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ALOE VERA (Aloe barbadensis)

 

Also known as: 'Plant of mortality' and 'wand of heaven'.

 

Aloe vera

Aloe vera was known as the 'plant of immortality' by the ancient Egyptians and 'the wand of heaven' by the native tribes of the Americas because they were aware of its powerful properties that can assist the functions of the gastrointestinal tract and soothe, cleanse and help the body to maintain healthy tissues both inside and out. It can be grown in a pot in the home during the winter, as it cannot stand frost, but is happy to be placed outside in full sun in the summer and is a must have for your home first aid kit.


The components in aloe vera enhance the functioning of the entire immune system, detoxify the body, promote the repair of a wide range of tissues and organs, improve digestive functions and help with the destruction and elimination of invading bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses and is particularly good for maintaining oral health, specifically the mouth and teeth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve pain and help with the healing of damaged tissues.


Aloe vera juice is one of the best purifier of the body and internal organs, specifically the bladder, brain, gall bladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen and stomach. It contains at least three anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are helpful for the stomach, small intestine and colon. It naturally alkalises digestive juices to prevent over acidity, a common cause of digestive complaints.


Aloe vera is particularly active against the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2, Corynebacterium, Pseudomonos aeruginosa, Salmonella, Streptococcus</ital> and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

 

The newly discovered compound in aloe vera known as acemannan can aid digestion and blood and lymphatic circulation as well as help to treat the following health disorders:

 

 

Acemannan, is currently being studied for its ability to strengthen the immune system because studies have shown that it is able to boost T-lymphocyte cells that aid in natural resistance to infection.

 

 

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Other health benefits of aloe vera

  • Aids in the absorption of water, minerals and nutrients in the GI tract.

  • Enhances macrophage effectiveness in modulating the entire immune system by stimulating, producing and releasing antibodies. Improves macrophage activity as much as tenfold which strengthens the immune system against diseases like AIDS and cancer.

  • Improves overall cellular metabolism and functioning.

  • Improves vascular flow.

  • Increases the body's own production of interferon, interleukins.

  • Increases the number and activity of killer T-cell and increases monocyte activity.

  • Kills parasites such as pinworms and threadworms.

  • Makes cells more resistant to viruses and pathogenic bacteria by incorporating themselves into cell walls.

  • Maintains moisture, shine and elasticity of the skin by stimulating fibroblasts to release collagen and elastin to make new tissue.

  • Prevents arteriosclerosis, heart disease, mucopolysaccharidosis and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Promotes the healing of kidney disorders.

  • Provides critical lubrication of joints; helping to prevent arthritis and to heal it once it has developed.

  • Reduces allergic reactions.

  • Reduces blood sugar levels in diabetes I and II.

  • Reduces pain and inflammation.

  • Soothes and promotes the healing of intestinal disorders such as: colitis, haemorrhoids, heartburn, hyper-acidity, indigestion and duodenal and peptic ulcers. Improves symptoms of colitis, gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome within one month of regular consumption.

  • Speeds wound healing by as much as 35%.

  • Stimulates bone marrow activity.

Drinking aloe vera juice can help the body fight off the virus that causes warts. Also, applying the gel undiluted to the wart is an effective treatment.

NOTE: Over consumption of aloe vera can stimulate increased bowel function so it is recommended to increase the intake gradually to avoid intestinal cramping.

Aloe vera juice (to drink)

  • Two tablespoons of clear aloe vera gel.

  • Place in a blender with a glass of freshly squeezed citrus fruit juice and blend.

  • Drink immediately.

Growing aloe vera plants in pots

The aloe vera plants is one of the easiest to grow. It only needs watering once the soil of its pot has completely dried out and can survive without water for some time. Over watering will kill it. It can be placed outside during the summer months but will not tolerate any frost at all and needs a sunny windowsill during the winter. It will prouce baby plnats from its roots very prolifically which can be potted up and given away to friends and family.

Harvesting aloe vera gel

  • Firstly, slice off the spiky sides as these also contain aloin.

  • Then cut the leaf in half.

  • Then cut the leaf into three or four strips lengthways following its natural lines as it makes it easier to peel off the skin.

