Aloe Vera: A Medicine Chest In A Leaf

The health benefits of Aloe Vera Gel have long been known by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, the Essenes and the Greeks. Alexander the Great insisted that his soldiers carry pots of aloe vera with them when they went into battle to apply to their wounds.

There is historical documentation indicating the use of the healing properties of Aloe Vera as far back as 1,500 BC. Aloe was reported to be a beauty secret of the legendary Egyptian beauty Cleopatra.

The main elements responsible for Aloes health benefits are believed to be Polysaccharides, Phytonutrients, Monosaccharides, Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids. The gel of raw aloe vera contains over 200 active ingredients.

The most prominent of these active ingredients are:

Vitamins A, C, E, B, B12, Choline, Folic Acid.
Aloe contains 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
It provides 20 of 22 amino acids required by humans.
Aloe provides 9 essential minerals: Calcium, Copper, Chromium, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Sodium, Manganese.
Phytonutrients – Natural plant growth hormones, sterols and salicyates.
Enzymes – aloe provides 8 vital enzymes.
Sugars – Monosaccharides and Polysaccharides; long chain sugar molecules that are essential to the quality and efficacy of Aloe Vera.
It is the combination and synergy of all the ingredients in Aloe Vera that deliver the unique therapeutic properties of this plant.
Listed among aloe vera’s reported health benefits are digestive problems, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal ulcers, bladder infections, skin problems and yeast overgrowth (candida albicans),

David E. Williams, MD writes : “The gel of the Aloe vera plant has been known to have healing powers for centuries. Practically everybody is aware of Aloe vera gel for treating burns, skin inflammation, acne, diabetic leg ulcers, shallow wounds, gastrointestinal ulcers and constipation”.

John C. Pittman, MD “It has been discovered that the Aloe barbadensis plant contains the greatest concentration of acetylated mannan which is also the most active form of mannans. This “acemannan” has been shown to have many effects in the body, mostly impacting on the gastrointestinal and immune systems, which are intricately related. Overgrowth of Candida in the intestine has significant effects throughout the body due to the absorption of toxic by-products of its metabolism.

This can result in worsening of food allergies, hypoglycemia, digestive disturbances, excessive mucus, bloating, flatulence, skin rashes, and extreme fatigue. At the intestinal level, acemannan acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, neutralising many of the enzymes responsible for damaging the mucosal wall. The result is decreased leakiness of the intestinal wall and less absorption of allergic stimulating foreign protein.

Acemannan has direct virucidal, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties which can help control Candida overgrowth so that normal gastrointestinal bacterial flora can be restored. Acemannan also stimulates intestinal motility, helping to move allergenic proteins from the small intestine into the colon. The healing powers of Aloe have been known for centuries, but now we have the scientific foundation that allows appreciation of this amazing plant and its important role in restoring and maintaining our health”.

Aloe’s ability to detoxify the body, a phenomenon reported by Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., formerly of the Linus Pauling Institute, in his scientific paper, “Effect of Orally Consumed Aloe Vera Juice on Gastrointestinal Function in Normal Humans,” published in 1985. Dr. Bland studied for one week the effects of Aloe vera juice consumption on urinary indican, stool specific gravity and gastric and bowel motility.

Urinary indican values decreased, indicating lowered bowel bacterial conversion of tryptophan and possible improved protein digestion and absorption, as well as reduced bowel putrefaction.

Researchers have found that aloe vera applied externally has the ability to reach the deepest body tissues, penetrating some seven layers. Research at the University of Texas showed that aloe penetrates human skin almost four times faster than water. Apply the gel from the leaf immediately for burns and scalds, insect bites, nettle stings, pain in general and for quick healing. For external use, a fresh leaf can be cut open with a knife and the gel applied to the skin.

Topical applications of aloe vera gel have been used for the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Helps control oily skin
  • Eczema and dermatitis
  • Burns (including sunburn)
  • Insect bites and strings
  • Rashes and skin infections
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Cuts and abrasions

Aloe’s polysaccharides can stimulate collagen production, helping the skin retain moisture, restore elasticity and prevent premature ageing.

Aloe vera gel accelerates skin repair

In his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), Andrew Weil suggests that fresh aloe gel applied directly to the skin provides immediate relief for burns and general skin irritation or inflammation, but he cautions that commercial products which boast of their aloe content may not contain sufficient amounts to be effective. For this reason it is advisable to grow your own aloe vera or to source an organic product from a reputable company.

Aloe vera facial mask recipe for oily skin:

  • 1 teaspoon clay
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice
  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel (available from a pharmacist)
  • 1 drop of essential tea tree oil
  • 1 drop of essential oil of lavender
  • 1 drop of oil of peppermint
  • Enough purified water to make a paste

Mix all ingredients thoroughly then apply to clean skin.
Leave for 15 – 20 minutes then rinse off with warm water and gently pat dry.

Growing aloe vera

Grow your own aloe vera to make sure you always have a fresh supply. The soil should be well drained and porous–a coarse, sandy potting soil that’s not too rich suit aloe best. Overwatering and poor drainage are the greatest threats to this plant. If you leave an aloe undisturbed in a slightly oversized pot or in the ground, it will soon produce suckers which, when they’re a couple of inches tall, can be separated from the main plant and replanted.

Internal use:

Good quality organic aloe vera juice is available from most health food stores. The suggested dose is 20ml (2 dessertspoons) once a day up to 40ml twice a day. It is advisable to start slowly with 1 teaspoon as taking too much in the beginning may cause diarrhea or worsening of candida symptoms.

Aloe vera juice should not be taken internally during pregnancy or in cases of rectal bleeding. Nursing mothers should also avoid internal use of aloe vera because the laxative compounds are passed into the mother’s milk.

This page is offered as an information only source. If you are ill or have a diagnosed medical condition, we advise you to consult your registered health care professional for advice before undertaking any course of self-treatment.

References: David E. Williams, MD, John C. Pittman, MD, Natural Health, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), Andrew Weil, Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., formerly of the Linus Pauling Institute “Effect of Orally Consumed Aloe Vera Juice on Gastrointestinal Function in Normal Humans,” published in 1985.