Aloe Vera: The Natural Healing Choice
Aloe Vera: When only the real thing is good enough
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The Health Benefits of Aloe VeraThe Miracle of Aloe page describes many of the ways to use Aloe vera gel externally. But so many of us also take it internally, as a drink.
There are a lot of internal conditions that can benefit from taking Aloe gel. Much of the evidence comes from ordinary folk who have tried it. Regretfully, it seems, nobody is interested in doing trials that will confirm or deny any of the claims by the millions who use it, except the odd university study, who almost always back up the good side in their conclusions.
But there is one thing to bear in mind. How many products do you have at home that have Aloe vera in them? Quite a few I expect. Doesn't that tell you something? Most of the companies that have jumped on this particular bandwagon, only put miligrams of the stuff in the product, just enough so they can put it on the label and make you buy it.
But that's not the point. The point is, no big firms that make medication are interested in researching Aloe, because how can they justify selling you a £20 pill, if a £1 sip of Aloe every day will do just as well? Admittedly, that's not true in every case, but I wouldn't mind betting, enough to make it significant.
Let's look at some of these conditions one by one, and then you can make up your own mind.
Internal conditions like: peridontal disease, gingivitis, plaque, constipation, denture sores, painful mouth, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, weight loss, digestive problems, acid reflux, both types of arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid), digestive tract lubrication, ulcers and colon cleanse. I would also include general detox here.
1. Peridontal Disease Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gum tissues that hold your teeth in place. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on the teeth and hardens. Brushing and flossing well, coupled with not smoking helps to slow it down, but it should not be taken lightly.
Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease. This is because the gum pulls away from your teeth allowing bacteria to enter. Bacteria can migrate into the blood vessels in the gum which then can damage the heart.
Now, you might think the mouth and heart don't have much in common. Research suggests that bacteria present in gum disease can travel throughout the body, triggering inflammation in the heart's vessels and infection in heart valves. This equates to two or three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.
Convert your aloe gel to a liquid by spinning it in a liquidizer, or disolving a frozen cube. Add some water to make a drink. Take a few sips and swish the liquid around your mouth and teeth for a good minute. Spit the waste out. Do this with half the drink, then drink the rest.
On a personal note: At 62 I still have all my own teeth. Not such a claim to fame you might think, but my peridontal score is 0 or 1. I put this down to a side benefit of taking one small dose of Aloe gel every day, and cleaning my teeth regularly. As we age, and before with poor dental hygiene, the gum pulls away from the teeth leaving food trapped in the interproximal space, leading to tooth decay, plaque, gum disease, gingivitis and eventually bone decay. Anything between a score of 1 to 5 leaves the heart open to attack by bacteria along the gum line. The antibacterial action of Aloe gel just might be the answer so some recovery and better scores next checkup.
2. Gingivitis and Plaque Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque – a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria – on the teeth and gums. The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins that can irritate the gums and cause them to become red, inflamed, puffy, and may even lead to bleeding. Using your Aloe gel as a mouth wash, similarly to peridontal disease, uses the anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory, properties of your Aloe gel to effectively reduce the symptoms of gingivitis.
On a personal note: Both Jill and I have regular dental checkups, usually every 6 months or so. Both of us needed the odd trip to the hygienist for a descale. But since we've been taking our Aloe gel, both our dentists have remarked how litte plaque we have on our teeth. A coincidence? Maybe, but I think it more likely that as plaque is caused by the deposition of bacterial debris, the antibacterial properties of Aloe may be having an impact in bacterial numbers along the gum line, thus reducing our tendency toward plaque accumulation.
3. Denture Sores and Painful Mouth Several things here; Dental sores seem obvious, but Lichen Planus and Oral Submucous Fibrosis not so much.
Lichen planus is a rash that can affect different parts of your body, including the inside of your mouth. Symptoms include, white patches on your gums, tongue or the insides of your cheeks, burning and stinging in your mouth, especially when you eat or drink. Oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) is an insidious chronic disease affecting any part of the oral cavity and sometimes the pharynx with epithelial atrophy leading to stiffness of the oral mucosa, causing trismus and inability to eat.
