Thursday, September 20, 2007

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera – The Plant of Immortality.

Aloe Vera image courtsey: earthlink.net


The Historical Cure.


Aloe Vera has been a craze among consumer products in recent times, soaps, shampoos, creams lotions and almost everything of daily use come with Aloe vera. Intestinal ailments, skin disorder and almost all ailments including cancer and even Aids are claimed to be curable by extracts of this wonder plant. Diascorides the ancient physician who accompanied the Roman army was an ardent fan of this plant and he had prima facie knowledge of its enormous power to heal wounds of soldiers injured in war. The prominent Greek Scientist Celsius was also a supporter of this wonder plant. Kopra’s ‘The Indigenous Drugs of India’ a 400 year old book also have references about Aloe vera. Let us see what this magical plant is and how much useful it actually is?


Some facts about the plant.


Though Aloe vera is a native of the Tropical Africa it grows even in cold areas and is widely cultivated for its medicinal extracts all through the world; it belongs to the plant family Liliaceae (known after the family’s popular member Lily) and scientists call it Aloe vera barbadensis. Aloe vera is a succulent plant with rosette of thick tapering leaves with serrate margins and bell or tubular shaped flowers. There are about 240 varieties of this species found in various parts of the world. Its succulent leaves are composed of 95% water and juice extracted from it has strong laxative properties had been in use in several African and Asian countries for years. Aloe vera is commercially cultivated in Texas, Florida and California, in Oklahoma they are massively grown in special green houses.


Aloe gel and aloe juice.


The succulent leaves yield two types of extracts aloe gel and aloe latex, the jelly like light juice that exudes from soft parenchyma cell of leaves is the aloe jelly and that got from the peri-cycle tubules just below leaves is called aloe latex (or aloe juice). Both these extracts are similar in quality and contain various minerals, vitamins, amino acids, calcium, potassium and zinc etc all essential materials for the well being of human body. Physicians have approved the extracts having curative properties to heal skin disorders, cuts, burns eczema etc. Aloe gel can eliminate warts and such external growths on skin. Aloe gel mixed with vitamin E and collagen makes excellent skin-cream that can retain elasticity of the skin even at old age.


Believe it or not!


Mixing aloe gel with warm water makes a good gargle medium that is good to keep of foul mouth odor; it can cure mouth ulcers as well. This if taken in can cure constipation and heals intestinal wounds, infections, irritable bowel syndrome and related diseases. Colitis, peptic ulcer, troubles related to the small and large intestine are also found to disappear by the use of this mixture. Aloe vera is richly endowed with natural alkaline compounds and they protect stomach and intestinal skin from excessive acidity of the intestinal juices and its corrosive effects on the skin.





Even as a food. Aloe vera is used as a food by people living in the Thar desert (a medium sized desert covering States of Rajasthan and part of Gujarat in India) of Rajasthan, they cook it with seeds of fenugreek (fenugreek is also with some medicinal properties).


The plant of immortality.


Aloe vera prefers salty water (can grow even if irrigated with sea-water), it flourishes at gardens with occasional irrigation with salted water. Aloe vera had prominent roles in the folklores of Japan, Philippines but it was the Spanish which spread this plant to South America and the Caribbean. In ancient Egypt Aloe vera plant was so popular that they called it ‘the immortal plant’ and pictured in on the walls of their tombs. They believed that use of this plant can retain eternal youth!


Was in Cleopatra’s shopping list.


It may be in every girl’s dream to be as beautiful as Cleopatra the serpent beauty of the yore, no problem there is a way use the beauty-potion Cleopatra used; it was nothing else but Aloe vera extract that enhanced and sustained the enchanting beauty of Queen Cleopatra. Alexander the Great used this for healing wounds of soldiers. Chinese applied it on the skin-ailments warts, psoriasis, and allergies, where as tribals of Africa applied Aloe vera juice on their body to escape excessive perspiration and loss of water.


Only the tip of the ice-berg.


It is said that what curative properties discovered are only the tip of the ice-berg and many more are yet to be found. Researches regarding the medicinal properties of aloe vera are going on and most of the curative properties attributed to this plant are to be substantiated by modern researches to get established.


Some good news.


Some of the findings are good news to those with heart and related ailments, experiments have proved that aloe gel can reduce the possibility of heart attacks by strengthening walls of heart and blood vessels. Consumption of Isabgol and aloe gel along with food has been found to reduce Lipids, serum cholesterol, tri-glycerides and fasting blood sugar as well as blood sugar after food. There are even reports that when aloe vera gel was administered in animals with diabetes their blood sugar level was found lowered. .


A Statutory Warning!


Excess use of aloe gel has been found to cause loose motion, intense stomach-ache, imbalance of electrolytes in body fluids etc. This has also been found to constrict the walls of uterus hence not advised to pregnant women. There are conflicting research reports about the pro and anti properties of aloe vera, as most of the supporters come from practitioners of traditional medicines lack scientific substantiation from modern research labs.


A parallel therapy.


Some of the claims as well as users’ statements regarding its curative properties of this extract for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, AIDS etc might be wild exaggerations. Physicians practicing Ayurveda make a potion by name ‘Kumaryasavam’ (potion for women) which is believed to protect women from uterine cancer. But it can be so advised that until these statements as well as claims are proved in a scientific laboratory; use of this potion can be only followed as a parallel to the main-stream therapies as per the directions of qualified medical practitioners..


4 comments:

Maria said...

I have come across this page on Aloe Vera which in my view is the most comprehensive and complete information on Aloe Vera and its benefits.

Sergio Cadona said...

very informative article...Aloe Verahas more medical usage than just skin-related i.e. scar and acne.

Shana Bender said...

Aloe is the best natural way to treat skin. And here I am, having the best experience by using Aloe Mask. Thank you for such a nice post

Suzzette said...

Nice Informative post thanks for this blog

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