1. Aloe Vera – The Wonder Plant!
Aloe Vera, or Aloe barbadensis, the modest houseplant, is a ‘miracle’ and wonder plant. It is a succulent plant. The plant does not usually have a stem or has a very short stem with considerably thick, greenish, fleshy leaves that fan out from the plant’s central stem. The margin of the leaf is jagged or saw-like with small teeth.
It is a famous and widely accepted medicinal plant that people have used for thousands of years. It is a stocky, thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. It is best known for treating skin injuries but has several other uses that could benefit health. The Aloe Vera plant can not only be used for a variety of health benefits, but also, it is an easy and attractive succulent that makes for a great indoor companion.
Aloe Vera contains over 150 nutritional ingredients (like amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, lignin, monosaccharide, polysaccharides, salicylic acid, saponins, and sterols); all of them have a beneficial effect on the skin. Aloe Vera has been used by many cultures, including Indians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, and all of them have used aloe Vera as a medicinal or healing plant.
More than 300 species of aloe Vera have been found by botanists, like rumex, barbadensis etc. Of these species, only five have the strongest medical benefits: Aloe barbadensis miller, Aloe perryi Baker, Aloe ferox, Aloe Saponaria, and Aloe arborescens.
Out of this lot, Aloe barbadensis miller is the most widely used and most potent. Throughout the history of Aloe Vera, the plant has been in various forms having tropical properties referred to as ‘the plant of immortality.
2. What Are the Benefits of Aloe Vera?
Let us quickly delve into some extraordinary benefits or upsides of Aloe Vera:
# Aloe Vera contains salubrious and nourishing plant elements or compounds. Each leaf includes a viscous tissue where water is stored, making the leaves thick and juicy. The “gel” you link with Aloe Vera products is the water-filled tissues. The gel contains almost all beneficial bioactive compounds, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.
# It has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Aloe Vera gel consists of potent antioxidants belonging to a large family of materials referred to as polyphenols. These polyphenols, together with the numerous other compounds in Aloe Vera, help preclude the increase of sure bacteria that may reason infections in humans.
Oxidants like minerals (for example-zinc, magnesium, selenium), enzymes (for example-catalase and superoxide dismutase), amino acids (for example-cysteine, anthraquinone), and vitamins (for example-B2, B6, E, and C) make Aloe Vera one of the most powerful skin repairing herbs. Antioxidants are important for health.
# Aloe Vera is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, which is exactly why it may help heal wounds and treat skin problems. It accelerates wound healing. People most often use Aloe Vera as a topically, rubbing it onto the skin rather than consuming it. It has a long history of use in the treatment of sores, particularly burns, including sunburn.
In the reports published by The United States Pharmacopeia, Aloe Vera containing preparations, be it Aloe Vera gel or smoothies, were described as a skin protectant as early as 1810-1820. Studies suggest it can be effective topical treatment for first and second-degree burns.
# It reduces dental plaque. One of the best ways to prevent these unforeseen situations is to reduce the accumulation of plaque (a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria proliferate), or bacterial biofilms, on the teeth. A mouthwash study was conducted on several hundred physically fit people, and the standard mouthwash ingredient “chlorhexidine” was compared to 100% pure Aloe Vera juice. After 4 days of experimentation, the Aloe Vera mouth rinse appeared to be no less but, in fact, equally effective and as good as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque, which is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria reproduce and multiply rapidly.
# It helps to treat mouth ulcers and canker sores. Many people have mouth sores or ulcers. Studies have shown that Aloe Vera can be used to treat mouth ulcers, which is believed to speed up the healing process.
# It reduces constipation. However, it is the latex, not the gel, that provides the benefits. The sticky yellow residue present just under the skin of the Aloe Vera leaf is known as latex. The primary and crucial compound responsible for this effect is aloin, or barbaloin, which has entrenched purgative effects.
