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Natural Healing with Aloe

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 18 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Aloe Aloe Vera Aloe Juice Nutrition Skin

Aloe (aloe vera) is a succulent plant originating from tropical Africa, where related species are used as an antidote for poison arrow wounds. Historical documentation shows aloe vera being used as far back as 1,500 BC. It is often referred to as the 'burn plant' due to the remarkable effects it has upon healing the skin. Today it is still being used for skin treatments and wider applications. There are more than 240 species of Aloe, only four are recognized as being of nutritional value to humans and animals. Of these four types of aloe, aloe barbadensis miller (aloe vera) is considered the most beneficial, thus any products you use should be made from this species of aloe.

Aloe Vera's Constituents

The bulk of the aloe leaf is filled with gel. This consists of 96% water, with the other 4% containing 75 unknown substances. The thick sap is antibacterial and antifungal and so can be used for treating burns, wounds, sunburn and dry skin. Its gentle action is especially helpful for use on sensitive skins, eczema or ringworm without causing irritation or allergic reaction. Aloe is best applied fresh though it can be obtained in gel and ointment forms. If you're using the fresh leaf, slice through the center lengthways and peel back the edges. Scrape out the gel and apply directly to the skin. Applied topically, aloe increases blood circulation to the skin by dilating the capillaries and is therefore an excellent treatment for frostbite. Aloe vera gel applied regularly can prevent detrimental fungi and bacteria from penetrating the skin.

Aloe Juice

Alternatively you can add up to 2 teaspoons full to a glass of water or fruit juice and use three times daily as a tonic. Aloe juice consumed orally has a number of beneficial effects upon the digestive system. It gently cleans out the colon and therefore can alleviate constipation and prevent colonic infection. Aloe Vera regulates gastrointestinal acidity levels. Its cleansing action also prevents or treats any inflammation of the digestive tract that is associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Aloe juice can also alleviate peptic ulcers occurring between the stomach and the jejunum. The juice will also provide relief from heartburn. Applied topically, Aloe can prevent the damage to Langerhans Cells (specialized cells of the immune system that are located in the skin) that is caused by exposure to ultra-violet radiation. Aloe vera juice can also help to prevent various forms of flu virus and measles.

Aloe and the Immune System

Aloe Vera also has a wide range of beneficial effects upon the immune system. The juice extract can reduce fevers and can inhibit some types of virus. It is also known to reduce blood sugar levels and therefore is helpful in treating diabetes type II (diabetes mellitus). Test have shown that taking aloe vera reduced diabetes sufferer's blood sugar levels by up to 45% without causing a change in their total weight.

Cautions

Aloe Vera should be avoided during pregnancy, as the glycoids it contains are a strong purgative. High doses of the leaf may cause vomiting.

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