Thankfully, I have never had to deal with any of these, but I think I would first get a proper diagnosis, and then take Aloe gel as a mouthwash, swilling it around my mouth, teeth and gums, possibly gargling with it, before spitting it out. I would expect to see a reduction in dental soreness, the rashes and burning mainly.
4. Constipation I'm pretty sure a lot of illness is caused by constipation without the sufferer even realizing it. You see, the body needs regular food and liquid input. It then processes that input to maintain itself. The debris is disgarded. If the waste cannot be removed from the body, toxicity builds up to the point where it can be very dangerous. You start off a little bloated, you might get a stomach ache, or feel sick. Your stools, if you can pass any, may be difficult to push out, hard, dry and lumpy, and larger than usual. You might lack energy, have a headache, become irritable, angry or sad. You may not be hungry and your colon may feel hard and swollen.
All of these are symptoms of constipation. In the old days, people would take the aloin in Aloe (the bitter yellow liquid) which is a potent laxative. But nowadays this is regarded as a bit too harsh because nobody seems to know how to regulate anything and instead of taking the tip of a spoon in some water, they want to drink half a gallon and make themselves even more ill, thus ruining Aloe's reputation for the rest of us.
Aloe gel's best function as a remedy for digestive problems is the lubrication of the intestines and colon, softening stools, increases intestinal water content, stimulates protective mucus secretions and aids intestinal peristalsis. Extract a dessert spoon of gel from the leaf and liquidize it, or dissolve a frozen Aloe cube, add to a glass of warm water and drink.
On a personal note: I am lucky enough to have always been (even prior to taking Aloe) as regular as clockwork, but I am well aware that is not the same for everybody. It is my opinion that there is enough regulatory effect on the digestive tract in just the Aloe gel, that consuming aloin shouldn't be necessary.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) IBS is a chronic condition that affects the digestive system. It can cause people to experience abdominal pain and bloating, excessive flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation. Aloe vera can be useful for treating some of the symptoms associated with IBS, such as the pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Aloes anti-inflammatory properties may also help to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, which can contribute towards IBS symptoms. Trials have shown that Aloe vera can have a positive impact on reducing abdominal pain and flatulence in people with IBS. We know that Aloe vera juice helps soothe and heal an irritated digestive tract, can improve bowel regularity, has a natural detoxifying effect, and helps inhibit unfriendly bacteria and yeast in the gut, and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the entire digestive tract. This should be evidence enough to give it a try for anyone in my opinion.
On a personal note: We have several people taking our Aloe vera cubes for their IBS and swear by it. They take if every day and eliminate many of their symptoms very quickly. On the odd day when they have a flare up, it is only 20-30% of the normal level of discomfort. As I don't have IBS I can only go by what they tell me, but I am very happy that they have finally found something that works for them, because before they went on the Aloe, they had lost all hope of ever finding something that might help.
6. Acid Reflux or Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Now this I do know about! Everytime you eat, the parietal cells in the gastric glands in your stomach secrete hydrochloric acid to break down the food into an even more acidic paste called chyme, which moves from the stomach into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). But that's not the problem, unless, you have insufficient mucus production, when the acid can burn a hole in your stomach lining and give you an ulcer.
The problem is a tear in the diaphragmatic sphincter muscle, called a hiatal hernia, that allows acidic food to pass back up through the oesophagus. Your oesophagus does not have the mucal lining afforded your stomach and so the acid can irritate and burn the side wall of the oesophagus, this causes heart burn, acid reflux, chest pain, acrid taste on the back of the tongue and burning in the throat.
What can Aloe do? Taken as a liquid, it can soothe and repair the damage to the sidewall of the oesophagus, which is effectively a chemical burn injury. It settles the stomach and reduces the overdose of acidity caused by certain foods.
Which is another good point. Don't expect Aloe to do the job all on its own. It won't. Analyze which foods cause you high acid and avoid them whenever possible. Not all these will affect everyone, but these are the usual suspects: alcohol, black pepper, garlic, raw onions, spicy foods, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee and caffeinated drinks, peppermint, tomatoes, corn and potato chips, high-fat butter cookies, brownies, doughnuts, creamy and oily salad dressings, fried or fatty food.
