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Botanical Agents

Aloe

13 years, 9 months ago

2184  0
Posted on Dec 30, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Aloe Vera plant is native to North Africa. Aloes have been used all over the world throughout the ages for their various medicinal properties. Manufacturers sell the transparent gel from the plant

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

The Aloe Vera plant is native to North Africa. Aloes have been used all over the world throughout the ages for their various medicinal properties. Manufacturers sell the transparent gel from the plant’s leaf as a topical remedy; they also process it into "juice" and pills, which are taken internally for gastrointestinal benefits or as a tonic (a substance that works to balance the body’s systems instead of addressing a specific ailment). For topical use, aloe gels work well on sunburn, rashes, and other minor irritations (look for products containing 95 to 100% pure aloe). Aloe-based ointments and sprays are also available for other skin traumas. Aloe for internal use comes in liquids, tablets, and capsules.

ROLE FOR ANTI-AGING:

The gel of the aloe leaf contains several chemicals, a polysaccharide, enzymes, nutrients, and other compounds that seem to fight bacteria and fungi, reduce inflammation and encourage wound healing. Furthermore, aloeride and acemannan, two isolated compounds in the gel of the aloe leaf, have been shown to stimulate the immune system and improve skin healing time. Research carried out by Okyar et al in 2001 revealed that aloe leaf gel extract could be useful in the treatment of non-insulin dependent (Type II) diabetes mellitus.

THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT: Check product labels for dosage recommendations

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL:

Aloe juice products for oral consumption are generally considered safe, although drinking more than a pint a day may lead to diarrhea.

SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS:

Gel preparations used topically have not been associated with side effects. Products made from the plant’s latex can cause side effects such as intestinal cramping due to their laxative effect. Because of these side effects, the latex form of aloe should not be used by elderly people, children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and anyone with inflammatory intestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or appendicitis.

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