Do you have an aloe plant in your yard? Aloe barbadensis is a botanical cousin of lilies and tulips, though unlike a pretty flower, it’s spiny, stalk-like leaves makes it look more like a cactus. Native to southern Africa, the aloe plant also known as aloe vera is a popular houseplant. Many people grow it indoors or outside to have a medicinal tonic at their fingertips.
We know the leaf contains a gel that contains 75 potentially active substances, including antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes. It works by increasing blood supply and oxygen to an injury that helps the body repair damaged tissues. Aloe is also a proven antibacterial and anti-inflammatory tonic, both internal and external.
Aloe helps to cure cuts and scrapes. Doctors call them abrasions and they usually heal with time. Aloe helps boost the healing process by reducing inflammation; it’s antibacterial and just makes the wound feel good. Aloe contains allantoin, a substance that stimulates cellular proliferation hastening healing. Grow an aloe plant for just this reason as you can slice a leaf lengthwise and slather the gel on the wound. If you don’t have a plant, aloe gel is sold as a commercial preparation found in most drug stores. Also known as a remedy for burns, many cooks keep an aloe plant on the kitchen windowsill.
Sunburn sneaks up on us no matter how hard we try to avoid the harmful rays of the sun. Use aloe vera gel right after the fact. Commercial gels are sold right next to the sunscreens in the store. If you have a natural plant, use it. If you choose to buy aloe, make sure to pick one without unnecessary preservatives and artificial coloring.
Nursing mothers swear how aloe helps keep their breast in good condition. It may not increase your milk supply, but pure aloe gel sooths the skin and can be applied to nipples after you nurse. This substance will help to avoid cracking and dryness of the breast tissue. Use it topically as necessary.
Dentists love aloe too! Since it is a proven skin healer, it has the same effects on the gums. A number of mouth rinses and other dental products include aloe. Researchers at Baylor College of Dentistry examine the effects of an FDA approved aloe extract called acemannan hydrogel and have used it with canker sore sufferers. This type aloe is found as a freeze-dried form of hydrogel, or Oralbase, which is an over-the-counter pain treatment recommended by dentists for this problem.
Internally, aloe gel lubricates the intestines and helps with many digestive disorders such as diverticulosis and constipation. For constipation, it helps the bowels move more easily. Since it is a natural laxative, a tablespoon or two of the gel can be consumed until the constipation is relieved. If you are buying the product, make sure it has been manufactured for internal use.
The aloe vera gel contains a large sugar molecule called mucopolysaccharides. These special sugars have been know to help heal ulcers and inflamed intestinal walls. Side effects are mostly uncommon as long as the aloe is pure and not the yellow rind, which can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea. If you are looking to cure heartburn, make sure the aloe juice is food-grade freeze dried powder versus the juice, containing citric acid that sometimes aggravates the reflux (GERD).
These are only a few of the many ailments that aloe can resolve. It’s a medicinal plant to keep handy as an alternative treatment to ease pain and speed healing.
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