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7 Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera

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Overview

Aloe vera gel is widely known to relieve sunburn and help heal wounds. But did you know that your favorite potted plant can be used for much more than sunburn relief and household décor?

The succulent has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, dating back to ancient Egypt. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands. Today, aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to potentially slowing the spread of breast cancer, researchers are just beginning to unlock the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts.

HEARTBURN
Heartburn relief

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in heartburn. A 2010 review suggested that consuming 1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD. It may also ease other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.

Keeping produce fresh

2014 study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.

 

An alternative to mouthwash

In a 2014 study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.

 

Lowering your blood sugar

Ingesting two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day can cause blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy. This could mean that aloe vera may have a future in diabetes treatment. These results were confirmed by another study published in Phytotherapy Research that used pulp extract.

But people with diabetes, who take glucose-lowering medications, should use caution when consuming aloe vera. The juice along with diabetes medications could possibly lower your glucose count to dangerous levels.

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