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10 Benefits Of Aloe Vera You Didn’t Know

10 Benefits Of Aloe Vera You Didn’t Know

Did you know aloe vera can help clear up acne? Or that the oral administration (i.e. aloe juice) of aloe vera may be a useful adjunct for lowering blood sugar in diabetic patients? It may even help prevent certain illnesses due to its incredible antioxidant activity.

When we think of aloe vera, the first thing that usually comes to our minds is using it to sooth and heal sun burns. However, these juicy, nutrient-rich plants are used all across the world in a variety of applications that can do wonders for your health. This makes complete sense when you learn that the plant contains over 75 different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, phenolic compounds, amino acids, and so much more goodness for our health.

Below is a list of the ten benefits of aloe vera that you probably did not know about:

1. Preventing Illness

Aloe Vera plants contain surprisingly high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals (highly unstable, reactive molecules responsible for aging and cellular damage) in your body, neutralizing them and preventing those cells from exacerbating into diseases such as cancer.

Did you ever think that the age of your aloe vera plant would impact its effectiveness on your health? One very interesting study out of China found that the older the aloe vera plant (Aloe Barbadensis), the stronger the antioxidant/free radical scavenging activity! Specifically, the study found that three-year-old aloe vera extract exhibited the strongest radical scavenging activity of 72.19%, compared to two-year-old and four-year-old counterparts that were also tested (1). Basically, it suggests that Aloe Vera contains different active components and antioxidant active components to different degrees at various stages of development. So make sure to keep you aloe plant for a few years for optimal health benefits.

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2. Aids In Digestion

Aloe Vera contains eight specific enzymes that do miracles for digestion. Specifically, the enzymes contained in aloe vera help the breakdown of food sugars and fats, which ultimately aid digestion and enhance nutrient absorption. Some of these enzymes are called lipases and proteases, and their job is to break down foods and aid digestion.

3. Contains Essential Amino Acids

Did you know that aloe vera contains 19 of the 20 natural amino acids required by the human body? Naturally, our bodies only produce 12 of these essential amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids (also known as “essential amino” acids) have to be consumed via food or drink. So next time you see an “aloe vera” drink in the store, it may not be a bad idea to have one now and again.

4. Aids In Glowing Skin

We have all heard of the miracles of “mineral makeup” by now, but you probably never would have thought that aloe contains 10 of the most important minerals for your skin {and it’s much cheaper than mineral makeup!}. The key minerals include calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc. So it may not be a bad idea to put aloe vera gel/extract on your face before bed to get that fresh, lovely glow in the morning.

aloe juice2 - Copy

    5. Helps Cure Acne

    As previously mentioned, aloe contains an array of minerals, one of which is zinc. Zinc us often found in many natural vitamins and skin care products for improving blemishes. Applying aloe both topically and taking it orally can help with your acne. Zinc reduces the amount of natural oil, or sebum, produced in the skin. It may also help heal damaged skin around the acne that develops. Some research even suggests that acne formation is a result in part from lack of zinc in the diet.

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    aloe vera for skin

      6. Reduces Pain

      Aloe Vera contains many enzymes (proteins), but one in particular is responsible for helping reduce pain.  Its name is kinase, and it specifically helps reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin to reduce pain. There are other enzymes in aloe as well that digest all of the dead tissue in your wound, leaving more space for healing, but kinase is the most well known.

      7. Repairs Skin During Frostbite

      There’s nothing worse than having a direct or indirect injury from frostbite.  Overall, there are four stages of frost bite; (A) numbness and redness of the skin (B) swelling, ice formation, blisters, and release of a chemical called “thromboxsne” (pain releasing chemical and blood vessel constrictor) (C) damage extends to the subdermis (deepest layer of skin that attaches bone to skin, and supplies muscle tissue with blood vessels and nerves) (D) full tissue thickness resulting in blood loss and even gangrene. (2).Overall, aloe has been suggested to reduce the level of “thromboxane” (i.e. pain) and has been used clinically on this assumption to treat the more severe blisters where there is structural damage (3,4).

      One interesting clinical trial study found that topical application of aloe vera cream to humans resulted in a 68% full recovery for patients with tissue damage. Contrarily, only 33% of other patients fully healed that received other forms of treatments for tissue cellular damage from frostbite. Another shocking result from this study was that in the first group only 7% required an amputation, compared with the 33% in the second group (5).

      8. Anti-Cancer Activity

      We all know aloe’s incredible ability to heal wounds, reduce pain and help clear skin, but did you know some researchers have found it to be an incredible active agent for tumor prevention? Although the research is still not complete as to whether or not aloe actually suppresses cancer, one study and set of results from Japan really stood out (6). The study surveyed a large group of lung cancer and smoking patients in Japan and found that the ingestion of aloe ‘juice’, presumably the gel, prevented pulmonary carcinogenesis (cancer in respiratory area) and was said to also prevent stomach and colon cancer (6).

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      9. Hair Growth

      Aloe Vera activates new hair growth along with the growth of already existing hair follicles by increasing the blood circulation to the scalp. Aloe Vera contains a kind of enzyme that helps in new hair growth for some people. It also cleanses the scalp by balancing the pH level of the scalp. When the scalp is clean and blood circulation to the scalp is good, nothing can stop the proper and faster hair growth.

      10. Reduces Blood Sugar

      Diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism characterized by a lowered insulin secretion (i.e. your body’s pancreas has a hard time converting sugar into energy). However, the causes, symptoms and treatments are varied and need to be carefully distinguished. However, one interesting study really stood out and deemed aloe useful for diabetes sufferers, or those who have trouble controlling sugar cravings/blood sugar. The study involved over 3000 “mildly” diabetic Indian patients and found a reduction in blood sugar levels in 90% of the cases after the patients were fed with bread that had incorporated aloe gel (7).

      Decreased wound healing is also a common symptom associated with diabetes. Aloe vera gel has even been found to have great inflammation-reducing properties in chemically induced diabetic mice {pretty cool!}. In a later trial, both excision and incision wounds in chemically induced diabetic rats healed more rapidly after both oral or topical applications of aloe gel when compared to another traditional chemical used for wound reduction in diabetics. (8)

      As you can now see, aloe vera plants pack a lot of benefits in their skinny little leafs. Refreshing, cleansing, healing, invigorating and detoxifying, aloe vera can make a great addition to your home life and improve your health.

      References

      (1) Yun, H., Juan, X., and Qiuhui, H., 2003. Evaluation of Antioxidant Potential of Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) Extract. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51 (26), 7788-7791.

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      (2) McCauley, R.L., Heggers, J.P., Robson, M.C., 1990. Frostbite. Methods to minimize tissue loss. Postgraduate Medicine 88, 73-77.

      (3) Raine, T.J., London, M.D., Goluch, L., Heggers, J.P., Robson, M.C., 1980. Antiprostaglandins and antithromboxanes for treatment of frostbite. American College of Surgeons 1980 Surgical Forum 31, 557-559.

      (4) McCauley, R.L., Hing, D.N., Robson, M.C., Heggers, J.P, 1983. Frostbite injuries: a rational approach based on the pathophysiology. Journal of Tramua 23, 143-147.

      (5) Heggers, J.O., Pilllips, L.G., McCauley, R.L., Robson, M.C., 1990. Frostbite: experimental and clinical evaluations of treatment. Journal of Wilderness Medicine 1, 27-32.

      (6) Sakai, R., 1989. Epidemiologic survey on lunch cancer with respect to cigarette smoking and plant diet. Japanese Journal of Cancer Research 80, 513-520.

      (7) Agarwal, O.P., 1985. Prevention of atheromatous heart disease. Angiology 36, 485-492.

      (8) Davis, R.H., Maro, N.P., 1989. Aloe vera and gibberllin. Anti inflammatory activity in diabetes. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association 79, 24-26.

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      Last Updated on January 11, 2021

      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

      Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

      Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

      1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

      Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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      2. Stress Relief

      Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

      3. Improved Sleep

      Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

      4. Appetite Control

      Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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      5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

      When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

      6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

      Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

      7. Mosquito Repellant

      Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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      8. Pain Relief

      While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

      9. The New Anti-Viral

      Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

      10. Improved Cognitive Function

      Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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      11. Money Saving

      With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

      Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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