  • Then use a flat cake icing spatula and slide it underneath the green skin in the middle then move right and left along the leaf to remove the skin. Then turn it over and do the same.

  • Discard the skin (it can be composted) then cut the gel into cubes and place in a blender. Blend well then store as follows.

Aloe vera gel is best harvested from a plant at least two years old and the gel becomes even more powerful after three years. When removing the gel from aloe vera plant do not scrape the leaves, if the gel is to be consumed, it as the yellow part contains aloin that can act as a strong laxative for some people. Also cut the tip off about three to four inches down as aloin also is concentrated in that part of the leaf.

Aloe vera gel can be harvested from fresh leaves and stored in a refrigerator for no more than four days or three months in a freezer. Adding the fresh juice of half a lemon during blending can make it last for ten days in the refrigerator.

In order to preserve it to last eight months, in a refrigerator, it can be blended with vitamins C and E. For every 1/4 cup of gel, add 500 mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of Vitamin E. (do not use effervescent vitamin C tablets). Grind Vitamin C tablets and drain Vitamin E oil capsules by pricking them with a small pin. Add the mixture of gel and vitamins to a blender or stir vigorously with a spoon. Then place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator where it will keep for three months.

If the gel is only going to be used externally, as a topical lotion or cream, some drops of grapefruit extract and essential oils can be added when blending it such as lavender, rosemary or tea tree oil. This will make it last up to six months and provide added benefits of these essential oils. Some cold-pressed coconut oil can be mixed in when blending to make a luxurious natural skin cream with further anti-fungal properties.

NOTE: The gel may have some foam on the top at first after blending but this will settle down later.

Aloe vera gel exterior uses

Burns and radiation
Treats minor burns on the body including sunburn or radiation by relieving pain and inflammation and aiding faster healing.

Deodorant
Use as a toxin-free deodorant for underarms, feet and the groin. Can be mixed with arrowroot powder and a few drops of essential oils to make a dusting powder.

Fungal infections
Fights fungal infections, such as: athlete's foot, balnea, essential pruritus, pruritus anivalvae, ringworm and vaginal yeast infections. Simply rub the undiluted gel onto affected areas.

Hair conditioning
Make a luxurious and lathering toxin-free shampoo. Mix one-part aloe vera gel with one-part liquid Castile soap, plus a few drops of essential oil of your choice. Attentively use as a nourishing and hydrating hair gel.

Injuries
Helps to heal athletic and sports injuries such as: bruises, bursitis, muscle cramps, soreness, sprains, strains, swelling and tendonitis.

Oral care
Use to brush teeth and gums as a natural and effective tooth paste. Can be mixed with bicarbonate of soda to remove stubborn stains. Can be mixed with water to make a natural antibacterial mouthwash. Rub the gel on sore gums to soothe and heal them faster.

Soap
Replace the water with aloe vera gel in DIY soap making or homemade shower gel.

Skin
Dab the gel on acne, cuts, dry skin, insect bites, itching, rashes, redness, sores, spots and wounds for relief and faster healing. It is also useful in the treatment of skin disorders such as dermatitis, eczema, haemorrhoids, inflammation of the eyes, irritation, psoriasis, rosacea and as well as successfully smoothes wrinkles and reduces scarring and stretch marks.

NOTE: Aloe vera gel is also safe and beneficial for animals.

Significant components in aloe vera

Acemannan, chlorophyll, choline, saponins, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 ((cyanocobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, chromium, germanium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, tannins and zinc.

Aloe vera also contains: aloe-emodin, aloins, barbaloin, isobarbaloin, amorphous aloin, enzymes, resin, essential fatty acids, galactomannans, glycoproteins (protein-carbohydrate compounds that speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation) and polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate that stimulates skin growth and repair). Aloe vera also contains 20 of the 22 amino acids that are required by the human body. It also contains salicylic acid, which fights inflammation and bacteria.

The enzymes in aloe vera, such as amylase and lipase, can aid in digestion by breaking down fat and sugar molecules. Another enzyme is bradykinase which helps to reduce inflammation. Taking aloe vera regularly can assist with the bioavailability of vitamin B12, meaning the body can more easily to absorb and utilise it which can prevent deficiency which can often affect the elderly, those that limit or avoid animal foods and those who drink alcohol regularly.

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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