# It may improve skin, prevent wrinkles, and act as an anti-aging remedy. Anti-oxidant, anti-erythrogenic (or inflammatory), skin restoring and repairing actions, and amino acids present in Aloe Vera make it a very good anti-aging remedy (it reduces the effects of aging). The amino acids present in Aloe Vera assist in restoring the collagen and elastin in the deeper layer of skin that depletes with age. One study reports that oral intake of Aloe Vera for about 90 days improves wrinkles.
# Aloe Vera can be used in controlling blood sugar levels. People sometimes use Aloe Vera for treating diabetes. This may enhance insulin sensitivity and help alleviate or improve blood sugar levels. But due to the quality of the existing studies not being ideal enough, scientists do not currently recommend using Aloe Vera as the primary way to control blood sugar levels.
# Aloe Vera consists of 96-97% water. Thus, it hydrates normal to oily skin without clogging the pores. Dissimilar to regular, market-bought moisturizers, Aloe Vera gel doesn’t leave a greasy film on the face and the skin when used as a moisturizing gel. It does the exact opposite – unclogs the pores and softens the skin. Aloe Vera also helps reduce dark patches; at least one study reports that the active ingredient aloin causes melanin aggregation, leading to skin lightening.
# Aloe Vera can also be used to treat hair issues. Like skin reproduction, Aloe Vera gel increases blood circulation to the scalp, thus helping in activating new hair growth. It also provides essential minerals and vitamins.
# Aloe Vera contains proteolytic enzymes that help repair and restore dead skin on the scalp. Aloe Vera also keeps dandruff at bay since it helps in healing dry skin, fungal infections, and excessively oily skin. All these are significant causes of dandruff. It is one of the natural ways to get rid of dandruffs.
3. Now, Drumroll, Aloe Vera Juice Recipe!
Aloe Vera juice is not just a scrumptious but nutritious addition to any drink or smoothie. Aloe Vera juice is a gooey, thick liquid made from the pulp of the Aloe Vera plant leaf.
Aloe Vera has been historically used both topically and orally. Consuming the Aloe Vera plant’s gel is known to soothe swelling, prevent indigestion, and regulate blood sugar levels.
4. How to Make Aloe Vera Juice?
Wondering how to make homemade appetizing Aloe Vera juice? We got you covered. Following are not just one but two methods to make your homemade Aloe Vera juice.
4.1. Ingredients that You Will Require:
- Sharp knife
- Aloe barbadensis leaves
- A variety of fruits and produces (for making Aloe Vera drinks, juices, and smoothies)
Method – 1
Wash the Aloe Vera leaf under a running stream of water and let it dry. Aloe Vera secretes a yellowish liquid (yellow Aloe latex) that is toxic, so you’ll need to wash it well. If you’ve just harvested it from your orchard, let the leaf sit inside for an hour or so, so that all the liquid (also known as “latex”) gets out. Then wash the leaves.
Use a clean piece of cloth to dry it, and then you’re ready to cut into it. Almost all the store-bought Aloe Vera leaves have already had the time to release the toxic yellow latex, but you should still wash the leaf beforehand to remove any dirt and debris that might be present. Consuming yellow latex is likely to cause severe abdominal muscular spasms, diarrhea, and vomiting, and if you are allergic to latex, it can be deadly.
Use a sharp knife, cut the side rind off the leaf, and pull it apart. Cutting the sides off will make it easier to crack open the leaf. Slice into the side junction of the leaf with the tip of your knife and slide the blade down the entire length of the Aloe Vera leaf. Once the leaf is pulled apart, you should have 2 pieces. Discard the tough outer skin of the leaf that you’ve cut off.
Peel the yellow layer (to avoid stomach discomfort) just beneath the rind with a sharp knife. Carefully use the blade of the knife to peel away any yellow residue and specks—the toxic substance known as latex secreted by the leaf when it’s picked. Discard this yellow layer once you’ve removed all of it. You should be left with nothing but a clear, viscous, or gooey substance.
Wash the knife with dish soap and water after removing the latex. The Yellow wax can also be removed by gently rinsing the leaf in a solution of 1 tablespoon (3.0 teaspoons) white vinegar and 240 mL of water. Redo and replicate this step for both leaves.
