In this edition, we discuss Aloe Vera as a natural remedy. Aloe is native to North Africa, and coastal areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, aloe vera is one of the most familiar herbal remedies known to man. The clear mucilaginous gel is remarkably effective for soothing wounds, burns, and increases healing while reducing the risk of infection.
Applied externally, aloe vera provides immediate relief for dermis burns, sunburn, skin irritations, minor scrapes and wounds. Aloe is also useful in soothing outbreaks of genital herpes, and psoriasis. The gel from the plant contains active compounds that decrease pain, and inflammation. In fact aloe vera will even repair your skin. Aloe gel and the aloe juices when taken orally can combat osteoarthritis, stomach ulcers, irritable bowl syndrome, and asthma. Studies suggest aloe juice may help with lowering blood sugars, and increase wound healing in those with diabetes.
The History of Aloe Vera used as a Natural Remedy
This extremely beneficial plant has been cultivated for thousands of years, in fact because of this scientists are unable to pinpoint the plants geographic origin. Theories suggest that the plant originated in the canary islands, and was somehow migrated to the Mediterranean region by early seafaring traders. As a result, the plant can be found throughout the Mediterranean region dating back some 2000 years.
A recent study theorizes that aloe vera may have originated in the southern Arabian Peninsula, once a key trading port for medicinal plants in the ancient world. Subsequently, this allowed for the spread throughout the Egyptian empire. Ancient Egyptians called aloe vera the plant of immortality.
Aloe eventually found its way into the European herbal medicine market by the 10th century. The gel was applied externally to soothe and heal wounds. The gel was also utilized for maintaining healthy skin. Herbalist prescribed the the juices for internal use to help heal stomach disorders, insomnia, hemorrhoids, headaches, gum diseases, and kidney ailments. In fact aloe was even prescribed for constipation.
How to Use and Obtain
Aloe Gel: Apply to the skin several times a day for burns and other skin conditions. People suffering from colitis can take 25-30ml (about 2tbsp) twice daily. Diabetics can take 10-20ml (about 1tbsp) daily to help combat ulcers, and control blood sugar levels. For more info on this subject we suggest reading this study “Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera”
Aloe plants are readily available at garden centers, local nurseries, and even your local grocery store. In fact aloe is one of the most common plants sold around the world today. The plant is drought tolerant, and will withstand some of the hottest summers. This also means if you forget to water your plants one week, the aloe will continue to thrive.
Precautions when using Aloe Vera as a Natural Remedy
Topically applied, aloe is considered safe. It is important to always purchase aloe gel that is made from the inner leaf, and or that is free of aloin. Aloe juice containing aloin can act as a laxative which can irritate the intestines. Prolonged use can lead to electrolyte deficiency, and dependency for normal bowl function. Those with severe or acute gastrointestinal symptoms should not take the juice. Children and women who are pregnant and or breastfeeding should not take aloe internally.