The hearty and beautiful Aloe vera plant is most commonly known for treating minor burns with its cooling gel. But did you know that it also helps your body maintain a first-class defense system?
A Lancet study found that oligosaccharides—substances that your body produces from the saccharides found in Aloe vera—were proven effective against a broad range of bacteria, including E. coli, Bordetella pertussis (responsible for whooping cough), S. pneumoniae (a cause of pneumonia), and H. pylori (the cause of some peptic ulcers). Plus, the oligosaccharides help prevent infection-causing microbes from colonizing in your bladder, upper respiratory tract, and other vulnerable spots. Other studies have confirmed this antibacterial power, as well as power against viruses and fungi.
And that’s the just one part of aloe’s health benefits. This versatile plant may also improve the digestion and assimilation of dietary protein, and assist in the healing of peptic ulcers. This is likely due to its soothing properties, its suppression of the enzyme pepsin when the stomach is empty, and its power against ulcer-causing H. pylori.
But wait, there’s more. Aloe has also been associated with rapid and significant improvements in blood sugar control, as well as significant improvements in blood triglyceride levels, which suggests that the succulent may also help to lower your risk for the cardiovascular disease that so often accompanies type-2 diabetes.
Aloe comes in many different forms. You can simply add four ounces to 12 ounces of mineral water. Stir well and drink. If you prefer, you can also add a splash of pomegranate juice to sweeten it a bit.
If the taste is not to your liking, you can also use aloe supplements. Take as directed on the package.