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Medicinal and Culinary Herbs > Aloe Vera

History and Folkore
The paintings of Aloe Vera plants found on the temple and tomb walls of ancient Egypt reflect that mans relationship with this plant dates back to around or before 4,000 B.C.

However, it was the Greek and Roman physicians, Dioscorides and Pliny around 60 AD, that have provided us with the most detailed documentation of Aloe Vera's wide array of applications. These noted medics used the plant to heal wounds and Skin abrasions, insect bites, boils, bruises, chapping, sore throat, bleeding gums, haemorrhoids, dysentery as well as a purgative.

Not only that, but legends have it that two of the most alluring Egyptian queens, Nefertiti and Cleopatra, relied on Aloe Vera to maintain their unlined and youthful complexions by both drinking the juice and bathing in it!

Aloe Vera - The Plant
Aloe Vera, possibly the most widely used healing and beautifying plant in the history of mankind, is a most remarkable plant. Looking more like a cactus and growing in dry surroundings, it actually belongs to the lily family. It can survive long periods of drought by shutting down its pores to prevent water loss, keeping it moist and cool while other plants wilt. When cut or damaged Aloe Vera's healing powers become immediately apparent as it closes off any damaged areas as well as forming a protective covering over the wound ensuring the plant continues to thrive. Such properties have earned Aloe Vera the reputation as a powerful healer of both the inner and outer body.

Growing best in tropical climates Aloe flourishes in the heat and there are, in fact, over 275 different species to be found. However it is the genus Aloe Vera barbadensis miller, meaning the "true Aloe" that is considered to be the most medicinal and is the variety found in most Aloe Vera juice capsules and gels. The leaves of this particular genus form a tight rosette, within which are juicy fillets of clear jelly that contain over I00 vitamins, minerals, enzymes and plant compounds that are essential for cell growth and renewal.

Research
Thousands of healing benefits from using Aloe Vera are now well documented. Many doctors around the world are actively using Aloe Vera either alongside or as an alternative to conventional treatments where orthodox medicines have failed.

Aloe Vera has been described as a potent natural product which the body recognises. With its synergistic mix of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes it can be a very powerful force which helps the body heal itself.

Extensive scientific research in the United States and the former Soviet Union has been conducted to determine the pharmacological basis of Aloe Vera. Hundreds of these scientific studies and journals were reviewed by Dr Bill Coats R.Ph. who then reported in his book "The Silent Healer - A modern study of Aloe Vera shows that Aloe Vera has the following properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory - counteracts or suppresses the inflammatory process.
  • Analgesic - relieves pain deep beneath the surface.
  • Anti-pruritic - relieves itching.
  • 'Humectant - moisturises, promoting retention of water in skin(in tissue.
  • 'Proteolytic - enzymatically dissolves and digests damaged or dead tissue cells enhancing the process of healing.
  • 'Regenerative - stimulates the growth of skin cells.
  • 'Antipyretic - relieves the heat of burns, inflammation and fever.
  • 'Absorbefacient - promotes absorption through tissues.
  • 'Fungistatic - inhibits the growth of fungi.
  • 'Vi rustatic - inhibits replication of viruses.
  • 'Detoxifying - helps cleanse and purify the body.
  • 'Bacteriostatic - inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.
More recently, in 1992,1 C Pittman wrote a short review and summary of the stimulatory nature of Aloe Vera on the immune system whereby he ~ concluded - "Acemannan, (a polysaccharide fraction found in Aloe) has direct effects on the immune system, activating and stimulating -macrophages, monocytes, antibodies and T-cells."

The immune system of the stomach is one of the body's first lines of defence against sicitness, so a healthy immune system leads to a better state of health.

Magical Ingredients
Aloe Vera's survival characteristics mean that, unlike other plants, its root system is not the primary mechanism for food and water storage. Instead it is the gel inside the leaves that is rich in nutrition and water which is Aloe Vera's lifeblood. In fact the plant can be uprooted and live for months on its internal supply of water, nutrients and enzymes. It is this storehouse of over 100 essential minerals, enzymes, vitamins, lipids, amino acids and other active compounds, 5 of which are exclusive to the wide array of Aloe Vera, that gives medicinal applications which often seem too good to be true.

How can Aloe Vera be referred to as an active detoxifying agent, a powerful immune system stimulant, an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, a stimulator of cell growth, a 'issue healer, an antiseptic, a rich source of nutrients and an aid to digestion - and be all of these simultaneously? It is Aloe Vera's natural blend of nutrients working synergistically that helps explain the beneficial effects attributed to it, as well as its "homeostatic nature" or ability to bring about balance (which is why it can help one person with constipation and another with diarrhoea).

According to a leading U.S. Nutritionist Dr Bruce Hendendal, the key to Aloe Vera's power is the abundance of a particular nutrient, mocopolysaccharides (MPS), long chain sugars which are the body's building blocks. We manufacture these ourselves, in great quantities during our first decade of life after which we become more reliant on outside sources.

Aloe Vera Tablets Delivered to Your Door for Your Health and Well Being

Few plants are a richer source than Aloe Vera
Natural Health practitioners believe a lack of MPS creates a leaky gut wall which lets through toxins and other large food molecules, overloading our liver and detoxification processes, and ultimately leading to allergies, inflammation, dry and scaly skin conditions and digestive disorders.

While there is no scientific analysis to fully explain the exceptional healing and curative properties ascribed to Aloe Vera, one thing all researchers agree upon is that it has no single active principal, but works synergistically to stimulate the natural healing mechanisms of the body.

Aloe Vera is rich in enzymes, often missing in today's over-processed foods. Taken internally Aloe Vera juice appears to improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients, as well as elimination.

The inner gel is deeply penetrating, working first on the digestive system and then on other systems, gradually helping the body flush out impurities and toxins and restoring balance to both overworked and sluggish areas.

In time, good health starts to show on on the outside with reports of increased energy and improved skin condition.

Growing Aloe Vera
While Aloe Vera likes a warm climate it will grow in almost any sunny spot with good draining soil and plants can be purchased in most garden centers.

Aloe Vera Page 2




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