Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that is widely distributed throughout parts of Africa, Asia and in India as well. There are many species of this herbal remedy and it is well acclaimed as a treatment of many diseases.
Aloe Vera is a plant that can grow up to be between 60 and 100 cm long. The leaves of the Aloe Vera plant are thick and fleshy, and usually appear to be green to light green in color. Aloe Vera flowers are produced by mature plants and are usually found to be in bloom during the summer months; the flowers are pendulous with yellow tubules.
The Aloe Vera extract has been well regarded as an herbal remedy to heal burns, skin infections and even minor skin disorders. Aloe Vera preparations are a treatment for diabetes and many experts believe that the presence of compounds like polysaccharides, anthraquinuones and lectins give Aloe Vera its therapeutic properties.
History and Origin
The name Aloe Vera originated from the Arabic word ‘alloeh’ which means bitter; this has been so named because of the bitter liquid or extract that is found when the leaves are harvested. There are over 500 species of the Aloe plant and many people around the world have benefited from the health giving properties that this herbal remedy has.
In ancient times, the Aloe Vera has been used by African tribes in treating skin conditions and was regarded as the “Lily of the Desert”. It was also used by African hunters and headsmen as a gel to reduce perspiration and to mask their scent while hunting. Egyptians used Aloe Vera to treat burns, skin infections and intestinal parasites.
The Aloe Vera plant is well researched during modern times and it has been found that it is made of 95% water and the rest is composed of essential oils, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which are essential in healing wounds and burns. Aloe Vera juice is used to treat irritations of the digestive tract especially abdominal pain, gastric upset and peptic ulcers. Aloe Vera is also a food supplement that can help aid blood circulation and keep lymphatic circulation healthy. It also helps aid digestion and treats gall bladder dysfunctions. Most of the parts of the plant of the Aloe Vera can be used as an herbal remedy but it is the leaves of the Aloe Vera that is widely used in many Aloe Vera preparations. An extract is used by drying and grinding the leaves of the Aloe Vera. The juice however is made of the inner leaf of the plant.
There are no known side effects in the use of Aloe Vera preparations provided that the aloin content in this herbal remedy is completely processed. Taking Aloe Vera supplements however is contraindicated in pregnant and nursing mothers.
If you wish to use Aloe Vera extracts and supplements for your illness, it is best to consult your doctor for the appropriate dose of Aloe Vera for you. There may be adverse drug reactions when used together with your current medication so it is best to consult your doctor first regarding this.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan