ALOE VERA (medicinal use)
Aloe vera is a succulent and mucilaginous plant that can grow up to 40 inches in height. Without a stem, its green leaves resemble blades or a sword coming out from a central point. These thick and heavy leaves contain the precious healing gel that provides the medicinal uses of aloe vera. The leaves are notched with small white points. Their orange flowers bloom in the summertime.
If you want to grow the plant for making aloe vera remedies then put your plant in a hot dry location in your home. It thrives on lots of sunlight. You’ll know this plant is doing well because over time the parent plant will produce many little offspring plants from the pot which you can lovingly separate and plant into other pots. It’s important not to crowd too many aloes in one pot and give them room to grow big. In doing so, you’ll get more available aloe vera gel over time.
The powerful aloe vera plant is a part of the Aloaceae, or lily, family, which is known for its diverse perennials with short stems and thick, crowded leaves.
Aloe has been well known for centuries for its healing properties, and both oral intake and topical dressings have been documented to facilitate healing of any kind of skin wound, burn, or scald – even speeding recovery time after surgery. Situations to try it on include blisters, insect bites, rashes, sores, herpes, urticaria, athlete’s foot, fungus, vaginal infections, conjunctivitis, sties, allergic reactions, and dry skin. The raw plant is best, but commercial preparations can also be used, especially for taking orally, as this plant tastes horrible. Other topical uses include acne, sunburn, frostbite (it appears to prevent decreased blood flow), shingles, screening out x-ray radiation, psoriasis, preventing scarring, rosacea, warts, wrinkles from aging, and eczema.
ANCIENT MEDICINAL USES & DISTRIBUTION
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands, today aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to slowing the spread of cancer, researchers are only first beginning to unlock all of the powerful uses of this universal plant and its many amazing byproducts.
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes in several cultures for millennia: Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan and China. Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their regular beauty regimes. Alexander the Great, and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers’ wounds. The first reference to Aloe vera in English was a translation by John Goodyew in A.D. 1655 of Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica. By the early 1800s, Aloe vera was in use as a laxative in the United States, but in the mid-1930s, a turning point occurred when it was successfully used to treat chronic and severe radiation dermatitis.
The virtues of the plant have been recorded by many great civilizations, from Persia and Egypt in the Middle East, to Greece and Italy in Europe, and India and the African continent.
The plant is widely known in Asia and the Pacific, is found in Japanese, Filipino, and Hawaiian folklore. The Spanish used Aloe, and carried it to their new world colonies in South America and the Caribbean.
Many believe that a Sumerian clay tablet, found in the city of Nippur, written around B.C.E. 2200, was the first document to include Aloe Vera among plants of great healing power. Two of the oldest and most profound medical documents known to civilization—the Ebers Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (ca. 1552 BCE)—recorded ancient Egyptian medical men using Aloe Vera.
The first Western benchmark in man’s understanding of Aloe Vera is the Greek Dioscorides (41 A.D.-68 A.D.). This master of pharmacology gave the first detailed description of Aloe Vera, and attributed to its juices the power to loosen the belly and cleanse the stomach. He further added that this bitter Aloe (the sap) eased haemorrhoids; that it aided in healing bruises; that it was good for the tonsils, the gums, and all general mouth irritations; and that it worked as a medicine for the eyes. Dioscorides further observed that the whole leaf, when pulverized, could stop the bleeding of many wounds.
The natural range of A. vera is unclear, as the species has been widely cultivated throughout the world. Naturalised stands of the species occur in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. This distribution is somewhat similar to the one of Euphorbia balsamifera, Pistacia atlantica, and a few others, suggesting that a dry sclerophyll forest once covered large areas, but has been dramatically reduced due to desertification in the Sahara, leaving these few patches isolated. Several closely related (or sometimes identical) species can be found on the two extreme sides of the Sahara: dragon trees (Dracaena) and Aeonium being two of the most representative examples.
