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7 Unexpected Benefits and Usage of Aloe Vera

7 Unexpected Benefits and Usage of Aloe Vera

When people hear about aloe, they often will think immediately of the bottle of green gel that gets brought out every time someone has a sunburn.  While aloe is indeed a fantastic topical aid, treating red and peeling skin isn’t the only purpose this incredible plant serves.

Having been used medicinally for thousands of years, aloe can be traced back to ancient Egypt where pictures of the plant appear on pyramids and alongside the Pharaohs buried within.  Due to it’s ability to remedy so many maladies, aloe was once referred to as “the plant of immortality”.  To this day the plant is often grown, purchased, and used to treat a wide variety of issues.

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Let’s take a look at seven scientifically based benefits that this gift from nature can provide.

1. Aloe Vera Provides Antioxidant and Antibacterial Properties

Aloe contains a family of substances known as polyphenols which are converted into powerful antioxidants for the body.  For this reason, more and more people are adding aloe vera juice to their occasional diet.  Thought to help rid the digestive tract of toxins and impurities, the juice, which looks and tastes just like water, can be purchased at most health food stores.  Drinking just a cup of the juice can provide a powerful punch of antioxidants to the human body which can help fight off harmful bacteria.

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2.  Aloe Vera Juice Reduces Plaque

Don’t enjoy swishing with the powerful and chemically laden mouthwashes on the market?  Opt for a mouthful of aloe vera juice instead.  It may taste like water, but according to dental studies, aloe vera juice has reaped the same benefits of some of the strongest brands of mouthwash on the market.

The antibacterial properties of aloe kill off Steptococcus mutans and Candida albicans that are found in the mouth and can lead to plaque and tartar if not treated. The alkalizing properties of the plant are beneficial to prevent hair loss. Aloe vera can help to bring the scalp and hair’s pH to a more desirable level and free the skin from extensive sebum, which can suffocate hair follicles, causing thinning and brittleness of hair.

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3. Aloe Vera Can Relieve Canker Sores

The next time you have a painful canker sore in your mouth, instead of reaching for a tube of dental medicine that often doesn’t bring lasting relief, try an aloe patch instead.  In a study performed on 180 people with recurrent mouth ulcers, the aloe patch was proven to effectively reduce the size and symptoms of the sores.  If you don’t have a patch on hand, rubbing the plant’s gel directly on the sore will yield the same results.

4. Aloe Vera Provides Quick Relief to Burns

The FDA approved aloe vera as a powerful burn ointment back in 1959 and while many people use it for sunburns, they often forget about aloe when they obtain burns of another nature.  Compared to conventional medicine, studies have shown time and time again that aloe reduces the healing time of burns by up to 9 days.  Bypass the pharmaceuticals and reach for the aloe gel for fast relief when treating burns.

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5. Aloe Vera Improves the Efficiency of The Cardiovascular System

This powerful plant has the ability to reduce blood pressure by oxygenating the blood and helps reduce cholesterol due to its rich choline content.  Aloe has properties that allow for more efficient dilation of the blood vessels.  Whether taken in liquid or capsule form, or even applied topically, using aloe on a regular basis gives an extra boost to your hard working cardiovascular system.

6. Aloe Vera Can Be Used as a Regular Part of Your Skin Routine

Whether treating acne or attempting to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, aloe can help restore your skin’s vitality and improve the look and luster of your body’s largest organ. Used often for it’s soothing properties, aloe can be applied on sensitive or inflamed patches of skin, and can be applied after shaving to treat bumps or ingrown hairs. Due to it’s high water content, aloe can also be used to rehydrate skin, which will result in a glowing and radiant complexion. Even if you do not apply it directly, you can purchase lotion with aloe added to it.

7. Aloe Vera Helps Increase Vitamin Absorption

In a study conducted by the University of California’s Davis Medical Center, aloe vera was proven to help the body absorb vitamin C and B12. In this day and age, with food genetically modified and altered, often times our bodies cannot fully absorb the nutrients we ingest.  This can lead to malnutrition, which in turn leads to a host of bodily ailments and diseases. Using Aloe to increase absorption of important vitamins such as vitamin C and B12 can help the body function more efficiently and prevent malabsorption.

Sometimes nature’s miracles aren’t in test tubes or fancy bottles lining the pharmacy, but growing in our yards or in pots on a window sill.  Aloe vera is such a versatile and powerful plant that it has withstood vigorous testing by the FDA and proven time and time again that it is in a league of its own when it comes to medicine.  Whether you choose to grow your own plant or simply purchase it in the bottled form, aloe vera should be a part of your garden, grocery list, and regular routine.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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