Egyptians called the aloe vera the “plant of immortality” six thousand years ago. It has been used for thousands of years all over the world as a medicinal plant. Today, aloe vera is one of the most commonly grown plants and one of the most useful. It has well known medicinal uses and it has earned its place as a home remedy for many diseases and ailments.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant. It has thick fleshy leaves in which water is stored. It produces two substances, the aloe vera gel which is produced from the inner part of the leaves, and aloe vera latex which is found in the leaves’ outer layers. Aloe vera gel is water mixed with other substances and aloe vera latex is sap which is produced just inside the upper layer of the leaves.
Some benefits of drinking aloe vera juice
1. Alkalizes the body: The human body functions optimally when there is a balance between acidity and alkalinity. This is maintained by the food we eat. For the ideal balance between the two, our food should be eighty percent alkaline and twenty percent acidic. Aloe juice makes our body alkaline and helps keep the optimum balance needed for functi
oning. Diseases do not survive or flourish in a body which has the proper acid-alkali balance.
2. Helps in detoxing the body: The aloe vera juice has more of a gel like consistency rather than a watery consistency. When the leaf is split, the juice runs sluggishly rather than quickly. This is an important property of aloe vera juice. As it runs slowly through the intestinal tract, it absorbs the toxins that are present and carries them through the system to be eventually eliminated.
3. Strengthens the immune system: Aloe vera juice contains monosaccharides, which are simple sugars and polysaccharides, which are complex long chained sugars. These sugars are not broken down in the digestive tract but are absorbed in the body as it is and appears in the bloodstream. These sugars help in producing macrophages which are a type of white blood cells that eat and digest waste and foreign bodies in the blood. A certain type of polysaccharide called Acemannan present in the juice, improves cellular metabolism by normalizing cellular function and regulating the flow of nutrients and wastes in and out of the cells.
4. Lowers high cholesterol: Aloe vera contains a substance known as beta sitosterol which has been shown to have the property of reducing high cholesterol level in the blood and bringing it under control. This sterol has a chemical composition that helps stop cholesterol absorption thus reducing the overall levels in the body and promotes good cardiovascular health.
5. Fights inflammation: Inflammation can be present in the body for many reasons such as injury or as an autoimmune response, causing pain and reducing the capability of functioning. Aloe vera juice has fatty acids, salicylic acids and hormones called auxins and gibberellins that help in combating inflammation. These anti-inflammatories work by stimulating the immune system function and collagen growth, or by blocking the paths of irritants. In fact, beta sitosterol is used by many runners to reduce or prevent swelling after a competition
6. Reduces digestive tract irritation: Aloe vera juice has certain properties that can reduce digestive tract problems such as ulcers, acid reflux and general irritation.
a) It is an adaptogen which can regulate bowel movements and make them more regular.
b) It soothes the system and reduces acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.
c) It is a vermifuge as well and helps to get rid of worms.
These properties of the plant work together to promote proper digestion that is so important for good health.
7. Relieves constipation: Aloe vera juice helps regulate the digestive system in cases of both constipation and diarrhoea. It has twelve anthraquinones, which are laxatives. It also regulates the gut bacteria and promotes the well-being of the entire digestive system.
8. Stabilises blood sugar: Drinking aloe vera juice is a good way of boosting circulation, increasing blood oxygenation and controlling blood sugar. There is recent evidence that drinking aloe vera juice can lower both cholesterol and blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. A study that was published in Planta Medica found that taking aloe vera every twelve hours was noticeably superior in lowering blood sugar than placebos and showed no harmful side effects. There are three compounds in the juice that provide this benefit: lectins, mannans and anthraquinones.