Use a spoon to scoop up all the clear Aloe Vera gel. Run the edge of a spoon over the leaf to collect the clear gooey mass. Scoop up as much as you can—at least 2 tablespoons (6.0 teaspoons)—and place directly in a blender or an airtight container if you want to use it later.
Make sure there are no yellow or greenish spots in the extracted gel. The gel can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, but use it immediately to get the most health benefits (and the freshest taste).
And you are done!
Mix Aloe Vera gel with oranges to make an easy sipper. Place 2 tablespoons (6.0 teaspoons) of Aloe Vera gel and 3 whole oranges (peeled) into a blender and blend on high speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
You can also mix the gel with 16 fluid ounces (470 ml) of orange juice (with or without pulp) if you don’t have fresh oranges. Aloe Vera gel has a bitter, sour taste and can have a cleansing effect, so the first step is to dilute it with some other liquid.
Mix your homemade Aloe Vera gel with fresh watermelon juice for a bright and sweet taste. This watermelon and Aloe Vera drink/juice is sumptuous, light, and refreshing and can help ease digestive ailments and provide other health benefits. Use about 4 cups (950 mL) of fresh watermelon juice (cut into chunks).
Place the juice or watermelon chunks in your blender along with the gel from 1 Aloe leaf, blend it at high speed until it’s fully liquid, and that’s it! Add lemon or lime juice for a citrus kick. Store the juice in an airtight container or bottle in the refrigerator for up to 5 days if you are not drinking it immediately.
Add it to fruit smoothies for a hydrating refresher. Blend 1⁄2 cup (120 mL) strawberries or blueberries, 1 banana, 1.5 cups (350 mL) milk (any kind), 4 tablespoons (12 tablespoons) Aloe Vera gel, and 1⁄4 cup (59 mL) of ice in a blender. Blend on high speed for a minute or two (depending on the power of your blender) or until the mixture has a smooth, creamy texture.
You can keep this smoothie in the fridge (in an airtight container) for up to a day, but it’s best enjoyed fresh! For a richer taste, use vanilla or chocolate-flavored nut milk. Add 1 tablespoon (3.0 teaspoons) or 2 tablespoons (6.0 teaspoons) of peanut or almond butter for a thicker consistency and sweet, nutty flavor.
Create a detoxifying green smoothie with Aloe Vera. Pour 240 ml of unsweetened green tea (freshly brewed) into a blender with 1 tablespoon (3.0 tsp) Aloe Vera gel, 1 cup (240 ml) fresh spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1⁄2 cup ( 120 ml) pieces of pineapple, and 1 pitted date. Blend on high speed until it becomes a paste of smooth consistency, which should take about 1 or 2 minutes, depending on the power of your blender. For a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, add 1 tablespoon (3.0 tsp) of chia seeds.
Prepare a tasty tropical treat with pineapple and papaya. Place 4 tablespoons (12 tablespoons) of Aloe Vera gel, 3⁄4 cup (180 mL) of pineapple cubes, and 3⁄4 cup (180 mL) of papaya cubes in a blender. Blend on high speed until it becomes smooth and creamy. Then pour the drink into serving glasses with ice cubes and lemon juice and enjoy!
To create a tropical cocktail, stir in 1.5 fl oz (44 ml) of tequila, vodka, or gin. Stir in 1 teaspoon (0.33 US tablespoon) of honey to sweeten. This drink is also said to be beneficial for long-term weight loss.
And you are all set to go.
5. Benefits of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice:
It contains antioxidants. According to scientific research, the Aloe Vera plant is believed to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Many people use it to treat and relieve certain skin conditions such as burns and wounds. The proposed anti-inflammatory(swelling) activity of Aloe Vera is due to the presence of polyphenols – a group of plant compounds rich in antioxidants.
The topical application of Aloe Vera is generally believed to help treat certain skin conditions. Consuming Aloe Vera juice might help treat skin conditions and improve skin appearance. Research has also found that taking Aloe Vera supplements can help improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles and the effects of aging.
