Ananta Ripa Ajmera
advisor of Ayurveda at THE WELL
This anti-aging, immunity-building herb offers an array of health advantages — particularly for women.
In Sanskrit, the ancient language of Ayurveda, the word for aloe vera is kumari, which means ‘a beautiful young girl.’ Aloe vera is known in Ayurveda as that which keeps a woman always youthful. It is a rejuvenating herb, part of a special class of Ayurvedic herbs known as rasayana. Rasayana herbs are anti-aging, immune system-building, healing agents that help protect your body from the natural wear and tear of everyday life and stress.
Long revered for its potent ability to support natural beauty, skincare and digestion (the key to overall health, according to Ayurveda), aloe vera is a perfect herb for women to befriend throughout their lives.
Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has purgative properties (or laxative effects), which make it very supportive for those who suffer from constipation, to help you clear your bowels properly. While most purgative substances tend to be heating, aloe has a property of being cooling. This makes it particularly beneficial for those suffering from painful, burning hemorrhoids. Fresh aloe pulp can be applied externally to hemorrhoids and left on for 30 to 60 minutes to provide relief.
Healing Heat-Induced Conditions
The cooling qualities of aloe vera make it a potent medicine for healing burns of all kinds: those induced by the sun, by accidentally touching hot stoves or furnaces or those the skin can produce when it is excessively heated from within. Applying aloe vera gel to your head when having heat-induced headaches is also very effective. It is also deeply hydrating for your head, skin and whole body, depending on how you consume it.
Aloe vera is a friend for your skin, by helping to alleviate fresh stretch marks, boils, blisters, bleeding wounds, fungal infections, eczema and insect bites. Ancient Ayurvedic texts describe the blood-purifying, toxin-releasing actions that aloe vera has. It is also a powerful anti-wrinkle remedy.
Aloe vera is known in Ayurveda for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, which has been backed up by recent research as well.
Aloe vera also has certain benefits that are particular to women. These include:
Relief from Painful or Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Consuming aloe vera gel with coconut sugar or jaggery (an Ayurveda practitioner like myself can recommend the right amount for you personally) on the first three days of your period can be very relieving for excessive bleeding, particularly when accompanied with pain. Specific recommendations around aloe vera consumption can also be made for those struggling with irregular menstrual cycles. The cooling qualities of aloe vera gel also make it excellent for women experiencing hot flashes during menopause.
Breast Pain Relief
Aloe vera is soothing for situations of mastitis and tenderness of breasts during the menstrual cycle. Its gel can be applied directly to the breasts to give relief.
Ovulation, Fertility and Libido Enhancer
The ancient Ayurvedic texts describe the fertility-enhancing, aphrodisiac qualities of aloe vera gel, particularly when taken as a candy or in gel form (up to two tablespoons daily).
"The ancient Ayurvedic texts describe the fertility-enhancing, aphrodisiac qualities of aloe vera gel."
Frequently Asked Questions About Aloe Vera
1. Is it preferable to use fresh aloe vera gel or the kind you can buy and apply from a bottle?
While I tend to recommend staying as close to nature as possible, there are also some very effective products that incorporate aloe vera in a gel. It’s always a good idea to do your research as to the ingredients that are used, and to see what percentage of the product is made of pure aloe so you can get the most beneficial results.
2. Is it beneficial to drink fresh aloe vera juice in the morning?
You can try consuming up to 1/8 of a cup of aloe vera juice if you struggle with constipation and feel you can use some all-natural laxative support. I would, however, always recommend consulting a practitioner prior to embarking upon herb consumption, to ensure the best results for you. Ayurveda practitioners like myself always create a custom herb protocol that combines different herbs to target whatever conditions you need support with. Click here to book a complimentary intro session with me to learn more.
3. Should anyone not consume aloe vera?
If you struggle with diarrhea or loose stools, aloe vera would not be advisable. Due to the heating post-digestive effect it has when taken orally, internally consuming aloe vera during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is generally not recommended.
Two Ways to Integrate Aloe Vera Into Your Beauty Routine
1. Add it to your hair to prevent grays.
Aloe vera gel is an excellent friend for your hair. According to ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, the reason your hair goes gray and falls out prematurely is due to excess heat (or excess of the Ayurvedic bioforce called pitta dosha, made of the fire and water elements, which is responsible for transformation and metabolism). When you eat very spicy foods and do activities like sunbathing, saunas, and heavy exercise, the heat in your body increases. This can lead to hair fall and graying. The cooling and sticky attributes of aloe vera can help your hair to stay in place, with its natural color intact.
Apply clear aloe vera gel (or a store-bought product with aloe) to your hair at night, or add it to your shampoo when you wash your hair. You can look for aloe-infused shampoos, as well.
2. Apply it to your skin to keep wrinkles at bay and clear up acne.
Research suggests that aloe vera helps your skin produce collagen, working as an all-natural kind of Botox, tightening your skin and helping keep wrinkles at bay. You can apply it to the area around your eyes and use all over your face for powerful anti-aging benefits. It goes great underneath any makeup you wear. You can also apply it all over your face at night.
Aloe vera can also help clear up acne, especially when you add a little honey to it. It is also very soothing to apply directly to wounds, or areas of your skin where there is itching and/or inflammation.