The Nourishing Properties of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera, we’ve all heard of it, and people have been using it for thousands of years. Its earliest reference is on a Mesopotamian clay tablet from 2100 BCE, so you know this powerful plant packs a true punch. In herbal traditional medicine, from Greek to Indian, Aloe Vera has been used for the treatment of wounds, skin and fungal diseases, infections, and hair loss. More recently western medicine has used Aloe Vera for treatment of burns (including radiotherapy burns), wound healing, constipation, and gastrointestinal disorders. Of course, all those benefits are wonderful, but we will put that on pause so we can focus on why you are here—for the amazing hair benefits. So, let’s dive into Aloe Vera’s amazing hair benefits and see what so many naturals are raving about!
Aloe Vera’s Ingredients
Aloe Vera or Aloe barbadensis is a member of the Liliaceae family and is one of approximate 420 species of the genus Aloe. Aloe Vera has over 75 active ingredients, a few that are important to our hair are:
Vitamins -B1, B2, B6, folic acid, choline- These vitamins prevent hair loss and greying, increase nourishment to the hair-follicle cells and promote hair growth.
Minerals- calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and zinc all are which are key to maintaining healthy hair, by providing strength, improved blood flow, flexibility and shine.
Amino Acids- The four centrally focused on the hair are: L- Methionine- sulfur-containing amino acid that supports hair strength; L-Cysteine- provides sulfur and is important for the synthesis of keratin and is critical as skin, nails, and hair are high in L-Cysteine; L-Lysine which helps fight male pattern baldness by reducing 5-alpha-reductase, check out the earlier blog post here about how this helps; L-Taurine is the most important for hair health because it helps build keratins in the hair, without it, hair loses color, strength and results in hair loss.
Antioxidants- Vitamin A, C, E which enhance cell turnover and collagen synthesis and help protect the skin and hair from premature gaining and greying, and fights the damaging effects from UV light and environmental damage
Saccharides (sugars)- provide antiallergic properties and anti-inflammatory properties and is important in converting proteins into hair cells.
Enzymes- 8 enzymes which help reduce excessive inflammation and keep the scalp healthy.
Fatty Acids- provides nutrients to the hair follicles and delivers anti-inflammatory and some antiseptic and analgesic properties.
The Scientific Evidence
In one study, the Mucopolysaccharides found in Aloe Vera initiated a hair growth cycle in rabbits. Aloe Vera improved blood circulation to the areas applied and moisturized the hair.
In a 1998 study on the effects of Aloe Vera on seborrheic dermatitis (in hair and skin) found that Aloe is an effective therapy on patients with seborrheic dermatitis by reducing skin inflammation and reducing dandruff and other various issues.
In another study, Aloe Vera gel was studied for its antimicrobial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and found to be effective in the treatment of various bacterial diseases located on the hair follicles or skin. Also, the study indicated that areas treated with Aloe had increased circulation, penetrating into the skin and digesting dead tissue and moisturizing the skin underneath! Talk about healing from the inside out.
While the research for actual hair growth in human subjects is limiting, there were numerous studies on the use of Aloe Vera in dermatological, wound healing, infectious disease, and metastatic cancer. Click here for this table of controlled investigative trials.
How to use Aloe Vera in your regimen
Try your own DIY recipe below or leave your favorite recipe in the comment section.
My favorite Aloe Vera Recipe
Directions: Scrape the Aloe Vera gel from the leaf into a blender, blend until smooth. Strain the contents into a applicator bottle. Boil 1 tsp of the Marshmallow Root Ultra Slip Detangler and let cool and then strain contents into applicator bottle with the Aloe Vera gel. Mix well and then use in the shower after shampoo. Let sit on your hair for 30 minutes and then fully detangle your hair and rinse out. Mini tutorial found on my Instagram story on Aloe vera
Recipe: Aloe Vera Gel Leave-in Conditioner #1
-Aloe Vera leaf
-10 drops of essential oil (pick your favorite!)
Directions: Add water and scrape the Aloe Vera gel from the leaf into a blender, blend until smooth. Strain the contents into a spray bottle. Add an essential oil of your choice and shake lightly again. Use daily or as often as needed to restore softness.
Recipe: Aloe Vera Gel Deep Conditioner
-Aloe Vera leaf
-1/4 cups of Almond or Coconut oil
Directions: Blend the Aloe Vera and then mix together thoroughly equal parts aloe vera gel and 1/4 cup of oil of your choice. Comb this mixture through your hair, leaving it in for about 30 minutes. Wash it off with a mild shampoo.
How do you use Aloe Vera in your regimen?