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Home > Research Department  > Supplement Articles > Aloe Vera
    Supplement Articles  
ALOE VERA
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
Last Updated: September 24th, 2015

Tired of indigestion and heart burn after meals?

ALOE VERA

Aloe is an excellent healing plant.

Most of us are familiar with the use of Aloe on sunburns, but did you know that you can use it internally as well? Aloe Vera is actually one of the best herbs to soothe your digestive tract. Aloe Vera is a succulent (cactus-like) plant whose inner sap has been used as an herbal medicine for thousands of years. If you break open an aloe leaf you will find a clear jelly-like substance inside that can be used both externally on the skin and internally to help your digestion.

Used medicinally for over 5000 years, it's known for its calming effects on your digestive system. If you have digestive upset, like bloating, gas, and heartburn or GERD, you would benefit from taking Aloe Vera because it soothes the lining of your digestive tract. Those with chronic digestive conditions such as ulcers and colitis would greatly benefit from aloe's healing properties. It reduces inflammation in your digestive system, so it helps with the pain and discomfort that accompanies many digestive conditions. So if you suffer from any intestinal inflammation, digestive upset, or acid reflux, Aloe Vera can be a very helpful herb for you.

How does it do all this?
Aloe Vera gel is known as a demulcent. It contains a high content of mucilage which helps soothe and protect irritated or inflamed internal tissues of the body. The discomfort felt with many digestive complaints is often the result of irritation to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract that usually results in inflammation. The mucilage content of Aloe Vera helps support the mucous lining of our digestive tract so irritation and inflammation are reduced. In doing this, many digestive complaints can be totally resolved.

When the plant is harvested, the juice located in, and just beneath, the outer skin contains a far greater concentration of a constituent called aloin, which can create a laxative effect in the body. This substance is called the latex. In fact, many over the counter laxatives in North America contain this ingredient. Thus, Aloe juice is a laxative that can be used for Constipation and as a colon cleanser. The gel does not contain as much of a laxative effect and is more commonly used for its soothing properties. Those using Aloe internally should be careful about the preparation they use, in order to ensure that they get the desired effects without any unwanted side effects. This is especially true in cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, where an irritating laxative can do more harm than good. Read labels carefully to ensure that you are purchasing the form of Aloe that your particular case requires.

Other Uses for Aloe Vera

External Use - Skin
Aloe Vera gel has been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties. When it is used externally it speeds the healing of many types of skin burns, including those from sun, radiation, chemicals and heat. It can also help to reduce the discomfort associated with these conditions, when applied soon after the trauma. Although it does not directly protect against sun damage, Aloe can help to prevent skin cancer after exposure by blocking certain pro-cancer pathways in the affected cells. Aloe vera has also been shown useful when used topically to treat: cuts, insect stings or bites, acne, poison ivy, skin ulcers (including diabetic ulcers) and eczema. There is some evidence that topical application can help to reduce outbreaks of genital herpes and psoriasis as well.

Cosmetic
Aloe Vera contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberenllins. These two hormones have the ability to help reduce inflammation and speed the healing of skin, and is commonly added to face washes to help treat acne. Aloe is often used in a wide variety of cosmetic and skin-care products as a gentle antibacterial moisturizer. Many men will use aloe vera gel as an after shave to help soothe the skin and treat small cuts caused from shaving. Aloe also contains beta carotene, vitamin C, and E which are considered to be helpful in keeping the skin firm and hydrated. It has been widely approved around the world as a natural food additive. 

Antibacterial and Antifungal
Because of its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, Aloe vera gel is commonly used to protect damaged tissue from infection. It can also be used to topically treat minor Skin Infections such as boils, and Tinea infections.  When taken internally it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties act to heal the inner lining of the digestive tract, making it useful in the treatment of ulcers, hemorrhoids and colitis.  

Blood Sugar and Fats
There is some initial evidence that Aloe may help to improve blood sugar control in diabetics, and can also help to lower blood lipid levels in people suffering from hyperlipidemia. This effect is also seen in those with acute liver disease. More research needs to be completed to determine if it is effective.

How can I get Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is often recommended for those suffering with acid reflux, ulcers, or any inflammatory bowel condition. Aloe Vera can be taken as a gel or powder in capsules or in liquid form as a juice. In capsule form the dose is 200-300mg 1-3 times daily with meals. And liquid form is taken 1-2oz, 1 – 3 times a day. Aloe Vera is frequently combined with DGL (deglycerinated licorice), probiotics, and L-glutamine which all help with inflammation in the gut and optimize digestive health. Be sure to take oral Aloe away from other supplements and medications as it can affect their absorption.

So if you have problems with your digestive system such as indigestion, acid reflux, ulcers, colitis, or GERD, you may want to try Aloe Vera. Many cultures of the world have used Aloe Vera for thousands of years to heal and support these areas of your body.

Aloe Vera– QUICK FACTS

PARTS USED

·  Juice and gel.

APPLICATIONS

·  Constipation, slow wound healing.

OPTIMUM DOSAGE

·  Externally - gel containing a minimum of 70% aloe vera, Internally – no standard dosing. (Clinical doses may be higher as recommended by your practitioner).

WORKS WELL WITH

·  Psyllium husks.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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· Be sure to take oral Aloe away from other supplements and medication as it may block their absorption.

·  Aloe dried exudate is not the same thing as Aloe vera gel.

·  Excess Aloe can result in diarrhea.

·  Pregnant and lactating women should use caution as effects are not yet studied.
For informational purposes only. Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2015.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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