On a personal note: I have a large hiatal hernia in my diaphragm and have suffered with acid reflux for about 30 years. I got this little darling during my building days lifting heavy loads and eating all the wrong foods. My doctor put me on omeprazole and there I stayed for years and years. The easy option I guess, as you aren't supposed to stay on them for that length of time. Anyway, when Jill and I discovered Aloe and started taking it everyday, I noticed I was no longer getting reflux. I stopped taking the Nexium and boy did it come back big time. A good lesson here; don't just quit. The rebound effect can be pretty harsh. So I went back on them and tapered off over a month or so. That was over a year ago and I haven't taken any Nexium since.
Side Tip: In the early days of quitting, it is normal to get a little discomfort as the normal regulation of acid production has not been reset fully. It will, don't worry. I used to drink a glass of water at the first sign. Water is the only thing that doesn't trigger acid production in the stomach, and in theory at least, it should dilute some of the acid, which it seems to do.
7. Ulcerative Colitis Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes irritation, inflammation, tissue damage, fibrosis, and ulcers in the lining of your large intestine (also called your colon), and rectum. It is a long-term condition and people usually have symptoms off and on for life. Small ulcers can develop on the colon's lining, and can bleed and produce pus.
Using Aloe vera to counteract some of the symptoms of this condition utilizes the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and wound healing effects of AV, for tissue repair, digestive regulation and the soothing effect of the gel. As with previous recommendations, administer as a drink.
1. Colon Cleanse and Body Detox We spoke before about how the body can toxify when it can't eliminate waste products and eventually causes illness and disease. Using the cleansing effect of Aloe as it passes through the body, utilizes its lubricating, soothing, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to have a positive effect on the cells and organs. Effectively cleaning the internal pipework and helping to flush impurities from the body. This helps to detoxify and clean the digestive tract.
Unlike many commercial cleansing products that rely on chemical cleaners, Aloe vera is natural, and contains a fabulously rich diversity of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, detoxifying fatty acids, sugars and nutrients, that not only encourage the body to shed the impurities, but to stimulate healing and revitalize the body.
8. Weight Loss Aloe vera is very kind to the body. By that I mean it contains so many elements that the body needs. The similarities to the human body may be why the body seems to be able to absorb and assimilate all the wonderful ingredients that make up the Aloe plant so easily and readily.
Perhaps the most important point that can come from that is the body stores fat to safeguard us from the toxins we ingest every day. When a toxin enters the body, the body has to respond via the immune system and the lymphatic system or your stomach acid, to overcome and eliminate the toxin. Debris and toxic material needs to be eliminated quickly. When that can't happen, perhaps because of congestion in the elimination systems, the body locks up toxins in fat cells, to protect us. That's a very simple way to put it, but essentially that's what happens.
So, if you continue to, knowingly or unknowingly, poison the body (like smoking for example), the resulting toxins need more and more fat to store them away so they can't harm us. It's only when you stop taking in these toxins that the body can clean itself up enough to release the fatty inclusion so the lymph system can deal with it. This stops us becoming overwhelmed.
Using Aloe gel as a cleansing agent helps the body remove the free flowing toxins that are present at the time. Thus, giving the immune system and lymphatic system more room to deal with the stuff we've got stored away and encourage the body to burn fats and carbohydrates. Releasing the fat cells stimulates the metabolic function of the liver to clear the toxicity and allows the body to naturally lose weight.
On a personal note: I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical about this one, because everyone and his dog has a theory about how to lose weight and it gets a bit tiresome after a while. However, that said, since starting to take Aloe on a regular basis, I have lost a good stone. And, it has stayed off. Now, perhaps that is because I am thinking more about the junk that used to go into my body, which I don't do so much of anymore, maybe not. But it seems to have a good effect on the digestive and dietary systems of the body, so I will take what I can from it and chalk it up to good choices.
9. Both Types of Arthritis (Osteo and Rheumatoid) Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body instead of invaders. The key symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is painful inflammation of the joints, whereas osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage joint surfaces wear out and rub against each other, usually beginning in an isolated joint, but can go on to affect other joints.
