Aloe Vera as Food - Health Benefits Beyond Ointment

Aloe Vera as Food - Health Benefits Beyond Ointment

Aloe Vera should be part of your daily diet.

Probably most well-known for its use as a topical burn salve, aloe vera, the so called lily of the desert, is a remarkable plant that has a lot more to offer our good health. A succulent, in the same family as garlic, it has enjoyed over 5000 years of use as a revered medicinal plant, and over that time has developed a reputation as one of the most beneficial plants to humans, some even calling it miraculous.

We most commonly use the gel from the inner part of the leaf, but aloe contains more than 200 compounds that have proven useful for healing stomach and bowel diseases, asthma, glaucoma, arthritis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-biotic, anti-septic, a powerful anti-oxidant, and as a tonic for overall health.

Studies on aloe continue and science is still being sifted from a lot of anecdote, but there is clear evidence that compounds in aloe increase circulation in blood vessels, and increase cell division of fibroblasts in the skin by over 300% (Atherton, Cochran, Danhof), which is probably why it helps speed the healing of wounds. It contains salicylic acid, an aspirin-like agent which may account for some of its powerful pain relieving effects.

But most importantly, the nutrient density in aloe is simply remarkable. It is rich in vitamins like A, C, E, all the B's, and the most important of minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, chromium, iron, potassium, and manganese. Aloe is packed with the 20 most critical, and some essential, of amino acids. It has a broad range of fatty acids, including linoleic, oleic, stearic, myristic, and the most important sterols beta-sitosterol, campestrol, and HCL cholestrol (which studies show lower bad cholestrol, regulate blood pressure, and improving blood circulation.) One study in the journal Angiology reported that aloe may decrease total fat levels in patients with high cholesterol. It also contains high levels of enzymes, anthraquinones, saponins and lignins -- all extremely valuable to our health. Aloe is an amazing plant by any standard.

One of the key benefits comes from aloe's role as an adaptogen. Plants develop methods for defending against external attacks, influences and diseases, and in human bodies, these adaptogens boost ability to handle environmental stresses, both physical and mental. We often discuss the importance of adaptogens due to the fact that our modern world is rife with toxins, pollutants, and deficient dietary sources, and these compounds play a critical role in helping us cope.

Furthermore, aloe is a powerful anti-oxidant (another important defense against free radicals and toxins,) and a potent immune function booster (immuno-modulator.) It also has the characteristic of cleaning and regulating the digestive system, catching and eliminating toxins, and helping maintain healthy stomach bacteria (flora.) It even kills intestinal worms. As a side benefit, aloe, by improving digestive function, detoxification, and elimination, also promotes healthy weight loss.

In 1994, aloe vera was approved for the treatment of HIV, probably primarily for its ability to stimulate the production of white blood cells that may help fight virii and tumors.

Best of all, aloe is an alkalizing food, so it helps maintain health pH.

Research has been done to isolate key compounds in aloe, but results suggest that there is a synergy of effects from the complex of ingredients. Researchers at the University of San Antonio conducted a study on possible negative effects of consuming aloe daily and found that the results were entirely positive, with test animals showing considerable reductions in heart disease, kidney disease, and even cancer, and living an amazing 25 percent longer than the control group (IASC Conference, Texas, 1997).

Aloe's list of uses in traditional society were considerable, but we are now coming to realize that many of these uses are clearly valid. This is an incredibly potent botanical with a wide range of health boosting effects. Best of all, research shows it is highly beneficial in supplement form, particularly as it is very difficult to get it into your regular meals as a food.

Studies suggest that between 10mg and 50 mg per day is ideal for most adults. We utilize high-grade, stabilized aloe vera in our GREEN 33 daily greens, vegetable supplementin its natural, whole-food form and believe it is a big part of the remarkable popularity of this product. We combine the ingredients in this vege complex specifically to achieve maximum synergy, and aloe has proven in studies time and again that its components are highly synergistic. Historically, aloe was said to enhance the effects of medicinal preparations, and again, research now tells us that it significantly potentiates the action of some drugs such as antibiotics.

Finally, even though aloe shows no negative effects and no significant interactions, it is always wise to consult your healthcare practitioner before making changes to your regimen, especially if you are taking any prescription medication.

Related Posts: 
The Importance of Being Alkaline - Know Your pH !

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Plemons J, Rees TD Binnie WH Wright JM. Evaluation of acemannan in providing pain relief in patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Wounds 1994
Atherton Peter. (1997) The Essential Aloe Vera – The actions and the evidence
Cochrane, C and Knottenbelt, D. (1999) Preliminary study of the effects of Aloe Vera on equine dermal fibroblasts. University of Liverpool,
Danhof, I.E. and McAnelley, B.H. (1983) Stabilised Aloe Vera – effects on human skin cells. Drug and Cosmetic Industry.
Gottshall et al (1950) Antibacterial substances in seed plants active against tubercle bacili. American Review of Tuberculosis.
Honig J, Geck P, and Rauwald HW. Inhibition of Cl- channels as a possible base of laxative action of certain anthraquinones and anthrones. Planta Med 1992
Schmidt JM and Greenspoon JS. Aloe vera dermal wound gel is associated with a delay in wound healing. Obstetrics & Gynecology 1991.

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.

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