healing.


-Aloe vera gel is also highly moisturizing for your skin. It helps to lock in moisture, which makes it an excellent choice for dry or dehydrated skin.


-Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm irritated or inflamed skin. It is often used to soothe sunburn, minor burns, insect bites, rashes, and other skin irritations. Applying aloe vera gel to affected areas can help reduce redness, swelling, and discomfort.


-Aloe vera contains compounds that stimulate skin repair and promotes the production of collagen (a protein that helps maintain skin elasticity and strength). Applying aloe vera gel to wounds, cuts, or minor burns can help speed up the healing process and minimize scarring.


-Aloe vera has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective for treating acne and preventing breakouts. It helps reduce inflammation, kills acne-causing bacteria, and unclogs pores. 


-Aloe vera contains antioxidants that help protect your skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Plus, it helps to prevent wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. 


-Aloe vera has skin-lightening properties that can help reduce the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and blemishes.



Is Drinking Aloe Actually Good For You?


It’s always important to keep in mind that every body is different and can have an individualized response to herbs and plants. 


But here are some things scientific studies have shown about aloe vera and its effects on the body:


-Aloe vera contains 200 biologically active constituents including polysaccharides, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. It’s extremely nutrient dense. 


-Aloe vera gel is rich in water and can help keep the body hydrated when consumed. 


-Compounds found in aloe vera gel, such as glucomannan and phytosterols, can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood glucose levels. 


-Aloe is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which have antioxidant properties and help protect cells from oxidative stress. 


-Aloe vera also contains B vitamins, including vitamin B12, and minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium).


-Aloe can support digestive health. Aloe contains compounds such as polysaccharides, enzymes, and amino acids that can help soothe and alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It can also promote regular bowel movements, relieve constipation, and enhance your body's ability to fight off infections. 


-Drinking aloe vera can also benefit the skin from within. The nutrients and antioxidants found in aloe vera may help support skin health, promote collagen production, and protect against oxidative damage.


Luckily, there are incredible tea blends, including HipyBritt’s Detox Tonic, that include aloe vera and make it as easy as brewing a cup of tea to add aloe into your daily wellness routine.


Can You Eat Aloe Vera Raw?


The short answer is yes! (But there’s a little more to it than that.)


Aloe vera leaves have three different parts: the skin, gel, and latex.


The skin (also known as the rind or peel) is the outer, protective layer of the leaf. Aloe vera skin is safe to eat. It has a mild flavor and a crunchy texture.


(If you find the skin to be a tad too tough to chew, you can soak it in water for 10 - 20 minutes to help it soften.) 


The latex (or sap) is a thin, yellow layer of liquid between the skin and the gel. It contains compounds with powerful laxative properties. 


While the latex has medicinal uses, it should be used cautiously, especially in high concentrations or for prolonged periods. Eating an excessive amount of the latex can cause uncomfortable side effects.


The gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe vera leaf. This gel is what’s harvested for aloe’s topical applications, and it’s incredibly nutrient dense. 

Aloe gel is rich in water (approximately 99%) so it can help hydrate your body, along with offering all the benefits listed in the answer above.

 

Some tips and tricks:

-Choose a mature leaf. In general, mature leaves tend to contain more gel and less latex.

-Rinse the gel. Rinsing the gel under cold water can help remove any remaining latex residue.



What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Aloe Vera?


There are many factors that influence your individualized response to herbs, especially those that affect the gut. While some of these effects may be your body working for you (in an attempt to heal), others may be due to a sensitivity or allergy.


It’s always important to be mindful of how much of an herb or plant you are consuming, (especially if it is your first time) and to monitor your body’s individualized response.


With that being said, some people may experience side effects from consuming aloe vera (especially if eaten in excess.


-Aloe vera’s latex contains compounds called anthraquinones (such as aloin and emodin) which have laxative properties. Consuming aloe vera latex, which is yellow and found just beneath the outer skin of the leaf, can lead to diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gastrointestinal discomfort. 


These effects are more likely to occur when consuming large quantities of aloe vera or when ingesting products that contain high concentrations of aloe latex.


-Some people may be allergic to aloe vera, and experience symptoms such as itching, skin rash, hives, or swelling after ingestion. 


-Consuming aloe vera may interact with certain medications:

Aloe vera contains compounds that may have anticoagulant (blood-thinning) effects. Consuming aloe vera alongside medications like Warfarin (Coumadin), Heparin, or antiplatelet drugs such as Aspirin may increase the risk of bleeding. 

Aloe vera may lower blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes. However, if taken alongside diabetes medications like insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs, it could enhance their effects, potentially causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Monitoring blood sugar levels closely is important when using aloe vera alongside diabetes medications.


Aloe vera latex has natural laxative effects due to its anthraquinone content. Taking aloe vera alongside other laxatives or medications with laxative properties may increase the risk of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and electrolyte imbalances.


Aloe vera may interact with medications used to treat heart conditions, such as digoxin. Aloe vera could potentially lower potassium levels, which may enhance the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of toxicity.


Aloe vera may interact with other herbs or supplements that have similar effects on blood sugar levels, blood clotting, or electrolyte balance.



Final Thoughts


For thousands of years, aloe has been revered for its impressive nutritional profile and healing properties. This skin and stomach soother contains compounds that make it beneficial to the body both inside and out.


Aloe can help soothe skin irritations and can help speed-up wound healing. 

Plus, it can soothe the stomach and help ease digestive distress, is a gentle, natural laxative that encourages regular, daily elimination, and supports overall digestive system health. 

Aloe can also enhance natural immunity, and support nutrient absorption. 


Even dried, aloe offers a myriad of body benefits.


Which is why HippyBritt’s Detox Tea Blend utilizes aloe’s dried roots and leaves to bring its healing essence to a tasty tea blend. 


Every herb in her Detox Tonic is supportive to your detoxification pathways, and supports your body’s natural detoxification processes. 

(Your detoxification pathways include your: kidneys, bowels, bladder, skin, liver, and lungs.)


Detox Tonic is an awesome option to drink first thing in the morning.

Not only is it invigorating, and pleasing to the palate, but it contains the perfect mix of herbs to be the first thing your cells come into contact with after your nightly dry fast.


***This herbal breakdown is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.***


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