Both have pain, both display reduced lubrication and both can be inflammed and swollen. Aloe has been known for some time to relieve arthritic pain, osteo in particular.
Aloe vera has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help provide relief from joint pain induced by inflammation and swelling. The soothing effect will help to lubricate the joints and the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties will help keep the joints free of infection. Aloe has plenty of the many essential minerals needed for enzymic reactions in the joints which helps them heal faster. You can either apply aloe vera gel topically on the affected area or take it as a drink.
10. Ulcers There are three types of peptic ulcers: gastric ulcers, oesophageal ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Peptic ulcers are open sores in your digestive system. Gastric ulcers form in the lining of your stomach, duodenal ulcers occur in your duodenum (the first part of your small intestine) and oesophageal ulcers occur in the oesophagus. Symptoms of gastric ulcers include burning stomach pain, nausea, heartburn, intolerance to fatty food and feeling uncomfortably full or bloated.
Aloe vera is very good in helping with all types of ulcers of the internal digestive system, from the mouth to the rectum. Now it may be that a commercial product will work faster in the short term, and, if you are in severe stress with any ulcer, try that first. Aloe is a slightly longer term solution, and if you have time, would be my first choice. Because commercial products go for the juggler and kill the acid that causes or irritates the ulcer. We call that a cure. But really it's not. In a little while, the problem returns, even more strongly and we start all over again, fighting fire with ant-acid.
Aloe is a longer term solution because it helps the body regulate the very things that cause the ulcer in the first place. Internally take as a drink as described above.
10a. External leg ulcers There are lots of reasons for a leg ulcer, and to be honest, as I have lymph oedema in my left leg following a break 20 odd years ago, I find I am a bit paranoid about scratching it, hitting it or breaking the skin in any way, because of the liklihood of the damaged skin ulcerating and taking months to heal. Therefore I use Aloe gel asap whenever I injure my leg and find it heals up very quickly.
There are many, many reasons to have weeping, infected leg ulcers looked at by a professional first. They will advise against using Aloe, almost to a man. There are a few more enlightened individuals who realize Aloe vera does not have any side effects and does not lead to drug resistance, but not many. And, it may not help patients suffering from uncontrolled diabetes, but that shouldn't stop them trying.
Aloe vera gel is highly effective in the treatment of chronic ulcers and stimulates the growth of wound healing. It is widely known for its antibacterial and rapid skin-healing properties. Apply Aloe gel to the affected area and cover with a bandage to allow the healing properties to infuse into the skin and exposed tissue.
To help your ulcer heal more quickly, keep active by walking regularly if possible. Sitting and standing still without elevating your legs can make venous leg ulcers and swelling worse. Whenever you're sitting or lying down, keep your affected leg elevated. Most ulcer problems resist healing because of circulatory issues that deny the delivery of immune system antibiotics, killer cells, oxygen and nutrients that the cells need to heal themselves.
Infected leg ulcers are major health problems resulting in morbidity and disability and are usually chronic and stubborn to antimicrobial treatment. Aloe Vera has antibacterial activity against multi-drug resistant organisms and promotes wound healing. If this needs to be in conjunction with modern anti-biotics taken internally, then this shouldn't negate the benefits of Aloe gel applied externally. I hope it doesn't get to the point where you have to make difficult choices. So start early and heal before it gets too serious.
Special Note: I know of a lot of people who take their Aloe gel as pure gel scooped from the leaf, chew it up and swallow. I don't advocate this, for two reasons.
1.) IF, and I do mean, IF, you have a reaction, small or large, you have taken the gel in its strongest form. The question is; is a reaction more or less likely when taken this way? It is my opinion, and just MY opinion, to first ask the question, 'why take the risk?'
2.) It matters not how you take your medication. Whether its a small low dose aspirin, or a strong, high dose Co-codamol or tramadol. What's the advice that goes with it? Take with plenty of water. Why? To water it down? No. To make it transport into the digestive system and blood stream, to make it get to where it's going in the shortest time. So whether you take our frozen cubes of Aloe gel, or order vacuum packed leaves to extract your own gel, my advice is to water it down and make it into a drink, so that the body can assimilate it in the best way possible.