Aloe, a member of the lily family, has long green fleshy leaves and spikes along the edges and is what is known as a succulent. The plant itself is very easy to grow…no green thumb required. It even tolerates poor soil and needs little water. Just be sure to keep it a sunny spot.
The Egyptians first wrote about the healing properties of the plant in 1500 BC. The plant was so prized by the Greeks for it’s medicinal properties that Alexander the Great fought for the Somalia Island where the Aloe plants grew so he could use them to heal the wounds of his soldiers.
Eventually the Arabs carried the plants to Spain and Asia with them. By the 6th century aloe was being used by Ayurvedic physicians to treat skin problems, intestinal worms, and menstrual discomfort. Now, 1400 years later the plant is still being used for its medicinal and wound healing properties.
In 1935, the first scientific evidence of the Aloe plant’s wound healing power was documented when a woman’s x-ray burns where successfully treated with the gel from the plant. After that, several studies confirmed the healing power on first and second degree burns.
If you choose to grow your own aloe at home to soothe minor burns and wounds simply break off a piece of the Aloe leaf and squeeze the gel onto the injury. Use the older or lower leaves of the Aloe plant first, they contain more gel. The gel will quickly dry into a natural bandage protecting the wound.
Meanwhile the gels capillary-dilating properties will increase the blood circulation, thereby reducing the healing time. The gel also works well as a topical treatment on shingles providing immediate relief when combined with vitamin E.
Today, you find Aloe gel in many commercial skin care and hair products. If you look at the ingredient list, Aloe vera should be at or near the top. Creams should contain at least 20% Aloe vera.
However, if you want beautiful skin it is best to use the fresh gel from the plant and not the preserved form you find in commercial products. Through processing a lot of the chemical compounds are lost.
Aloe-vera juice is also used internally for medicinal purposes. It can be used to soothe the pain from ulcers, heartburn, and an irritated esophagus. However, when purchasing a juice for drinking be sure that it contains 98% aloe vera and avoid products that list aloin or aloe-emodin on the label.
Aloe-vera juice can also be used internally to aid digestion. The plant has about 200 biologically active compounds including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids and these compounds all work together synergistically to aid in digestion and bowel function.
In a study by Dr. Jeffrey Bland he found that taking Aloe vera internally improves protein digestion and absorption, balances acid levels, improves colonic activity and lowers bowel putrefaction in just one week, thereby reducing chronic inflammation that is at the root of so many illnesses.
If you live in the southern states, where the Aloe plant grows quite tall, you can cut off a larger piece of the leaf, slice it lengthwise, scrape out the gel and it to your morning smoothie.
One word of caution, however, overuse of the Aloe-vera juice…drinking large quantities…may lead to loss of potassium, which is necessary for proper heart function. As with everything in life, moderation is the key.
Related articles of interest:
After my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 60 all the harsh treatments that followed led me to become interested in medicinal herbs to make his treatments more tolerable.
At that time I was already on a 14 herb product that helped me with my migraines and stress and I was sure an herbal approach could help him heal as well.
Read more about my journey and herbal approaches to healing on www.impactinghealth.com