Benefits Of Aloe

The aloe is a perennial plant; the strong, fibrous root produces a rosette of fleshy basal leaves as in the agave but considerably smaller. The narrow-lanceolate leaves are 1-2 feet long and whitish-green on both sides, and they bear spiny teeth on the margins. The yellow to purplish, drooping flowers, which are evident most of the year, grow in a long raceme at the top of a flower stalk up to 4 1/2 feet high. The fruit is a triangular capsule containing numerous seeds.

AloeOther varieties: Bombay aloes (Aloe socotrina), not to be taken during pregnancy, used similarly to aloe vera. Aloe perryi (or Bombay aloe, Turkey aloe, Zanzibar aloe); found on the island of Socotra near the entrance of the Gulf of Aden. This is used like aloe vera, although considered by some to be less powerful. Aloe saponaria; found in South Africa; natives use the leaf pulp and yellow juice for ringworm. Aloe tenuior; found in South Africa; natives use a decoction of the root for tapeworm. Aloe latifolia, found in South Africa; some natives use the leaf pulp to treat inflamed boils and sores; others use the leaf pulp and the plant's yellow juice to cure ringworm.


Therapeutic Uses

Internal Uses:
  • The herb is used internally to combat most digestive problems, including
    • constipation
    • poor appetite
    • colitis
    • irritable bowel syndrome as well as
    • asthma
    • diabetes
    • immune system enhancement
    • peptic ulcers
  • Studies have also shown that when aloe is taken internally it can stimulate and regulate various components of the immune system by stopping the inflammation and blood supply of tumors and also showed interesting results in preventing carcinogenic compounds from entering the liver and is combined in some cancer treatments.
  • The juice of the inner leave can be used for its anti-inflammatory effect it has on Crohn's disease but the laxative and bitter principle of aloe must NOT be used by people suffering from Crohn's disease as it causes griping and cramping.
  • It contains aloemannan which stimulates the growth of healthy kidney cells and helps to slow the formation of kidney stones.
  • The juice can be used very successfully to treat heartburn as well as ulcers and to soothe the lining of the digestive tract. It is not that effective to treat stress induced ulcers, but can be used for peptic ulcers caused by excess acid, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as alcohol use.
  • The oral use of aloe has produced good results in patients suffering from asthma when the asthma sufferers were not dependant on corticosteroids for treatment.
  • The exude from the leaves are used as a strong purgative and stimulant laxative but can cause griping and has an abortifacient effect and should not be used in pregnancy.
  • The bitter principle in aloe exudate which cause the laxative effect is preferable to use than that of cascara and senna, as aloe draws less fluid into the large intestine and are less likely to cause electrolyte imbalance than the other two.
  • In a study where volunteers ate 120 grams of parboiled aloe for lunch and supper a marked decrease in cholesterol, triglycerides and sugar was found, while in another test using aloe extract, it reduced fasting blood-sugar dramatically which is probably due to the stimulating effect it has on the pancreas to produce more insulin.
External Uses:
  • Aloe is used externally for the treatment of skin disease to stimulate cell regeneration.
    • skin irritation
    • burns
    • scalds
    • sunburn
    • wounds
    • eczema
    • psoriasis
    • acne
    • dermatitis
    • ulcers
  • The gel can be applied directly to the skin as a softening agent.
  • For burns and other wounds aloe is particularly effective as it activates the macrophages which fights bacterial infection while at the same time increasing circulation to the area which results in accelerated healing.
  • The enzymes - carboxypeptidase and bradykininase are both involved to reduce swelling, itching, reducing inflammation as well as pain.
  • Studies confirmed that wounds treated with aloe heal far faster than other wounds not so treated - both for traumatic as well as surgical wounds. This may be due to the fact that it contains not only vitamin E and C as well as zinc but the polysaccharides also reduce inflammation and stimulate the fibroblast and epidermal growth and repair process.
  • The juice is also effective for the treatment of minor wounds and insect bites by forming a "natural plaster" over the wound.
  • It has good astringent qualities and is usually combined with other ingredients, to make an excellent, soothing treatments for the skin and can also be used with great success on hemorrhoids (piles).
  • In studies it also showed a marked result in producing remission in skin cancers and its superb anti-oxidant effect is effective to help prevent skin damage from x-rays and other forms of radiation.
  • When applied regularly to psoriasis great results are achieved and also relieve the pain and inflammation of eczema.
  • When people with frostbite was treated with a cream containing aloe, the incidence of tissue loss and amputation was reduced.
  • Aloe-emodin which is one of the ingredients not only has a laxative effect, but is also involved in killing the herpes virus which causes cold sores and shingles.
Special Uses:
  • Aromatherapists use aloe vera oil by infusing the plant material into a base oil, such as almond or apricot kernel oil.
  • This macerated oil exhibits astringent, emollient, anti fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
  • The oil is combined in massage therapy for its healing and rejuvenating properties.

Known As

Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis
Common Names: Aloe vera, Curacao Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Lily of the Desert

Safety Precautions and Warnings

  • Pregnant and breast feeding women should not use aloe latex (the laxative part) internally, although the topical application of aloe to the skin has no effect on pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • People suffering from problematic hemorrhoids, ulcers, diverticulosis, colitis, Crohn's disease, or irritable bowel syndrome should consult a medical practitioner or trusted herbalist before taking aloe internally.
  • Extreme care should be taken with the administration of aloe laxatives, as this can cause severe digestive upsets.
  • When used topically, some individuals may have an allergic reaction and a skin patch test (behind the ear or on the forearm) is advised before use.

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