The Egyptians called aloe vera the plant of immortality. Sounds pretty good, right? No surprise based on the nickname, but aloe vera has tons of benefits. Whether you replace your juice in the morning with a cold glass of aloe or lather it on your skin after a shower in the evening, you’re going to want to add this stuff to your routine.

Fighting The Good Fight

Aloe vera contains four fatty acids, multiple minerals and all the vitamins you could hope for – specifically A, C and E. These guys are your antioxidants. Antioxidant is a common term that gets tossed around, but it’s important to know what it really does. Antioxidants work to counter free radicals. ‘Free radicals’ is another buzzword; these are compounds in your system that are missing an electron, making them unstable. They spread like wildfire in your body because free radicals are constantly stealing electrons from your regular compounds and turning them unstable. These guys are loose cannons; they put a lot of stress on your body, are linked to the development of serious diseases like cancer and stunt your basic functions. Enter your antioxidant. These super heroes can donate electrons without turning radical, and thus do wonders for stopping the reign of the harmful fellas.

Antioxidants do more than just fight the good fight. They help with digestion and act as anti-inflammatory. That’s pretty huge if you have a sensitive digestive system because, when something gets irritated or infected, a little bit of inflammation is natural. Heck, even if you aren’t sensitive, everyone has an upset stomach every now and then. These fatty acids and antioxidants also make aloe a natural immune system helper. As an alternative to taking a powdered abundance of vitamin C, consider aloe vera to help keep you healthy during cold and flu season.

These internal benefits add up to aloe vera juice as a great way to combat a hangover. If you feel off and maybe a little nauseous after a night out, a glass of aloe vera juice does wonders for soothing and coating the stomach. Give it a try if you have a big celebration around the corner. I was occasionally using this stuff as a hangover cure before I knew about all the benefits, and, once I did a little research, I had to add it to my regular routine. The taste is slightly sour and the texture is probably different then what you are used to, so try mixing it with water or smoothies to start out, if you’re on the picky side. There are also flavored aloe vera beverages that maintain these internal benefits and add some sugar for taste.

Rub This Stuff In

If you haven’t been putting aloe vera on your sunburn already, then this is about to be life changing. I’m not referring to aloe vera infused lotions; I’m talking about the actual aloe vera gel. Yes…straight from the plant. It works wonders for hydrating your skin and the relief is instant. In fact, these plants can be used on any type on minor scratches, burns and blisters, and it’s a lot more natural than the chemical goop you buy at the drug store. It’s awesome because it kills bacteria, but honestly the best part is the instant relief. When you burn yourself on the stove, all you want to do is keep your hand underneath the faucet all day. Since that isn’t realistic, aloe is your next best bet.

These internal and external benefits find synergy for the athletic fella. It can be taken orally to relieve inflammation or rubbed on topically to an injured area to help with aching and swelling. A lot of the sports related cuts and scratches are right up aloe vera’s alley. It’s ideal for abrasions that aren’t very deep, so it can be soothing and healing for something like a turf burn.

Bonus Round!

We’re learning more and more about aloe vera all the time. Recently, there was a study with statistically significant evidence stating that aloe vera helped depression, learning and memory in mice. The next step is figuring out if it has the same impact on humans. For those of us who want to avoid taking in too many artificial chemicals or pills, these signs are pretty exciting.

Already in love? Ready to buy your own plant? It’s nice because you won’t need to keep running to the grocery store to load up on gel since you will have more growing right on your window sill. The upkeep isn’t much, either. You just need to water it once every 10-14 days in the summer, and, even though you’ll be keeping your plant inside, it goes dormant in the winter and needs even less water. For how much it’s doing to help you, aloe vera is crazy low maintenance.

So, Quick Summary

Aloe vera repairs you inside and out. It provides much-needed vitamins and minerals, and these fellas work together to build up your immune armor and keep things running smoothly. They beat down free radicals, too, and your skin is already thanking you for the topical benefits. It’ll kill bacteria, repair abrasions and provide instant pain relief. Overall, the Egyptians were on the right track with the naming, and let’s be honest, they look just as cool as your bamboo plant and are more helpful.