Aloe VeraThe Aloe vera plant is well known for its health giving properties and many people extol the virtues of this plant. Over the years, it has been claimed that it is a cure all for just about every disease or disorder that exists. While that isn't strictly true, it can provide an important boost to our health.

About Aloe Vera

Aloe vera doesn't grow naturally so the plant has to be cultivated. The plant can be recognised by its long, green leaves, which produce a gel like substance when cut. Various species of the plant are grown throughout the world and it is known to cultivate well in Australia, Nigeria and Egypt.

The plant has been used for its medicinal and beautifying qualities for centuries and Aloe vera is still used regularly to help fight various illnesses or conditions.

How to Use Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can be taken in liquid or capsule form. However, some people can't tolerate the bitter taste of aloe, so it is best mixed in with some fruit juice to make it more palatable.

Aloe is also available in gels and lotions for direct application to the skin and the leaves from the plant can be cut off and the juice extracted so that it can be applied to minor wounds such as burns and grazes.

Precautions

Little is known about the possible toxic effects of Aloe vera, so it is not known what the safe amount to take is. Pregnant or breastfeeding women or anybody with an underlying medical condition and on medication should take advice before ingesting aloe.

Digestive Problems

Many people will attest to the positive effects that Aloe vera juice can have on the digestive system. It has been used successfully by patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diarrhoea and constipation. However, some people also find that the aloe plant can be irritating to the stomach. This is due to a bitter tasting substance called aloin that is contained in the plant, so look for products with low aloin content. It should also be noted that aloin can in some cases cause stomach upsets.

Gum Disease

Aloe vera is often made available in the form of toothpastes and mouthwashes as it is believed to be beneficial to patients with gum and teeth problems. It is thought that Aloe vera can help to prevent and treat problems such as receding gums.

When applied in gel form, the plant can help to soothe sore, inflamed gums and it is rich in vitamin C, which is vital to gum health.

Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients

The plant is power packed with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Aloe is a rich source of B vitamins, which are vital for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin E, Magnesium, Chromium and zinc can also be obtained from Aloe.

Anti-inflammatory

Anyone who suffers from the discomfort of stiff, painful, inflamed joints could benefit from drinking aloe vera juice as it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Cholesterol

Aloe is thought to help lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can cause plaque in the arteries, which will then leave a person at risk or a heart attack.

Diabetes

While it is by no means a cure for diabetes, it has been shown that aloe vera can help lower the blood sugars, helping a diabetic to gain better control over their glucose levels. However, due to the lowering effect that the plant could have on the blood sugar, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor before trying it.

Detox

The juice from Aloe vera has long been used to aid in detoxing the body. Aloe is believed to be a powerful detox aid as it can help clear waste from the body and help people to feel less sluggish.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and each of them plays an important role in the body's health; amino acids can influence everything from mood to muscle growth The Aloe vera plant is known to be a good source of amino acids; the body doesn't make essential amino acids by itself, so they have to be sourced from our food.

Amino acids are imperative for many of the body's functions and are needed to keep the body healthy.

Burns

Aloe is often used as a burn treatment as it helps the skin to heal quicker. For minor burns, either use an Aloe vera gel, or if you have an aloe plant at home, cut open a leaf and use the gel inside as a topical treatment to massage into the injury.

Skin Care

Many skin care products now contain Aloe as it is believed to be calming to the skin, helping to ease irritation and inflammation; it can be found in moisturisers, cleansers, face tissues and it is included as an ingredient in a whole host of natural skin products.

In addition, it is often suggested as an acne treatment and many people drinking Aloe vera juice notice a clearer, less inflamed complexion.

When the gel is applied to sunburnt skin, it will have a soothing effect and help to ease the discomfort.

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