Aloe Vera Juice for Hair: Improve Hair Growth and Health Naturally
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With a bevy of products available online and in stores, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your particular hair. Especially if you are dealing with hair thinning or loss, oily hair, or hair damage in general; you want to be careful with the decision as to which product you will use. One product may tell you it will decrease the oiliness of your hair, but you may be left wondering if it in turn will make your hair brittle and dry on the other end! Choosing to use more natural products for your hair is often the best decision you can make. You are decreasing chemical exposure to your body and using products that have significantly fewer ingredients, which can translate into fewer unwanted side-effects. Aloe vera is one of those natural products that has been traditionally used for skin ailments but also has applications for hair health.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a plant that has been used for millennia for its various medicinal properties. Being a succulent, this green and spiky plant is known to grow throughout the world including in North Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Central, South, and North America, Australia, and Russia. When cut open, the leaves of the aloe vera plant reveal a gel that has historically been used for topical applications as well as for funereal gifts in ancient Egypt! According to the National Institutes of Health, there are depictions of aloe vera in ancient Egyptian carvings and it was revered as a life-giving plant.
Medicinal Uses of Aloe Vera
Throughout time, this plant has been used for many purposes including:
- as a laxative
- for wound healing
- help with hair loss
- bring relief from hemorrhoids.
Other uses include helping with burns, frostbite, dry skin, osteoarthritis, and difficulties with the bowel. The two main elements of the plant which impart its useful properties are the clear gel found within the leaves and latex. The gel is usually used on the skin while the latex is often taken by mouth to help with constipation.
Research Supporting the Use of Aloe Vera
Research seems to indicate that the constituents of aloe likely are helpful for some of the aforementioned ailments and that use of them is very likely safe for humans. There are particular conditions that research does support the use of aloe for, such as for psoriasis, dandruff, damage to the skin from burns, and possibly genital herpes in men.
Aloe Vera Safety
Some people who take aloe latex by mouth may experience abdominal cramping; it can also induce diarrhea, thus potentially decreasing absorption of dietary nutrients as well as of any medications the subject may be taking at the time. While some people may be interested in the blood-glucose-lowering effects aloe can have, this can be dangerous for people with diabetes due to the potential risk for hypoglycemia.
Accordingly, it is important to pay attention to your body and any symptoms that may occur when using aloe or its constituents. Research also substantially supports the use of aloe juice as a laxative. Including aloe vera as an ingredient in over-the-counter laxatives has been restricted by the FDA due to a lack of evidence supporting the safety of use in that manner. And in addition to the glucose-lowering effects of aloe vera, research indicates that it may lower cholesterol as well.
Aloe Vera Juice and Hair
Studies of the aloe vera plant and its byproducts have indicated that the plant contains:
- fatty acids
- moisturizing components
- anti-inflammatory components
- a number of vitamins including C, E, B vitamins
Each of these components is thus able to contribute to the health of hair in a variety of ways. For this reason, aloe vera and aloe vera juice are largely used in treating dry hair and skin conditions, such as dandruff and sunburn. It is also used to clean hair that is considered oily; it is gentle on the hair (unlike other harsh hair products) while effectively reducing the amount of oil produced by glands present near the hair follicles. It will not dry the hair out and leave it brittle. Instead, it seems that the fat-soluble vitamins present in aloe vera (vitamins A and E), in addition to vitamin C, helps promote the proliferation of new hair cells, leading to healthier, shinier looking hair.
It is also known that vitamin B12 and folic acid can help prevent hair loss, both of which are found in the aloe vera plant. And we all know that aloe vera can help with sunburn; this is partly due to the plant’s collagen and cooling properties which helps soothe inflamed skin.
These same properties can work in the same way for hair, helping to bring relief to damage inflicted on your locks by the powerful sun. Still, further research indicates that aloe vera increases blood flow to the areas where it is applied; this implies that when applied to the scalp, the results can be decreased hair damage and loss and possibly increased hair growth. This particular effect has yet to be fully researched, but there are plenty of anecdotal accounts of aloe vera being effective for these purposes.
With that in mind, consider using aloe vera juice for your hair the next time you find it is damaged, dry, or simply looking bland. Aloe vera can help bring some life back to your hair while helping you to avoid unnecessary chemicals found in other products. The natural vitamins, minerals, and compounds found in aloe vera not only make it useful medicinally but also make it useful cosmetically, particularly for hair health.