A member of the lilly family, the aloe vera plant grows throughout the African continent. It is used for medicinal purposes in dozens of counties around the world from India and China to Japan and the United States.
The health benefits of its large leaves were first discovered by the Egyptians several thousand years ago and today aloe vera can be found in everything from hand cream to shampoo. This is because the gel like substance produced by the aloe vera plant is a natural soother that can alleviate the pain of cuts, burns or general irritation and inflammation. There is also evidence to show that plant can help improve acne and other skin problems.
Aloe vera is also known to help slow down the appearance of wrinkles as it can actively repair the damaged skin cells that cause the visible signs of aging. It won't hold back the sands of time but it can help keep you looking younger for longer.
Aloe vera is also beneficial to the inside of your body as well as the outside. The plant is said to have a wide range of benefits from encouraging a healthy digestive system to balancing the blood glucose levels of diabetics. Aloe vera can also help relieve heartburn, boost energy levels, and improve the immune system. It can also help remove toxins from the body.
Aloe vera can be taken orally in juice or tablet form. You can find aloe vera drinks in most supermarkets and health food shops.
There is still some debate as to the true benefits of the aloe vera plant. Most experts agree that it can be beneficial in some cases but many disagree with the claims made by a number of aloe vera products.
The best way to approach aloe vera, or any other herbal remedy, is to hope that it makes a little difference. If you expect dramatic results, you may well be disappointed.
Top tip - take care when buying aloe vera drinks as some contain significant levels of caffeine and sugar.
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