“One of the first recorded accounts of aloe is found in records from Pedanius Dioscorides, who was a physician in the Roman army, a Greek herbalist and a master of Roman pharmacology around 41 A.D. to 68 A.D.,” says Barbara Rodgers, a certified holistic nutritionist. “Popularity is likely growing with this diverse herb because consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits 'alternative' treatments offer.”
According to Rodgers, aloe is also one of the few herbs that offers such a large range of benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties. Here’s a breakdown of all the health benefits that come from aloe vera:
1. It lowers cholesterol. “Research shows that aloe vera helps lower 'bad' cholesterol by lowering the production of cholesterol in the liver," says Rodgers. It also helps to increase "good cholesterol" by helping oxygen to move through the bloodstream.
2. It helps with digestion. Aloe vera is also known for helping with digestive conditions like constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn's Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis, among others. “It’s soothing to the gut and can help cleanse the digestive tract of waste that can clog your system,” says Dr. Rhonda Cambridge-Phillips. “It can also help support healthy digestion by establishing a good balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and enhancing the absorption of nutrients from our food.”
3. It reduces inflammation. According to Rodgers, the anti-inflammatory properties found in aloe vera can help reduce excessive inflammation in the body, which can be the cause of many health conditions, like eczema and Crohn’s disease.
3. It helps with diabetes. Diabetes is a result of too much sugar or glucose in the blood, which is caused by the body's inability to regulate insulin. Aloe vera is known for helping to lower those sugar levels in the blood and prevents them from spiking.
4. It’s good for your hair. There’s a reason why so many hair brands are now including aloe vera as a primary ingredients in so many of their products. “The enzymes in aloe help remove dead skin cells on the scalp that can clog hair follicles, preventing nutrients from penetrating the hair,” says Rodgers. “They create a more desirable pH level that supports hair growth, and the aloe leaf itself contains a chemical composition similar to keratin which conditions and smooths hair."
5. It heals skin. “The antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent and reduce acne,” says Phillips. “It also helps to speed up the healing process of existing lesions and prevents scarring." Those same anti-inflammatory properties also help in healing minor burns, including those caused by sun exposure.
6. It strengthens your immune system. Too much inflammation in the body can weaken your immune system. The anti-inflammatory properties in aloe vera bring down inflammation and essentially help to strengthen your immune system, which helps it to fight against foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, fungi, or damaged cells.