What Is Aloe Vera Gel?
Aloe vera is the scientific name of the plant known as “true aloe” or “medicinal aloe.” The plant form of aloe vera is a succulent, meaning it is a plant that stores water. These plants usually thrive in dry areas where retaining water is a survival tactic. Other types of succulent plants include pitcher plants and most species of cacti.
Aloe vera is prized in many cultures because of its uses in natural remedies. Reportedly, aloe vera and the extracts from the aloe vera plant can be used to treat wounds, burns, minor skin infections, certain types of cysts, and even chronic diseases like diabetes and elevated blood lipids. Aloe vera‘s uses in health remedies are said to be caused by the high saturation of chemicals in the sap–chemicals called polysaccharides, mannans, anthraquinones, and lectins.
Aloe Vera Gel Uses
Aloe vera gel is a generic name for any “gel” containing natural aloe vera extracts. People use aloe vera gel for many different purposes.
People claim that aloe vera extract and aloe vera gel soothes the pain and itching of small wounds and burns. Unfortunately for proponents of the use of aloe vera gel for wound care, a study in 2007 found that wounds treated with aloe vera gel actually took longer to heal than wounds treated with conventional medical treatment. Having said that, the study went on to suggest that the use of aloe vera gel on first and second degree burns was medically plausible, showing that first and second degree burns treated with aloe vera gel healed faster and caused less pain to the patient.
There is no scientific evidence yet that proves that aloe vera gel is a better moisturizer than anything commercially-produced. People swear that moisturizing products containing aloe vera gel or extract work well, and if you try an aloe vera gel moisturizer and like the results, there’s no reason to continue using it. The “gel” texture of aloe vera sap is the main reason for its use as a moisturizer and beauty product.
Antibacterial & Antifungal
The use of aloe vera gel in treating minor skin infections and fungal infections is widespread and has lots of science to back it up. Chemical compounds in the sap of aloe vera have antibiotic and antifungal properties that have been proven in the lab. Boils and cysts treated with aloe vera gel tend to heal faster and cleaner than the same wounds treated with medical products or nothing at all.
Besides simple wound and burn care, the ingestion of aloe vera has been shown to help control diabetes. An ingredient in aloe vera gel lowers blood glucose levels. Similar to its effect on diabetes, the ingestion of aloe vera gel has been shown to lower lipid levels in the blood. Even newer research has proven that ingesting aloe vera extract of any type can help to treat acute hepatitis and other diseases. Much of the research into the use of aloe vera as a medical treatment for diabetes or high blood lipids has shifted to using it as a cancer treatment, though this has only been proven in cats and dogs.
Modern chefs are starting to turn to various aloe vera extracts to add a special characteristic to their gastronomic creations. Aloe vera gel’s unique texture makes it a wonderful tool for chefs interested in “molecular gastronomy”, who are more interested in texture and appearance than traditional chefs.
Aloe Vera Gel Benefits
The benefits of aloe vera gel are many, as you should be able to tell from the wide array of medical and other uses for the gel listed above. Because aloe vera is inexpensive to cultivate, adding it to a medical treatment won’t carry the burden of adding other forms of treatment. You can buy aloe vera gel at health food stores and even grocery stores and other retail environments. The low cost of aloe vera gel is a huge benefit for people looking to use aloe vera extract or sap in their lineup of natural remedies.
Aloe Vera Gel for Acne
Unfortunately for acne sufferers, aloe vera gel won’t actually “heal” or prevent acne. But aloe vera sap and extract can help people suffering from acne.
The sap of the aloe vera plant can help to treat the redness and swelling that characterize acne. Basically, aloe vera gel can lessen the appearance of acne and help treat the pain and discomfort of lesions, but it will not keep acne from appearing.
Aloe Vera Gel for Face
Since aloe vera gel works well on acne, it stands to reason that using it on everyday pimples and blemishes is a good idea. Using aloe vera gel on problem blemishes is smarter (and cheaper) than using traditional medical treatments–you can keep an aloe vera plant in your backyard and break off a tiny bit of one of the leaves and apply it directly to your blemishes, rather than purchasing an expensive chemical treatment and smearing that all over your face.
Aloe Vera Gel for Hair
Adding aloe vera gel to your hair care products is a great way to turn an everyday hair product into a moisturizer. Aloe vera gel is an incredible moisturizer, and simply adding aloe vera gel to your commercial haircare product amps up that products moisturizing capability.
Aloe Vera Gel for Skin
Since aloe vera gel is a wonderful moisturizer on your hair, using it on your skin is a no-brainer. You can simply add some aloe vera gel to your favorite lotion or use aloe vera gel directly on your skin. Since aloe vera gel products are available in 100% organic or all-natural formulations, you can add aloe vera moisturizers to your skin without worrying about covering yourself in nasty chemicals.
Aloe vera gel and aloe vera extracts and saps are wonderful products with many uses. You can grow aloe vera plants in your yard, especially if you live in a hot or dry climate where aloe vera plants flourish.