The Benefits of Aloe Vera and Aloe Vera Juice
Table Of Contents
- History Of Aloe Vera
- The Aloe Plant
- Uses Of aloe Vera
- Nutrients In Aloe Vera
- Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera
- Aloe Vera Tea
- aloe Vera Juice
- Some Useful Information about Aloe Vera
- Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy foods
- Some Other Hubs On Aloe Vera
History Of Aloe Vera
Latin Name: Aloe barbadensis
Aloe vera is commonly called by various names as Lily of the desert, Burn plant, Fountain of youth, Healing plant, Elephant's gall etc.
In India, it is called Ghrit Kumari.
Aloe vera is commonly called Aloe. It is believed to be a native of Northern Africa.
Aloe vera use goes back to over 6000 years in Egypt when the plant was depicted in stone carvings. Egyptians buried dead Pharaohs along with Aloe as they considered it "a plant of immortality". They still grow Aloe around graveyards.
In India, the Rig Veda has a reference to the Aloe plant sometime dated to 5000 BC. Incidentally, Rig Veda is the earliest Ayurvedic book of natural medicine written by Dhanvantri. Rig Veda recommends Aloe vera for treating disorders of the reproductive system and liver, worm infestation and healing of external wounds.
Later on, in 1550 BC, extensive details of its medicinal uses were documented in Egypt in a document called Papyrus ebers.
By 375 BC, the use of Aloe vera was widespread in India.
Today it is grown in Texas USA, Mexico, South America, Central America, Africa, Australia besides India.
It is often called "the miracle plant" and is the oldest known and the most used medicinal plant. It has about 200 active ingredients which have been proved scientifically and numerous combinations of these ingredients ensure a broad spectrum of activity against disorders in human health.
It has been much used as traditional folk and herbal remedy. It exhibits analgesic, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory activity.
The Aloe Plant
Aloe is a cactus lookalike plant with grey-green, thick, fleshy, succulent leaves that have serrated margins. It is almost a stemless plant with the cluster of leaves seemingly springing out of the soil surface.
The plant propagates by way of roots and offsets. Medicinally active principles are found in the gel as well as the rind of the leaves.
The plant grows in hot, dry, tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It grows to a height of 2 to 3 and 1/2 feet. The flowers bloom in summer on a spike that itself is about 3 feet tall, almost as tall as the plant.
Uses Of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is used in by the cosmetic industry in a big way. It is used in facial tissues to act as a moisturiser and anti-irritant.
Aloe vera sap or extract is used in make up, moisturisers, soaps, sunscreen lotions, shampoos, shaving creams etc.
The extracts are also used, to dilute semen during artificial insemination of sheep, to preserve fresh food like fruits and legumes.
It is believed that biofuel can be produced from their seeds.
Use of Aloe vera as a natural food flavouring has been approved by the FDA. Some commercially prepared yoghurt has Aloe as an ingredient. Beverages like aloe tea, aloe juice are also prepared commercially.
Nutrients In Aloe Vera
Number & Identification
Properties & Activity
Provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids & 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
Provides the basic building blocks of proteins in the production of muscle tissue etc
The 8 essential amino acids are those the human body cannot manufacture
Provides 12 anthraquinones: Aloe emodin, Aloetic Acid, Aloin, Anthracine, Antranol, Barbaloin, Chrysophanic Acid, Emodin, Ethereal Oil, Ester of Cinnamonic Acid, Isobarbaloin, Resistannol.
In relatively small concentrations together with the Gel fraction they provide Analgesic, Antibacterial, Antifungal & Antiviral activity. In high concentration on their own they can be toxic.
Traditionally known as laxatives. The antraquinones are found in the sap. The anthraquinone derivatives (anthrones & chromones) comprise the phenolic fraction of the sap. The primary sap component is Aloin/Barbaloin anthrone derivative
Provides 8 enzymes: Aliiase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Amylase, Carboxypeptidase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Peroxidase
Helps breakdown of food sugars and fats aiding digestion & enhancing nutrient absorbtion
Auxins & Gibberellins
Wound Healing & Anti-inflammatory
Cellulose based substance
Thought to provide penetrating power in Aloe vera skin preparations and may act as a carrier for other components
Provides 9 minerals: Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc
Essential for good health and is known to work in certain combimation with each other, vitamins and other trace elements
Aspirin like compound
Soapy substance both cleansing and antiseptic
Provides 4 main plant steroids: Cholesterol, Campesterol, Lupeol, ß Sitosterol
Anti-inflammatory agents. Lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties
Monosaccharides: glucose & fructose Polysaccarides: gluco-mannans / polymannose
Anti-inflammatory action Anti-viral, immune modulating activity of Acemannan
The long chain gluco-mannons are absorbed intact by the pinocytotic process of certain cells lining the digestive tract.