It may benefit pre-diabetes treatment. Preliminary studies and research have found that Aloe Vera juice can improve fasting blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes.
Aloe Vera juice may help in treating digestive issues and indigestion. Aloe Vera juice may work as a purgative or natural laxative, though research on the safety of Aloe Vera products is lacking. Some research suggests aloe could have other benefits on digestive health, but more research is needed.
Drinking Aloe Vera juice can improve oral health. Aloe Vera juice and mouthwash can improve oral conditions because they contain potential antibacterial properties.
9.1 grams of vitamin C is contained in about 8 ounces of fortified Aloe Vera juice. This vitamin is vital to a person’s overall health because it is a natural antioxidant and helps fight swelling.
6. Downsides or Side-Effects of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice:
If you are someone who swears by Aloe Vera juice, wait till you read these 4 side effects. Even though some benefits of Aloe Vera juice which been backed by scientific research, there is also corroboration that the drink may trigger some side effects. Consequently, You must know Aloe Vera juice’s side effects before consuming it excessively as a health drink.
Consuming Aloe Vera juice in very large quantities can result in a drastic drop in blood sugar levels. It can cause your blood sugar to drop drastically, especially if you have diabetes or have any other insulin-related condition. Before you start consuming Aloe Vera juice, it is important to consult a doctor.
Consuming Aloe Vera juice in excess quantities may amount to dehydration. If you have Aloe Vera juice daily, try to decrease your consumption because it botches up the electrolyte balance in your body. This may cause dehydration and show up in changes in the color of your urine.
Since Aloe Vera juice has cleansing or laxative properties, it can disrupt bowel function and increase the likelihood of irritable bowel syndrome. This can lead to diarrhea.
It might cause unanticipated fatigue. Aloe Vera is believed to mess up the potassium levels in the body, which may give rise to sudden headaches. It could also lead to abnormal heartbeat, muscle cramps or spasms, etcetera.
Avoid drinking Aloe Vera juice if you are allergic to other plants in the lily family (like onions and tulips).
7. Additional: Make Aloe Vera Gel at Home!
The store-bought Aloe Vera gels contain too little to almost no Aloe Vera gel. If you’re tired of reading labels or spending a lot on fancy natural juice at the health food store, homemade is the better way to know exactly what’s in your juice.
So, why restrict yourself from making fresh aloe juice in the comfort of your home each time you want to drink it? Wondering how you can make Aloe Vera gel in the comfort of your home with actual Aloe Vera contents in a few easy steps? We have your back. Without further ado, Let’s get into it!
7.1. Ingredients You Will Need:
- an Aloe Vera leaf
- a knife or vegetable peeler
- a small spoon
- a blender
- an airtight container for storage
- powdered vitamin C and vitamin E (optional)
Wash the plant rigorously to remove any dirt or residue. Set up a clean cutting board and a sharp knife to remove the green outer layer or the leaf’s skin. Start by cutting away the spiked folds on either side of the leaf until you spot the clear gel.
Wash it well, removing any possible dirt, and then stand it upright in a cup or bowl for 10–15 minutes. This allows the yellow-tinted liquid substance to drain out of the leaf. The resin contains latex, which can irritate your skin, so going through this step is essential.
Then scoop it into the blender using a small spoon. Be careful not to include any pieces of Aloe Vera peel. Stir the gel until it foams and liquefies, which should only take a few seconds. And that’s it, and your gel is ready to use!
However, if you plan on keeping it for more than 1 week, you must add preservatives. Vitamins C and E are excellent as preservatives and can significantly prolongate the shelf life of your Aloe Vera gel. Although the gel naturally contains some of these vitamins, it is not enough to keep it in the best conditions for more than 1 week.
The Bottom Line:
Aloe Vera is commonly known as a topical gel used to treat sunburns. It also promises other health benefits, primarily due to its antioxidant properties. Initial research has shown that Aloe Vera may benefit skin, teeth, mouth, and digestive tract health. It may even improve blood sugar control. However, long-term data from human clinical trials are needed to confirm these benefits.