The aloe vera plant is such a wonderfully healing plant. Most notable for it’s effects on sunburns and inflamed skin, there are many other ways in which this wonder plant can be beneficial for our overall health. Seeing as February is Heart Health Month, today we’ll focus on the heart health benefits of the aloe vera plant.
The aloe vera plant can be traced back up to 6,000 years in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used it to treat wounds and called it the “plant of immortality.” They also buried the plant with their pharaohs. The Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese also used it for both skin care and medicinal use.
With over 250 different species, the aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it great for treating a variety of skin conditions, as well as inflammation and digestive issues. The plant contains over 200 nutrients, including B vitamins, amino acids, iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, and enzymes.
Perhaps one of the most important ingredients present in the aloe vera plant is B-sitosterol, which is structurally similar to cholesterol. Not only does it have the ability to replace cholesterol, it also effectively prevents the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
Aloe vera is also a strong detoxifying agent, and can help flush the blood of impurities, as well as enlarge blood cells and promote new blood cell growth. It also helps promote good circulation, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and boosts the immune system. Studies have also shown that aloe vera can improve the viscosity of blood, allowing it to more efficiently carry oxygen to different organs.
One study from India has also shown aloe vera to lower blood lipid levels, triglyceride levels, and low density lipoprotein levels (the “bad cholesterol”), each of which when elevated, tend to increase the build up of fatty material in arteries, including the coronary artery of the heart.
Aloe vera truly is a miracle plant in its own right! Not only is it a great healer of skin wounds and other conditions, when taken internally, aloe vera takes on a whole new set of healing properties. Its ability to improve circulation, regulate blood pressure, and lower cholesterol make it a wonderful candidate to help lower the risk of heart disease.
The most beneficial forms are the gel and juice of the plant. The recommended dose for high cholesterol patients is 20 ml of aloe vera juice in a cup of water twice a day. There are a few different forms of aloe vera that can be taken internally to restore and maintain our health:
- Pulp juice
- Whole leaf dried powder
- Whole leaf concentrate
- Aloe Vera gel concentrate
- Aloe Vera whole leaf freeze dried powder
Although aloe vera is very gentle on the body, some people may have allergic reactions since it is a member of the lily family. Side effects may include cramping and diarrhea. Diabetes patients should use caution with aloe taken orally as it may lower blood sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking aloe vera internally for longer than one year may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. As with starting any health regimen, it’s best to consult your doctor before adding aloe vera to your diet.
About the Author:
Sarah is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mother. She is the author of Nature’s Nurture – a blog about everything simple, natural, and homemade – in which she documents the changes she’s making to slowly convert her home into a more natural, sustainable, toxic-free environment for her family. Nature’s Nurture also serves as a resource for others looking for simple ways to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can follow along at her blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.