A member of the lily family, Aloe Vera derives its name from the Arabic word 'alloeh', which means bitter. There are nearly 240 varieties of Aloe growing in the dry regions of Africa, Europe, Asia and America but the one that is popularly used in commercial products is Aloe barbadensis miller. We examine the various beneficial properties of aloe vera plant and gels and extracts that are obtained.
Aloe Vera Plant
The aloe vera plant has been used since ancient times for healing infection and burns. It was used by African hunters to reduce perspiration. Ancient records of Egyptians, Arabs, Africans and Indians show how aloe vera plant was used. The aloe vera plant also finds mention in the New Testament. Ancient Chinese used aloe vera gel for treating eczematous skin conditions.
With a high water content of nearly 96%, the aloe vera plant has been hailed as a medicinal plant with many a beneficial property. The aloe vera plant can easily be grown at home - it is virtually maintenance free. You can then break off a part of the leaf and use the fresh gel to apply on any burn or other wound. . When the aloe vera leaf is broken, it oozes a thick sap that drips from the open end. This bitter sap is used to accelerate wound healing and reduce inflammation.
Benefit of Aloe Vera Gel
The benefits of aloe vera are manifold. Aloe vera gel is used to treat first-degree burns for speedy healing. Aloe vera gel is used to shrink warts and lessen the painful effects of shingles. The symptoms of psoriasis can be reduced with aloe vera gel. European folk medicine makes extensive use of aloe vera juice to reduce ulcers and heartburn. Aloe vera is also used in dental problems such as bleeding gums and denture stomatitis.
Gel from the Aloe vera leaf has shown good results in treating facial edema. When used a mouth rinse, aloe vera offers benefits for treating lockjaw and cold spores. Recent studies have shown that aloe vera might have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. Aloe Vera can trigger uterine contractions and must not be taken by pregnant women. Children should not be given aloe vera internally too. If you are on drugs that cause potassium loss or diuretics or steroids, it may not be advisable to take aloe vera orally.
Aloe Vera Juice Benefit
Aloe Vera juice is made from the nutritious inner gel. Aloe Vera juice has natural detoxifying powers that ease constipation and cleanse the bowel. Aloe Vera juice is known to benefit those suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The residues that accumulate within the colon are loosened and naturally dispersed with regular consumption of aloe vera juice. Any internal lesions or ulcers will also be healed.
High doses of Aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and electrolyte imbalance. Aloe vera juice is said to possess soothing properties that help in colitis, peptic ulcers and digestive tract irritations. Aloe vera juice contains some anti-inflammatory fatty acids that alkalize digestive juices and prevent over acidity. Acemannan, found in Aloe vera is being studied for its beneficial effects in boosting T-lymphocyte cells that aid the immune system.
Aloe Vera Creams
Aloe vera gel is made by pulverizing the whole leaves of the plant whereas Aloe juice is made from the inner leaf. Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of aloe vera. Cosmetics and products using aloe vera are popular. Aloe vera cosmetics are available as lotions, aloe vera creams and powders and soaps.
Some manufacturers add a few drops of aloe vera gel and claim to make Aloe Vera products. Most aloe vera products contain stabilizers and preservatives that might take away some of the benefits of Aloe. Unless aloe vera gel is added in significant amounts, it would not have much beneficial effect. This would only mean expensive cosmetics with little value.
Aloe Vera Skin Care
Skin care products with aloe vera increase the availability of oxygen to the skin and thereby aid synthesis and strength of the skin tissues. Aloe Vera lotions are widely used for cleansing the skin. Many of the skin care products containing aloe vera are also fortified with Vitamin E and collagen to maintain the skin's elasticity and suppleness and keep the moisture in. You can pick up suntan lotions with aloe vera. The anti-burning properties of Aloe combined with SPF factors make this an excellent skin care product.
Aloe Vera Capsule
The benefits of Aloe vera can be availed as capsules too. These capsules contain aloe vera juice in a freeze-dried form. Aloe Vera is used in many products on account of its nutritional benefits. It contains Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and many amino acids. As a food supplement, aloe vera capsules aid blood and lymphatic circulation and facilitate digestion.