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Aloe Vera Healing Properties: Are They For Real?

Updated on November 27, 2016
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One current health craze that has been going on for decades is the use of Aloe Vera. At first, the products were mainly available at health food stores; now, you can find them virtually anywhere. Growing it as a potted plant has become fashionable, as well.

One popular belief is that Aloe Vera cures multiple ailments. How true is this? Can its use really heal such a wide variety of diseases as dermatitis, bursitis, asthma, gingivitis, glaucoma, varicose veins, heart burn, nausea, staph infections, tuberculosis, bladder and kidney infections, leprosy, even cancer?

First of all, what is Aloe Vera? The plant is a succulent, meaning its leaves are thick and retain lots of water. It resembles a cactus, with semi-sharp-edged leaves that contain nodes. The spiny leaves grow directly from the ground, with tiny yellow hanging flowers that bloom during the summer. There are over 250 species of Aloe Vera; most of them originated in North Africa. The many types have been used for medicine in many countries around the world since the first century Common Era. To this day, it is used in the U.S. and Europe for alternative medical practices, and included in cosmetics. It comes in many forms; as a gel, a lotion, juice, freeze-dried powders, and pills. Some people simply break the leaves and rub the extract directly on their skin. Aloe Vera is relatively easy to grow, as long as it is kept outdoors in a climate that has no frost, and is given plenty of water. It does best in a subtropical climate.

Aloe Vera Handbook: The Acient Egyptian Medicine Plant
Aloe Vera Handbook: The Acient Egyptian Medicine Plant

This book tells it all; how to grow and nuture Aloe Vera, its history, and how to use it for healing.

 
Aloe vera can easily be grown as a potted plant!
Aloe vera can easily be grown as a potted plant! | Source

The current claims regarding all the healing properties of Aloe Vera have yet to be supported by research. Though many of the aforementioned claims sound extremely farfetched, it can’t hurt to drink the juice; after all, it has very few side effects. Since it has laxative properties, consuming excessive amounts can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and other problems. Also, the juice can interact adversely with some medications taken for heart disease and cancer, so it is best to consult your doctor before beginning an Aloe Vera juice regimen.

However, it really is true that Aloe Vera heals a wide variety of skin disorders. It can be used to soothe virtually any skin irritation; acne, burns, scalds, cuts, abrasions, sunburns, herpes simplex, eczema, and psoriasis. The New England Journal of Medicine states that while Aloe Vera is safe for first degree burns, it should not be utilized for treatment of second or third degree ones, which require more serious medical attention.

You can buy the gel at a health food store, or break open a leaf and rub the contents on your skin.
You can buy the gel at a health food store, or break open a leaf and rub the contents on your skin. | Source

My personal experience supports the fact that Aloe Vera does wonders for the skin. When I had teenage acne, I healed it completely by rubbing 99% pure Aloe Vera gel onto my face every morning. This can be bought at a health food store. GNC sells it in tubes for $2. It took about two weeks for me to get completely rid of my acne, and I had the added benefit of no scars. I have also found it healed my eczema breakouts.

Regarding the other health claims, there’s no harm in trying Aloe Vera as a cure. The plant has so many healthful properties, plus having such a long history of use in so many countries, it is highly unlikely to do any harm. People with a really serious disease like cancer should get proper treatment, but even then they may be able to benefit from using Aloe Vera, if only for psychological purposes.

So, is it true Aloe Vera is a cure-all? It may not heal all diseases, but it definitely is close to that description when it comes to skin. Regarding some of the other claims, it has so many healthful properties, it is well worth a try.

REFERENCES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera

http://www.askdrhelen.com/health-tips/aloevera/aloevera-uses.htm

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra0707253

http://www.thegardenhelper.com/aloe~vera.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-risks-benefits-taking-aloe-vera-juice-internally-5017.html

Hamilton Beach Personal Single Serve Blender with Travel Lid, Black (51103)
Hamilton Beach Personal Single Serve Blender with Travel Lid, Black (51103)

This tiny but mighty blender travels well, and is great for making Aloe Vera juice.

 

© 2013 Yoleen Lucas

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    • Say Yes To Life profile image
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      Yoleen Lucas 15 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, pstraubie48!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 15 months ago from sunny Florida

      Wise suggestion that those who are unsure should be cautious using aloe. My Momma used aloe on our burns when I was a young child...it soothe the pain and often would not blister so I continue to use it today.

      Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
      Author

      Yoleen Lucas 20 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, Besarian. It's especially effective when you drink plenty of water and sweat out the impurities.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 20 months ago

      I love aloe- so good for skin. Great for bug bites and stings too. I have heard it can help with diabetes but have no personal experience with that. Nice hub, Say Yes To Life!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
      Author

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      When I was in my 20s, I cleared up my acne using the dollar tubes bought at a health food store.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Very interesting. I'm going to try it on my face and see what happens -two weeks -that will be interesting!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
      Author

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, Joyfulcrown! I cleared my acne by using Aloe Vera gel bought at a health food store.

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 2 years ago

      Very interesting article. I have used Aloe for burns. I have one growing just outside my kitchen. I will share you experience with aloe & acne with my nieces.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
      Author

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      That's wonderful! Another thing that works is vitamin E. Pierce the capsule, and rub the oil on the open sore; it helps reduce scarring.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      When my boy had chicken pox, he had scrs all over his body, i applied pure aloe on them and reduced the marks

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
      Author

      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Glad you found it useful. I'm a huge fan of Aloe Vera myself. It may not be a cure-all, but it has plenty of benefits - and the juice tastes great, too.

    • profile image

      Rayne123 4 years ago

      Great hub. Not sure I would say it cures all, however I use to keep those plants and preferred using the original plant.

      I have tried the gels and lotions and juice but I find the plant works better as does any original healing aid.

      But I do love it on my skin, and do need to get more of this plant.

      thanks for the useful hub.

      Laurie