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Aloe Vera For Health and Healing

Aloe Vera For Health and Healing

Ancient & Agreeable

Aloe vera's use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egyptian civilization, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the "plant of immortality," aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs.

Common Names -- aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant's gall

What Is Aloe Vera Used For?

  • Traditionally, aloe was used topically to heal wounds and for various skin conditions.
  • Aloe vera gel can be found in hundreds of skin products, including lotions and sunblocks.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved aloe vera as a natural food flavoring.

How Aloe Vera Is Used

Gel from the aloe plant Aloe leaves contain a clear gel that is often used as a topical ointment. The green part of the leaf that surrounds the gel can be used to produce a juice or a dried substance (called latex) that is taken by mouth.

What Science Says About Aloe Vera

Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with various components of aloe (aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin) were at one time regulated by the FDA as oral over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated. The companies that manufactured them did not provide the necessary safety data. That has all changed now, and aloe-vera can safely be used to combat gastrointestinal problems, along with other health related benefits.

Topical Aloe Gel

Early studies show that topical aloe gel may help heal burns and abrasions. When used topically, Aloe Vera Gels soften and soothe wounded skin. One study, however, showed that aloe gel should not be used on deep surgical wounds, as it could inhibit healing.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with side effects.
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of too much aloe vera.
  • People with diabetes who use blood glucose lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe by mouth because preliminary studies suggest aloe may lower blood glucose levels.
  • Tell your health care providers about any alternative practices you use. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

There are many wonders of aloe vera and so very many uses for this humble plant!

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