The medicinal uses for aloe vera date all the way back to King Solomon, who was reported to have used the leaves of this succulent plant as a laxative. Hippocrates mentioned at least 14 different concoctions containing this botanical, and Alexander the Great conquered an island in order to supply his troops with aloe vera.
Naturalized in parts of Africa, Latin America, India, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, aloe vera is an evergreen shrubby perennial that forms a rosette of sharply toothed, pale green, fleshy leaves. Its various common names, for very good reasons, include the First Aid Plant, the Miracle Plant and Nature’s Soothing Healer. For centuries, people have used the clear, odorless ‘aloe gel’ contained within its plump leaves to soothe minor cuts, grazes, insect bites, burns and other relatively minor skin disorders such as dermatitis.
Scientists have since discovered that within that viscous gel are substances known as glycoproteins and polysaccharides, which help to kill bacteria/fungi and reduce pain and inflammation, while also stimulating the skin’s healing process and boosting the body’s immune system.
Aloe Vera Used for Centuries All Over The World
Traditional herbal medicine has incorporated Aloe vera for centuries. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans described its use in their writings, with the earliest known record on a Sumerian tablet dating from 2100 B.C. Egyptian Queens associated its use with physical beauty, and both ancient Chinese and Indian populations are also reported to have valued the plant’s healing properties.
Internal use of aloe is reported to help with many health issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, some aloe components have shown in studies to help relieve constipation. Limited evidence shows extract from Aloe vera may be an effective treatment for genital herpes, and early evidence shows that oral aloe may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, though more studies are needed to confirm this benefit.
Although Aloe is about 99% water, the remaining 1% is extremely powerful and it is thought this is because the close to 100 ingredients work extremely well together (synergistically). Aloe vera contains many minerals vital to the growth process and healthy function of all the body’s systems. The ingredients in Aloe can be grouped into the following categories: Vitamins, Minerals, Sugars, Enzymes, Lignins, Amino Acids, Anthraquinones, Saponins, Fatty Acids, Salicylic Acid.
Benefits Of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Helps Immune System
Aloe also seems to be excellent at regulating the immune system (an immunomodulator). This means it can both stimulate the immune response for those with weakened immune systems either from exisiting conditions or post-illness fatigue. It can also calm the immune response, such as for hayfever where less immune reaction is beneficial. Various research studies are underway to explore the potential of the components to boost immunity and combat the HIV virus, and to treat certain types of cancer (particularly leukemia). It may even have a role to play in managing diabetes. Numerous studies worldwide indicate that it is a general tonic for the immune system, helping it to fight illness of all kinds.
Our bodies require 20 essential amino acids but we can’t produce them independently. Typically, we absorb amino acids through food combinations of wheat, legumes, dairy, and meat. Aloe vera, however, contains all of the amino acids our bodies need to help build protein. This protein development assists in cellular regeneration and is accredited with repairing brain function. This fuel for cellular regrowth is the main reason that Aloe vera is viewed as such a powerful healing element.
Aloe Alkalizes the Body
Disease cannot manifest in an alkaline environment. Most people are living and subsisting on mostly acidic foods. For great health, remember the 80/20 rule – 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acidic. Aloe vera is an alkaline forming food. It alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits.
Weight Loss –
Improving your digestion, and detoxifying your body will have a secondary effect of promoting weight loss because when you start to improve your digestion you naturally eliminate more efficiently, which is a primary way that we all detoxify – through our bowels. This will lighten your toxic load on your body and will give you more energy.
Stretch marks – rub aloe vera on your pregnancy stretch marks to keep them at bay.
Burns & Sunburn – this is the most widely known use. Aloe vera gel can reduce the pain and swelling you experience during sunburn, act as a protective layer on the skin, and help replenish moisture. In a clinical trial, patients with comparable second-degree burns on two different areas of the body were treated with silver sulfadiazine (a topical antibacterial widely used in emergency rooms and hospitals) on one site and aloe cream on the other. The aloe-treated burns healed significantly faster and were completely gone within 16 days, compared to 19 days for the silver compound.
There hasn’t been a lot of studies conducted on aloe’s effect on cardiovascular health, but there has been some research to show that aloe vera extract injected into the blood, greatly multiplies the oxygen transportation and diffusion capabilities of the red blood cells. According to a study published in the 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, beta sitosterol helps to lower cholesterol. By regulating blood pressure, improving circulation and oxidation of the blood, lowering cholesterol, and making blood less sticky, aloe vera juice may be able to help lower the risk of heart disease.
here is a list of even more ways to use this plant of wonder…
1. Pamper yourself to a soothing body rub. Slice aloe leaves lengthwise and use the inner sides as a biodegradable body scrub in the shower.
2. Treat burns from minor mishaps in the kitchen—from grease splatters or hot utensils.
3. For more major kitchen mishaps like a scald, mix some aloe gel and vitamin E oil into a little jar for a homemade burn healer.
4. Banish black and blue bruises by swapping on the good goo.
5. Shrink warts.
6. Take the sting or itch out of insect bites.
7. Reduce tissue damage from frostbite.
8. Alleviate mysterious rashes.
9. Make feet baby soft with an exfoliating foot mask by mixing together a half cup of oatmeal, a half cup of corn meal, four tbsp. of aloe vera gel and a half cup of unscented body lotion.
10. Help heal herpes outbreaks.
11. Fight Athlete’s Foot.
12. Swab over blisters for quick relief.
13. Use as an antidote to allergic skin reactions.
14. Reverse signs of aging skin and wrinkles.
15. Help eliminate Eczema.
16. Brighten skin. Aloe can decrease pigmentation and dark spots.
17. Speed up hair growth by massaging aloe into the scalp, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and rinsing.
18. Reduce hair dandruff by mixing aloe vera juice with coconut milk and wheat germ oil. Massage into scalp and rinse.
19. Replace aloe with conditioner for silkier, smoother hair.
20. Remove eye makeup.
Aloe Vera in India
As early as B.C. 600, there’s record of Arab traders bringing aloe vera (which they called “desert lily”) to India. Arabs were already separating the inner gel and sap from the outer rind, even grinding the leaves into powder, and this was highly valued; in fact, records from as early as the 17th century show the East India Trading Company relied heavily on aloe for its commercial value. Moving along through history, it’s even mentioned by one of the great religious figures, Mahatma Gandhi, in response to the question of how he maintained his strength while fasting: “You ask me what were the secret forces which sustained me during my long fasts. Well, it was my unshakable faith in God, my simple and frugal lifestyle, and the Aloe whose benefits I discovered upon my arrival in South Africa at the end of the 19th century.”
Aloe Names from Around the World
With such amazing uses, aloe vera has earned nicknames from all around the globe–names like the “silent healer”, “burn plant”, “ghai kunwar”, “elephant’s gall”, “isha irazu”, “cape aloe”, the “medicine plant”, and the “first aid plant”. And, while there are lots of other aloe species, none are so heavily utilized as aloe vera. This planet truly is a miracle plant that can benefit in so many ways and for such a low cost. Aloe Vera is cheap and easily accessible worldwide.
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