Aloe vera is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe. An evergreen perennial, it originates from the Arabian Peninsula, but grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world. People have used it for thousands of years for healing and softening the skin. Aloe has also long been a folk treatment for many maladies, including constipation and skin disorders. The cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries use aloe vera extensively, and the plant has an estimated annual market value of $13 billion globally. Each leaf contains a slimy tissue that stores water, and this makes the leaves thick. This water filled tissue is the “gel” that people associate with aloe vera products. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.
The gel contains most of the beneficial bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants .Aloe vera gel contains powerful antioxidants belonging to a large family of substances known as polyphenols.
SKIN PROBLEMS AND WOUND HEALING
Aloe vera is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. This is part of why it may help heal wounds and treat skin problems. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that topical aloe vera gel can slow aging of the skin. The United States Pharmacopeia describe aloe vera preparations as a skin protector as early as 1810–1820.
Aloe vera may also help treat constipation. This time it is the latex, not the gel, that provides the benefits. The latex is a sticky yellow residue present just under the skin of the leaf. The key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has well established laxative effects.
LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL
People sometimes use aloe vera as a remedy for diabetes. This is because it may enhance insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management.
This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.