The species was introduced to China and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. The species is widely naturalised elsewhere, occurring in temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay, Mexico and the US states of Florida, Arizona and Texas. The actual species’ distribution has been suggested to be the result of human cultivation.
High in Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids and Fatty Acids
Aloe Vera is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that provide health boosting benefits. You’ll find vitamins A, C, E, many of the B vitamins including B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and many others.
Clinical studies of Aloe Vera indicate that its complete profile of nutrients can be effective treatments for a variety of ailments. While scientists writing in the British Journal of General Practice indicate that more research needs to be conducted to prove the healing power of Aloe Vera, their full study confirms its vitamin and mineral rich composition
Here are some other incredible benefits and medicinal uses of aloe vera:
- Aloe vera is good for irritated or inflamed skin.
- Aloe vera helps repair your skin from the most tender of wounds.
- Aloe vera helps speed the process of healing to burns and other wounds.
- Aloe vera is hydrating, rejuvenating and toning for your skin.
- Aloe vera moisturizes and softens your skin.
Aloe (often called aloe vera) produces two substances, gel and latex, which are used for medicines. Aloe gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe plant leaf. Aloe latex comes from just under the plant’s skin and is yellow in color. Some aloe products are made from the whole crushed leaf, so they contain both gel and latex. The aloe that is mentioned in the Bible is an unrelated fragrant wood used as incense.
From relieving heartburn to slowing the spread of cancer, researchers are only first beginning to unlock all of the powerful uses of this universal plant and its many amazing byproducts.
- 1. Your houseplant could fight your heartburn.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in symptoms including heartburn. A recent review explains that consuming 1 to 3 onces of aloe gel at mealtimes could reduce the severity of GERD and other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy.
- A little aloe vera gel a day could keep bacteria on fruits and vegetables away.
In a recent study, an aloe vera gel coating on tomato plants was able to block, not all, but many types of harmful bacteria. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help produce stay fresh for longer without the need for potentially dangerous chemicals.
- 3. An alternative to mouthwash.
A 2014 study found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque and also provide relief if you have bleeding or swelling gums.
- 4. The new blood sugar regulator is greener than ever.
Might aloe vera be able to help people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels? One studyconducted in Thailand found that two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day caused blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes, which means it may have a future in diabetes treatment. These results were confirmed with alater study from Turkey that used pulp extract.
- 5. A little extra push.
Recently, a team of Nigerian scientists conducted a studyto determine whether local folklore about aloe vera was true. Experimenting on rats, they found that gel made from typical aloe vera houseplants was able to relieve constipation.
- 6. Brighten more than just your office space.
You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. According to a study, the plant is particularly special because it’s designed to live in dry, unstable climates. To survive, the leaves of aloe vera store water. The combination of the moist leaf and special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates make it an effective face moisturizer and pain reliever.
- 7. Stepping up in the battle against cancer.
According to a new study, aloe-emodin, a compound in aloe vera leaves, could slow down the spread of breast cancer cells. Researchers are currently investigating how aloe may play a role in other types of cancer, as well.
ADVERSE EFFECTS & SAFETY
Aloe gel is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin and POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in adults. Once in a while aloe gel might cause burning and itching of the skin.
Taking aloe latex is POSSIBLY UNSAFE at any dose, but LIKELY UNSAFE when taken in high doses. Aloe latex can cause some side effects such as stomach pain and cramps. Long-term use of large amounts of aloe latex might cause diarrhea, kidney problems, blood in the urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss, and heart disturbances. Taking aloe latex 1 gram per day for several days can be fatal.
There have been a few reports of liver problems in some people who have taken an aloe leaf extract; however, this is uncommon. It is thought to only occur in people who are extra sensitive (hypersensitive) to aloe.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy or breast-feeding:
Aloe — either gel or latex — is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a report that aloe was associated with miscarriage. It could also be a risk for birth defects. Do not take aloe by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Aloe is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. Children younger than 12 years old may experience abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea.