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The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Fields

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species that is found in Africa but cultivated all round the world with prickly leaves growing up to two feet long from which the gel is obtained bearing spikes of yellow or orange flowers. There were references to Aloe Vera by the Ancient Egyptians both for its healing and cosmetic properties and it is claimed that Queen Cleopatra used it calling it “the elixir of youth” and later Mahatma Gandhi stated that it sustained him through his fasting periods. It is claimed that Aloe Vera has many nutritional benefits such as:

  • Nourishing and protecting the digestive system
  • Provider of energy
  • Protecting skin from free radical damage and promoting regeneration
  • A source of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians

The gel from the leaf contains 20 minerals, 18 amino acids, 7 essential amino acids and 12 vitamins and it can also be made into a juice to drink which may help to soothe stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion as well as decreasing the number of unfriendly gut bacteria.   Aloe Vera does have a quite strong bitter taste and needs flavouring or adding to something like a fruit smoothie. It is also available in concentrated form as tablets which may prove to be a preferable way of gaining the beneficial effects,

Some people claim that Aloe Vera can balance the immune system and help to regulate levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood and trials are being conducted to further substantiate this theory. Some early tests on animals seemed to indicate that it did indeed boost the immune system to attack cancer cells and more investigations into this need to be carried out.

An extract taken from inside the outer lining of the leaves is called aloe latex and can be dried into brownish granules containing a substance that is used to treat constipation but there have been some reports of unwanted side effects.

Because of its softening and soothing properties  Aloe Vera is used in many skin and beauty products such as cleansers, moisturisers and soaps including products designed for children and babies. It is also used in wound healing products and is popular for use topically on burns including sunburn. Some people with cancer use Aloe Vera to help soothe and heal burns caused by their radiotherapy treatment and although there is no formal research evidence to support this it is recommended by many health care professionals for this purpose. Other cancer patients have used the gel inside their mouths to treats the soreness and ulcers often a side effect from chemotherapy treatment.  Aloe Vera toothpaste is available which is less harsh on teeth and gums than other products and it seems to fight mouth and gum disease and thereby reduce cavity formation. Aloe Vera can be used to soothe the irritation caused by many skin disorders such as shingles, genital herpes, insect bites, stings and psoriasis.

Aloe Vera has been given the labels of “wonder plant” and “miracle plant” and does indeed have a wide range of possible uses with promising results. Why don’t you try one or more of the products and decide for yourself whether the claims are justified? If you are suffering from any medical conditions or using other medications we recommend you consult your Doctor before using.