Apr 06 - 12, 2009

You probably already know how great aloe vera is for your skin. Do you also know aloe vera is one of the most vitamin and mineral-packed nutrition drinks you can find? Many people drink aloe vera gel as well as use it on their skin, gums, hair, and scalp, for a number of reasons. Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a home remedy. The benefits of aloe vera are manifold. Aloe contains slippery, slimy constituents that have a demulcent (soothing) effect, as well as a vulnerary (wound-healing) effect.

Aloe vera, a member of the lily family, also known as the Medicinal Aloe, is a species of succulent plant. Aloe Vera derives its name from the Arabic word 'alloeh', which means bitter. There are nearly 240 varieties of Aloe growing in the dry regions of Africa, Europe, Asia and America

Modern clinical studies show that aloe is one of the best herbs for soothing skin and healing burns, rashes, frostbite, and severe wounds. It also is used to treat eczema, dandruff, acne, ringworm, gum disease, and poison oak and ivy. Aloe vera gel is used to treat first-degree burns for speedy healing. Many people keep an aloe plant in their kitchen so it is readily available to treat burns from grease splatter or hot utensils

You can break off a part of the leaf and use the fresh gel to apply on any burn or other wound. . When the aloe vera leaf is broken, it oozes a thick sap that drips from the open end. This bitter sap is used to accelerate wound healing and reduce inflammation. The health and nutrition benefits of aloe vera juice, and aloe vera gel for the skin, are legend. While Aloe vera latex the yellow substance that comes from the inner side of the skin can be highly irritating both externally and internally. Some people who have reported adverse effects from Aloe vera may be ingesting or applying this latex. Carefully removing all skin and any yellow substance before using Aloe may avoid such adverse effects. Gel used should be completely clear, odorless and tasteless

Aloe vera gel is made by pulverizing the whole leaves of the plant whereas Aloe Vera juice is made from the nutritious inner gel. Aloe vera gel is used to shrink warts and lessen the painful effects of shingles. Aloe Vera juice has natural detoxifying powers that ease constipation and cleanse the colon. When aloe vera juice is taken twice daily in 2-4 oz doses it is said that it can help a person to maintain optimal health. It is also said that aloe vera juice could benefit a person with intestinal or stomach problems. It aids the digestive tract to work smoothly. It is also said that aloe vera juice can improve circulation.

Aloe vera juice is known to benefit those suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The residues that accumulate within the colon are loosened and naturally dispersed with regular consumption of aloe vera juice. Any internal lesions or ulcers will also be healed, Aloe vera juice is said to possess soothing properties that help in colitis, peptic ulcers and digestive tract irritations. Aloe vera juice contains some anti-inflammatory fatty acids that alkalize digestive juices and prevent over acidity. Preliminary studies have suggested oral A. vera gel may reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis. The plant has been used for centuries as a carminative and digestive aid. The dried gel is mixed with seeds of various herbs and consumed after a meal.

Aloe vera is also used in dental problems such as bleeding gums and denture stomatitis. In a double-blind clinical trial the group using an Aloe vera containing dentifrice and the group using a fluoridated dentifrice both demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of gingivitis and plaque gel from the Aloe vera leaf has shown good results in treating facial edema. When used a mouth rinse, aloe vera offers benefits for treating lockjaw and cold spores.

An early study published in the International Journal of Dermatology in 1973 describes the effects of aloe vera gel applied topically on leg ulcers. Each of the three patients studied had a serious raw, open sore on a leg that persisted for 5 to 15 years. (These ulcers commonly occur in individuals with diabetes, those who have problems with blood circulation, and those who are bedridden.) After aloe was repeatedly applied to the ulcers, they healed completely in two patients; the third patient's ulcer showed significant improvement.

A.vera leaves contain a range of biologically active compounds, the best studied being acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones and anthraquinones and various lectins, Aloe vera's beneficial properties may be attributed to mucopolysaccharides present in the inner gel of the leaf, especially acemannan (acetylated mannans). Acemannan is being studied for its beneficial effects in boosting T-lymphocyte cells that aid the immune system. This molecule stimulates the body to produce disease-fighting white blood cells, particularly macrophages. The word macrophage means "big eater" -- macrophages engulf and digest unwanted substances, such as bacteria and viruses, in the bloodstream and tissues. Macrophages also release substances that battle tumor cells and fight infection.

Another constituent of aloe, aloin, also is being studied for its ability to prevent breast and ovarian cancer cells from growing. Scientists are investigating the use of aloe in treating cancer and certain blood diseases, particularly those associated with low white blood cell counts, such as leukemia.

The outer leaf also contains alpha/beta quinones. Often called a glycoside and laxative this molecule has received much attention in recent years. Reported through separate, independent laboratory studies quinones are shown to increase cell membrane permeability in leukemia cell lines as well as other cancer cell lines,

Aloe vera Skin Care: A common usage is to soothe dry, chapped and sunburned damaged skin Aloe vera cosmetics are available as lotions, aloe vera creams, powders, makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, razors and shampoos. Skin care products with aloe vera increase the availability of oxygen to the skin and thereby aid synthesis and strength of the skin tissues. Many of the skin care products containing aloe vera are also fortified with Vitamin E and collagen to maintain the skin's elasticity and suppleness and keep the moisture in. The benefits of Aloe vera can be availed as capsules too. These capsules contain aloe vera juice in a freeze-dried form. It contains over 75 nutrients and 200 active compounds, including 20minerals, 18amino acids, and 12 vitamins including Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C. As a food supplement, aloe vera capsules aid blood and lymphatic circulation and facilitate digestion.

Food preservative: Researchers at the University of Miguel HernĚndez in Alicante, Spain, have developed a gel based on Aloe vera that prolongs the conservation of fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and legumes. This gel is tasteless, colorless, and odorless. This natural product is a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic preservatives such as sulfur dioxide. According to the researchers, this gel operates through a combination of mechanics, forming a protective layer against the oxygen and moisture of the air and inhibiting, through its various antibiotic and antifungal compounds, the action of microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses.

Indeed, the aloe vera plant is important. You may not notice and recognize how good it could be but in many ways, it could truly help. Take note of the list of things it could do, and you would surely believe how versatile the plant is for everyday living.