Aloe Vera: The Wonder Plant
Aloe Vera is another product that can have a dramatic effect on your health and wellness. As we move through modern times with all of the different drugs that are affecting our health both positively and negatively, we need to pay more attention to what nature has provided us in the way of natural remedies for healing.
Even drug manufacturers are aware of natural plants like Aloe Vera and their healing properties. Did you know that 60% of the drugs produced by the mega pharmaceutical companies had their origins in plants? The synthesized versions produced by these companies for profit are never as effective as the real thing, it’s only about how much profit can be had.
For our ancestors, effectiveness determined aloe vera’s use. Today, science is validating its healing properties. The Aloe plant is, incredibly, 99% to 99.5% water! All the power of the plant is in that tiny one to one-half percent! I think that’s amazing! If you think about our body and cells relative to size and percentage, it takes 10,000 of our cells to fit on the head of a pin, and each cell is composed of trillions of molecules! Water acts as a carrier for those potent nutrients. The solid material of the aloe plant contains over 75 different ingredients, all important in holistic healing including:
• Amino acids;
• Salicylic acid;
• Biological sugars.
That’s a LOT packed into such a small percentage! Aloe vera contains most of the major vitamins, except vitamin D, but it does include all of the important antioxidant vitamins A, C, and beta-carotene (Vitamin A). The B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, choline and folic acid are also present.
As many as 13 of the 17 minerals necessary for human nutrition have been found in aloe vera, including:
• Sulfur and,
The presence of magnesium may explain aloe vera’s facility for soothing itchiness. As people who suffer with allergies know, a substance called histamine is released in many allergic reactions. Magnesium inhibits the formation of histamine.
When taken orally, several of the enzymes found in aloe, such as amylase and lipase, aid digestion by breaking down sugars and fats. Another important enzyme produces an anti-inflammatory effect. This adds to aloe vera’s reputation for pain relief, and it can easily be a part of a healthy diet.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our body needs 22 amino acids to build the proteins it needs. Of these, eight are called “essential amino acids”, because (like vitamins), our body cannot synthesize them. Instead, we must get them from food. Amazingly, aloe vera is a rich source of amino acids, providing 20 of the 22 necessary amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
This is a long word for important phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) found in the yellow sap of the aloe vera plant. In large amounts, these compounds have a laxative effect. In smaller amounts, they appear to stimulate digestive secretions, bile flow, and the upper digestive system as a whole. Secondly, anthraquinones are potent antimicrobial agents, especially toxic to Shigella dysenteriae (the well known dysentery causing bacillus) and to Staphylococci (cause of staph infections).
Sterols (natural plant compounds) are the secret to aloe vera’s cholesterol lowering potential. This capacity has been known for over 50 years. Plant sterols are essential components of plant cell membranes and resemble cholesterol. Sterols inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine by up to 50%. In turn, this can lower LDL cholesterol by 14% or more. See Dietary Fat for more information. I work with a company that uses organically based plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish to effectively lower cholesterol. There are no pop-ups or "follow cookies". When you get to the site, click on "your health" at the top of the page. And, if you like what you see, or have questions, contact me, through the site, for more details. Go to this link for more information.
Salicylic acid is an aspirin-like compound possessing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Used topically, it helps wounds to heal more quickly without scarring. Lignin found in all plants (and different than lignan, the fiber in flaxseed) is an inert woody substance that gives topical aloe vera preparations their singular ability to penetrate to the dermis, carrying other active ingredients deep into the skin. Last, saponins are soapy substances with antiseptic properties.
Aloe vera contains biological sugars. These are not ordinary sugars, these are the types of sugars that are essential to life. They are structural components of our cells, involved in cell to cell communication. Each of our cells is coated with eight essential sugar communicators. Without them, cellular communication is greatly compromised.
Individual sugars are called saccharides. In nature, they hook together in chains as polysaccharides (poly means “many”).
Currently, the main focus of aloe vera research is a group of polysaccharides called mannose (or mannan). Mannose is one of the eight essential sugars. Research on the functions explains aloe’s healing properties more than any other single constituent.
Mannose molecules occur in many lengths, weights, and sizes called chains. The varying sizes determine healing properties. Like pearls in a necklace, ranging from short strands with small pearls to very long heavy strands with large pearls, the heavier and longer the polymannose chain, the more biologically valuable its function in the body.