A, C, E, B, Choline, B12, Folic Acid
Antioxidant(A,C,E): neutralises free radicals
B's & Choline involved in amino acid metabolism, B12 required for production of red blood cells, Folic Acid in the development of blood cells
Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera
Though there are about 500 varieties of Aloe only 4 to 5 are used medicinally of which Aloe vera also called Aloe barbadensis miller, is the most widely used variety.
Aloe vera is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients ( Phytonutrients and Saccharides).
Some of the health benefits are as follows
- Skin Healing/ Burn Healing/Sunburn
Aloe vera heals skin that has suffered cuts, scrapes, burns or sunburn. The gel, when applied on wounds, dries up fast sealing the wounds against dust and dirt ensuring protection from infections. The gel application also increases blood flow to the wound and aids in faster healing.
Application on even 3rd-degree burns shows that it leaves no scars and restores burnt skin. It heals sunburnt skin too.
- Benefits In Cancer Tumors And As Follow up After Radiation Therapy
The phytonutrient acemannan in aloe vera boosts immunity and destroys cancer tumours and aids recovery after cancer treatment improving survival rates.
It heals radiation burns due to radiation therapy in cancer treatment. Apply Aloe gel on the area of radiation to heal faster. Radiation has never stopped cancer only disabled people and in fact, causes cancer.
Those who have undergone chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or mammography should regularly consume Aloe vera internally and also apply it externally to not only nullify the bad effects of these treatments but to improve overall health.
Aloe extract increased survival rates considerably and reduced radiation-induced damage to the germ cells and consequent loss in body weight.
- Aloe Vera consumption Lengthens Life Span
A study has shown that Aloe vera extends lifespan and reduces the death rate. This study has been done on rats.
- Aloe Vera Benefits In Kidney Disease
Aloe vera reduces kidney disease and lowers the incidence of blood cancer - leukaemia. Sodium nitrite is a chemical that is used to delay spoilage and impart a pink colour to meat in hot dogs, to make it look attractive. This chemical causes leukaemia, brain tumours and other types of cancers.
You can read here about a study done on cancer and sodium nitrite relationship. If you google, cancer and sodium nitrite, you will get umpteen studies that confirm that sodium nitrite causes cancer.
- Aloe Vera As A food Preservative
Foods, fruits, legumes can be naturally preserved without the use of chemical preservatives. A thin layer of Aloe vera gel application is all that is required. The gel killed bacteria and extended the shelf life of the preserved food.
Read here about an article on an experiment done with grapes. In this case, the shelf life was increased almost 5 times.
- As An Anti-inflammatory
Aloe vera reduces inflammations and pain in arthritis and other joint diseases. Consume it internally and apply the gel externally. Along with this, it is necessary to stop foods like white sugar, fried foods, red meat, white flour, which cause inflammations, for it to totally eliminate the inflammation and pain.
- Reduces Risk Of Strokes & Heart Attacks By Reducing High Blood Pressure
Because of the consumption of processed foods, fried foods, animal fats, dairy fats. oils blood cells of persons who are on this type of diet clump together. This can be seen with a technique called dark-field microscopy wherein live human blood vessels can be seen. It also shows the shape of the blood cells and whether they are clumping together. Clumping of blood cells makes the blood viscous and hampers its free flow.
These clumped blood cells hamper the free movement of blood and consequently oxygen and other nutrients from reaching tissues and brain cells.
Aloe vera not only makes the blood thinner to ensure freer flow but the unique polymers in it increase the capacity of the blood to carry more oxygen to various tissues. By thinning the blood it reduces blood pressure and consequently, the risk of stroke and heart attack reduces
Also, more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain slows down diseases like Alzheimer's and improves the brain function like increased memory, increased cognitive function and improvement in the learning capacity.
This property of increasing the oxygen-bearing capacity of blood is very beneficial in cases of blood loss in accidents etc. Regular consumption of Aloe vera makes the blood remaining in the body to work better all because of the special and unique polymers found in aloe have the property to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- Cures Dental & Gum Diseases
Swish some gel around in the mouth or apply on the toothbrush and brush the teeth and gums. Additionally, take some Vitamin D along with aloe vera internally as it has been found that most sufferers of gum disease are deficient in Vitamin D.
- Potentiates The Activity Of Antioxidants
Aloe vera strengthens the antioxidant activity of Vitamins C, E and others like the phytochemicals since it increases the capacity of blood to carry them to all tissues of the body as the quality of the blood is improved by making it both oxygen-rich and thinner for easier flow.
