Humans have been using aloe vera for more than 6,000 years. The Egyptians were the first to stumble upon the extraordinary healthful properties of this plant and named it the “plant of immortality.” Today aloe vera supplements, pills, capsules, cream, and powder are using to treat a number of illnesses: bad digestion, baldness, burns, wounds, skin irritation, insomnia, and cancer. More benefits of the plant are being discovered. South Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America are major producers of aloe vera.

Many experts call aloe vera a superfood. Health practitioners have been recommending it to patients for more than two centuries--the plant has powerful anti-fungal, antiviral, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. The large quantity of minerals and vitamins help the body resist illnesses. A chemical named adaptogen--found in the plant--boosts the body’s defense mechanisms and help the brain deal with stress more effectively.

The benefits of aloe vera are not limited to skin and the immune system. Researchers have demonstrated in that it can be used in the treatment of cancer and some forms of cardiovascular disease.

Aloe vera supplements and skin cancer

A recent study in Asia on a group of albino mice has found that aloe vera creams and powders are effective to treat state-2 skin carcinogenesis. When the researchers used croton oil and DMBA on the mice, the cancer grew uninhibited. But when the test subjects were treated with aloe vera, the mice showed 60 percent less chances to develop tumors. In other words, the chances of getting tumors were reduced significantly.

Scientists have hypothesized that the positive effects of aloe vera are due to its interaction with blood. A report published in 2000 in the British Medical Journal shows that the plant is capable of increasing oxygen in blood. One more benefit of using aloe vera was that side effects due to chemicals--which are common when chemotherapy is used--are fewer, and even non-existent.