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Aloe Vera: A versatile herbal medicine

Updated on October 14, 2012
Aloe vera has many medicinal properties
Aloe vera has many medicinal properties | Source

What is aloe vera?

Aloe vera is a species of succulent which is thought to originate in Africa.It has stemless leaves which contain a gel used for medicinal purposes for it's soothing and healing properties.It's leaves are serrated and often grey-green in colour.It flowers in Summer and is widely found in the Canary Islands.Many people grow it as a potplant in more Northern areas where it cannot be grown outside.It also grows in China and parts of Southern Europe where the climate is warm and dry. It is thought that the distribution of this widely known medicinal plant is the result of human cultivation.Aloe vera is also known as the "potted physician" or the "plant of life" among other things.

How does aloe vera work?

Different parts of the aloe vera plant have different medicinal properties.For example,aloe vera contains twelve anthroquinones which have a laxative effect as well as being useful for inflammation or pain relief.These anthroquinones aso have virucidal,antibacterial and antifungal properties and are all found in the sap of the aloe vera plant.

Aloe vera also contains minerals essential to the body such as copper and zinc. The vitamins it contains include vitamins A,C and E which are powerful antioxidants useful for ridding the body of free radicals/toxins.Aloe vera also contains many of the amino acids necessary in the body along with enzymes and sterols(anti-inflammatory agents)

Aloe vera can provide the body with necessary nutrients,it can kill bacteria and viruses as well as reducing inflammation.

What is aloe vera used for?

Aloe vera sap or gel can be used topically for burns,rashes and minor wounds and has been used for this purpose for centuries.It has also been used as a home remedy for asthma.It can be ingested as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and this use of aloe vera has been well-researched recently in the U.K.

It is also used as a laxative and colon cleanser,getting rid of impacted food waste in the colon in a gentle way.The amino acids it contains facilitates regeneration of tissue in the digestive tract

It is well-known as a skin moisturiser,hydrating and rejuvenating skin tissue to make one look younger.

It is clear that aloe vera is a very versatile medicinal plant with properties that are being researched and documented by proponents of conventional medicine.

Grow your own aloe vera

Unless you live in a warm,dry climate,it will be necessary to grow aloe vera indoors or purchase aloe vera products commercially. It is available as an established plant from many nurseries.It likes a sunny place if possible and prefers more water in the Summer than it does in the Winter. It can be left outside in the Summer but is not frost-hardy so it needs to be taken indoors for the Winter months in climates which are not warm and sunny.

Aloe vera is a very versatile medicinal plant which is used topically for the treatment of wounds,burns and rashes.It is ingested as a colon cleanser or for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.It contains many amino acids,vitamins and minerals essential for the human body and has a well-deserved place in Nature's medicine cabinet

Have you ever used aloe vera?

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    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      It is quite a nice plant to look at too especially when it flowers.Thanks for your comment Victoria Stephens.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      I waited ages to get my hands on an aloe vera plant. I finally found a beautifully healthy plant a few months ago. It's growing at quite a rapid pace. I can't wait until it is big enough to start using it for some of its medical benefits.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      thanks for your feedback,pharmacist2013

    • pharmacist2013 profile image

      pharmacist2013 5 years ago

      very interesting hub, keep on!

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      Thanks for your feedback dinkan53.Glad you liked the hub

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      I love aloe vera juice. Some seems difficult to take it because of the taste. Mix the juice with coconut water and it was amazing. Definitely will be drinking more of it. Thanks for providing this useful hub.