Health and Nutrition Articles

Aloe Vera: Lily of the Desert

Aloe Vera Details

Aloe Vera has been used traditionally for a variety of skin conditions and orally as a laxative.

Today, some research suggests its medicinal properties can be used as a remedy for diabetes (aloe sap has significant antidiabetic activity in humans and animals), depression, asthma, epilepsy, osteoarthritis, burns and psoriasis.

The leaves are used to produce a juice and the dried leaves, called latex, can also be taken orally. The gel inside the leaf is also commonly used.

Aloe vera juice contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, as well as niacin, folic acid, chromium, magnesium, maganese, zinc, copper, potassium, iron, calcium and 19 different amino acids.

Therapeutic Benefits of Aloe Vera

  • Aloe latex (the dried leaf) can be effective in fighting cavity-causing oral bacteria, sensitive teeth and can improve periodontal disease.
  • Used as a laxative to treat constipation.
  • A natural source of antioxidants that fight free radicals and help boost immunity.
  • Helps repair collagen and elastin while promoting healing of skin conditions like second degree burns, sunburn, psoriasis, cold sores, frostbite, cuts and scrapes.
  • Aloe gel significantly improves winkles and elasticity in photo-aged skin.
  • Aloe vera juice is used for natural detoxification to help cleanse the digestive system.
  • Can help alkalize the body and balance acidity. Disease cannot thrive in alkaline environments.
  • Some research shows aloe vera extract injections into the blood can help regulate blood pressure, improve circulation and lower cholesterol.
  • Aloe vera gel has the potential to treat inflammatory bowel diseases and IBS.

Precautions

  • Cramps and diarrhea have been reported from taking Aloe Vera orally.
  • Some studies suggest aloe may lower blood glucose levels, so diabetics who use glucose-lowering medications should be careful when taking aloe orally.
  • Aloe vera may react negatively with some medications.
  • Can cause dehydration if the juice is taken too frequently.
  • Should not be taken orally while breastfeeding as it can cause severe diarrhea for the baby.

Quick Facts

  • Aloe Vera is a short stemmed shrub that cannot be found in the wild. It is only cultivated.
  • Aloe Vera is also known as the "plant of immortality" and was presented to deceased pharaohs as a burial gift.
  • Aloe is primarily cultivated for Aloe Gel, which comes from the leaf.
  • The plant's therapeutic qualities have been used as far back as the 16th century BC.
  • Christopher Columbus and Alexander the Great used Aloe Vera to treat soldiers' wounds
  • Aloe is approved by the FDA to use as a natural flavoring.
  • It is widely used in cosmetics, supplements and herbal remedies.