- Benefits Hair
Aloe vera promotes hair growth due to its high content of vitamins and minerals. It repairs collagen and elastin, rejuvenates the hair follicles by improving the blood circulation. It cleans the scalp and combats dandruff.
- Benefits Hydration
Because of the wonderful balance of electrolytes aloe vera juice is better than commercial sports drinks and hydrates the skin and body better.
It can help athletes improve their stamina and performance while at the same time recover faster from exercise or competition induced fatigue.
- Ends Acid Reflux
Drinking the gel regularly relieves heartburn and acid reflux.
- Benefits Diabetics
Aloe vera consumption reduces fasting blood sugar levels and stabilizes overall blood sugar levels. Because of the increased blood circulation, it benefits by reducing the numbness of extremities experienced by diabetics. Also, aids wound healing in diabetics.
Read some extract of a study done here.
- Lowers Cholesterol And Triglycerides
In persons with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels consumption of aloe vera gel reduces cholesterol and total triglyceride levels.
Read about abstracts of some studies on this effect here.
- Benefits In Digestive Disorders
Regular consumption of Aloe vera gel relieves digestive disorders like ulcers, Infectious bowel syndrome, Celiac disease and Crohn's disease- an inflammatory bowel disease. The polysaccharides are believed to have these curative effects.
Home Made Aloe Vera Tea Recipe
Aloe vera tea can be made easily from the gel contained in the leaf. On can drink aloe vera tea hot or cold.
In a cup of boiled water add 1 tsp of mashed gel from the leaf. Stir well.
To hot tea, add some fresh lemon juice to counteract the bitter taste of the gel.
To cold tea, instead of lemon juice, add orange juice.
If you so wish, you can purchase aloe vera tea bags from the link provided below.
Aloe Vera Tea
It is rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C & E. It also contains 8 amino acids.
The health benefits of Aloe tea are :
- Improvement in digestion, correcting stomach disorders, eliminating acid reflux and stopping stomachache.
- It eliminates gut parasites like worms and checks fungal growth.
- It cleanses the liver, stimulates bile production and treats ulcers.
- Aloe vera relieves constipation, soothes and cleans the intestines, controls IBS.
- It reduces bloating and distension of the stomach and the accompanying discomforting symptoms.
- Reduces stress & increases immunity and strength.
- Improves metabolism hence burns fat and reduces weight.
- Detoxifies blood, improves circulation and lowers cholesterol.
- Cures coughs and headaches.
- Relieves joint pains.
- Benefits in diabetes because of the enzymes and the natural sugars it contains.
- Clears menstrual issues and benefits the female reproductive system.
Aloe tea can be used externally to clean wounds, cuts, burnt skin, rashes, insect bites and wash eyes.
Aloe Vera Juice
Consume 2 ounces of Aloe vera juice every day if you are drinking to correct any health disorder. If the fresh gel is used to prepare juice at home, it can be blended in smoothies, fruit juices, milk etc to offset the slightly unpleasant taste.
Take care to remove only the clear gel for use as juice. Ensure that you do not scrape off the yellowish latex just beneath the leaf surface. It contains the compound Aloin which is a strong laxative.
Aloe vera juice delivers all the healing benefits of Aloe vera gel as given earlier.
At the dosage recommended above, Aloe vera juice rarely gives rise to side effects. Some side effects that are noted with a large intake of the juice are nausea, allergic reactions, dermatitis, liver dysfunction.
Some Useful Information About Aloe Vera
- Use only the Aloe Vera or Aloe Barbadensis miller variety and not any other.
- As the Aloe plant loses its active ingredients during flowering time do not use the gel at this time.
- The freshly removed gel should be used as soon as possible as it loses its activity fast.
- If purchasing a commercial Aloe product ensure that the product is cold processed and has its MPS ( mucopolysaccharide ) content tested.
- If consuming a commercial brand of Aloe Vera product find out the polysaccharides content in it and then take it as follows :
For healthy people - 500 mg of polysaccharides per day.
For those with serious disorders - 1200 to 3600 mg polysaccharides per day.
Reactions or side effects to Aloe consumption have hardly been reported. So seemingly its consumption is quite safe.
Heat processing can break down the long-chained polysaccharides and caramelize the sugars which are the cause of the healing benefits of Aloe Vera. Hence, cold processed Aloe vera products are suggested.
Also, if you intend to use homegrown Aloe vera, it is best to put the gel in the blender in the end and blend for the minimum time possible to keep the polysaccharide chain intact.
Aloe Vera contains the maximum MPS ( mucopolysaccharides ) amongst all known plants.
It is best to consult a medical doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding if you intend to consume Aloe Vera.
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This hub is for informational purposes only. Please consult your medical doctor or healthcare provider before starting any natural remedy, alternate therapy or a new health regime.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly