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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 August 20, 2019

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • They rile up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      The Bottom Line

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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