‘Miracle plant’ aloe vera is versatile and powerful

Abi Jackson gives seven reasons to fall in love with aloe vera this summer 

It’s super-soothing...

Naturally cooling and soothing, it’s often hailed for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. “It can help to speed up new cell growth and repair damaged tissues,” says nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “That’s why it’s an excellent soother for irritated and burnt skin.”

It’s great in summer drinks

Ultra-refreshing and naturally sweet, aloe vera is making its mark in the healthy drinks market, whether you’re glugging an aloe-based drink, or topping up homemade smoothies and juices. “Aloe vera is what we call a ‘functional’ food. In other words, it has health benefits that can enhance our wellbeing,” says Simplee Aloe nutritionist Libby Limon, who lists helping to “balance energy levels” and supporting “our immune systems” among its properties.

The Egyptians loved it

Thought superfoods were a new concept? Throughout history, people have turned to nature in a bid to bolster their health. The Ancient Egyptians dubbed aloe vera the “plant of immortality”. It’s probably not going to make you live forever, but it is packed with vitamins. “Aloe vera, often called a ‘miracle plant’, has been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years,” adds Cassandra.

It might help with blood-sugar balance

Cravings, energy slumps, mood swings, tiredness... our body has lots of ways of letting us know when we’re consuming too much sugar. Sometimes, poor blood-sugar balance can contribute to weight gain too, often due to a
“diet high in carbohydrates with a lack of fibre, healthy fats and protein”, notes Libby.

“Aloe vera has healthy polysaccharides, which have been shown to aid blood sugar balancing, and therefore can be a great tool to help weight management alongside reducing refined carbohydrates and sugars in the diet.”

Helps fight bloating

“Aloe vera helps to improve the body’s digestion, beating the all too common bloat which is linked to an imbalance in the digestive tract,” says Libby. Aloe vera has been long known for its digestive benefits, which include anti-inflammatory properties and helping to support friendly bacteria.”

Boosts your complexion

“Aloe vera has a special, hidden quality which allows the body to absorb vitamin C and E from other foods. The body uses vitamin C to make collagen which helps keep skin healthy and elastic,” says Libby. “And both vitamin C and E are antioxidants, which protect skin against damage and ageing. Beautiful glowing skin is also linked to your digestion, hormone balance and detoxification. The aloe vera inner gel also has components which help with all three of these.”

It makes a great natural hair and face mask

On the lookout for more natural beauty products? It doesn’t get much more natural than this: scoop out the gooey insides of the plant, whizz through a blender and then apply to your hair for luscious, conditioned locks, or use as a soothing, replenishing face mask.


Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

More From The Irish Examiner