Aloe, native to Africa, is also known as “lily of the desert”, There are in excess of 300 species of aloe growing in climates worldwide. The plant is renowned for yielding two therapeutic substances. The first, derived from the inner leaves, provides relief for minor burns, skin irritations, and infections; the second is aloe gel, which relieves minor stomach disorders.
Aloe gel is most commonly used as a beauty aid or moisturizer. Aloe contains polysaccharides, which soothes, softens, and promotes healthy skin.
Claims and Common Uses of Aloe Vera
- Helps keep skin soft and supple
- Facilitates digestion
- Aids circulation
- An immune system enhancement
- Used externally on burns to reduce pain, swelling and prevent blisters
- May be effective topically in treating diabetic leg ulcers.
- Sooths irritation due to insect bites and allergies
- Soothes and promotes healing of wounds, ulcers, canker sores, cold sores, and burns
- Beneficial in the treatment of acne and eczema
Part Used: Pulp from the insides of the succulent leaves.
Preparations: Aloe is available as a concentrate, juice, powder, in powdered capsules, bottled gel, or latex tablets.
- Aloe Vera “extract” is made by pulverizing the whole leaves of the plant.
- Aloe juice is made from the inner leaf.
- As an eyewash: Dissolve 1/2 tsp. powdered aloe gel in 1 cup water. Add 1-tsp boric acid to accelerate the healing process. Pour the solution through a coffee filter before applying to the eyes.
- As a bath: Add 1 to 2 cups aloe gel to a warm bath to relieve sunburn.
Side Effects and Warnings of Aloe:
- Oral products are known as strong cathartics and are rarely recommended for use.
- May result in allergic reactions, cramps or diarrhea. If these side effects are experienced try a lower dosage or stop using the product.
- Traditional internal use as purgative bitters not advised and may cause hemorrhage.
- Do not exceed the recommended dose of aloe latex. If taken in excess, its powerful laxative chemicals can cause intestinal cramps leading to ulcers or irritated bowels.
- Do not take if you are pregnant or have a gastrointestinal illness.
- Aloe should not be used internally by children or the elderly.
- Topical aloe preparations are not useful in the treatment of deep vertical wounds such as surgical wounds produced during laparotomy or cesarean delivery.