A general breakdown of the chains:
• Short chain: These chains reduce the inflammation involved in such diseases as ulcerative colitis, arthritis and gastric reflux. They also help to reduce blood sugar in both types I and II diabetes.
• Medium chain: Functioning within the cell as effective antioxidants, these chains protect us against ever increasing pollution and the loss of nutrients from food while maintaining cellular communication.
• Large chain: Large chains have a direct antibacterial and anti-viral effect. They are important to treating both new infectious diseases and older ones that are resistant to antibiotics.
• Very large chain: The “big pearl” molecules are immune modulating and have a powerful healing effect on AIDS, cancer, and many immune system disorders.
Well, at one time, polymannans were once readily available in our diet. Eating wheat, rice, and other produce supplied our needs. In the last 50 years, farming practices and food processing have caused a loss of nutrients in our food, so we no longer have a healthy diet. Even when products are organic, it is difficult to eat enough to meet our mannose requirement. One way to supplement our diet and increase our mannose intake is to take an aloe vera supplement or drink.
Mannose stimulates and greatly enhances your immune system. According to a 1988 study published in the Journal of Immunopharmacology, mannans are involved in the following functions:
• They activate white blood cells;
• Stimulate communication between immune cells;
• Stimulate bone marrow activity (where some immune cells are formed);
• Enhance TNF release (tumor necrosis factor), producing an anti-tumor effect, helping to destroy abnormal cells;
• Anti-viral and helpful in the treatment of AIDS;
• Counteracts the immune-suppressing effects of ultra violet B exposure (sun burn).
Aloe vera’s effects on skin and on wound healing have been recognized for thousands of years. According to James Duke, PhD., studies since the 1930’s have shown that aloe vera:
• Speeds the healing of burns, wounds, frostbite, and other skin conditions;
• Relieves itching, pain and swelling from all kinds of rashes including heat rash, diaper rash, poisonous plant rashes (like poison ivy), hives, scabies, ringworm, and athletes foot;
• Is approved for use with oral ulcers/canker sores;
• Helps with cold sores, herpes virus, gingivitis;
Beyond all of this, studies have shown that aloe vera can provide extremely effective treatment for psoriasis. A 1996 year-long, double-blind small study of 60 people with psoriasis found that applying a .05% aloe vera cream 3 times daily eliminated symptoms in 86% of the cases.
Aloe vera’s capacity to penetrate to the dermis of the skin, bringing nutrients and removing toxins, is behind its speedy and impressive healing ability. Not surprisingly, aloe brings relief to dry skin, and is found in many lotions and moisturizers.
Studies at the Linus Pauling Institute show that six ounces of aloe vera juice taken three times daily increases protein digestion and absorption, decreases bowel putrefaction, improves intestinal pH, and should be a part of a healthy diet.
Aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory properties are soothing to mucous membranes and have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in the digestive tract, and be very effective as a natural remedy. The mucous lining of the gastro-intestinal tract resembles the skin. The same phytochemicals that soothe our skin can soothe our insides. Food allergy relief is another benefit of healing the gut lining.
Other areas of benefit from aloe vera, are improvement of the intestinal tract. According to the editors of The sensitive Gut: A Harvard Medical School Book (2001), aloe is recommended for functional dyspepsia (indigestion with no known cause) and garden variety indigestion. Other sources site it for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and leaky gut.
Aloe vera is particularly impressive as an antioxidant. Not only does it contribute antioxidants to our system, thus helping our health, but it stimulates our body to engage its own antioxidant system. This internal system and the antioxidants we ingest from food provide our best protection against internal toxins and exposure to pollutants.
All in all, you really cannot go wrong including products like aloe vera as a part of a healthy diet. Your health is your responsibility, no one else’s. If you allow the junk food industry to be a significant part of your diet, it will come back to haunt you later in life as your body becomes diseased. At that point, you are no longer controlled by the junk food industry, you are then controlled even more so by the drug industry..for the rest of your uncomfortable life.
If we simply read, study, and become informed about what we are eating, what drugs we take so easily, without giving a thought to their side effects, what we are doing for fitness and exercise, we will become true stewards of our lives, and be able to live a fuller life in good health. In the end, it’s all about health and wellness.