The Healing Wonders Of Aloe Vera (2)
THE Healing Values Of Aloe Latex (Sap) Or Bitter Aloe Powder
THE Aloe latex (sap) or the “bitter aloe powder” contains compounds known as the anthraquinone glycosides (aloin and aloe-emodin), which are known to be responsible the cathartic (strong laxative), stomachic, peristaltic, cholagogue, analgesic, antibiotic, emetic and emmenagogue properties.
One to two teaspoons of the fresh sap can be taken directly in a glass of warm water for the treatment of constipation and to stimulate bile flow.
However, because of the nauseating bitter taste, aloe powder is given in capsule form. Dosage: 0.01-0.6 gram (as mild laxative) or 1.0 to 1.5 g (as drastic or very strong purgative).
Aloe latex (sap) or the “bitter aloe powder” is also used in the treatment of liver, gall-bladder and spleen disease, headaches and menstrual disorders (to increase menstrual flow when the period is scanty and very dark in colour) and to expels intestinal worms.
Aloe sap or powder has been found to be non-toxic in any way. However, because of its high content of anthraquinone, it causes stomach gripping after about eight to 12 hours of intake before causing the bowels to move.
To reduce the stomach gripping effects of aloe powder, it is usually combined with carminative (gas expelling herbs)-like ginger, thyme, fennel, turmeric, peppermint, sage, etc- or other herbs that have antispasmodic effects.
A long-term oral use of aloe sap (latex) or aloe powder, like any other laxative, can be addictive and can also cause loss of electrolytes, especially potassium, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.
The anthraquinone glycosides are strong laxative and can equally cause uterine contractions.
Therefore, the use of aloe sap (latex) or aloe powder should be avoided in early pregnancy or when there is a heavy uterine bleeding.
It should not be given to children and the very old people.
Aloe Vera Gel
AS we noted in Part 1 of this article, the succulent leaf of Aloe Vera contains two different fluids- the aloe sap (latex) and the colourless and mucilaginous inner gel, known as Aloe Vera gel or the juice of Aloe Vera.
This clear Aloe Vera gel is the main active portion of the plant that is responsible for the broad spectrum healing properties of the plant.
The gel has a slightly bitter taste and is most effective therapeutically when obtained fresh from an Aloe Vera plant. Fresh Aloe Vera gel oxidises and losses its potency easily when it is exposed to the atmospheric air. Therefore, for commercial purposes, the fresh gel must be stabilised before it is incorporated into skin creams, lotions, sunscreens, ointments and other cosmetics.
Scientific analyses have shown that the gel of Aloe Vera consists of about 50 per cent water, which is in union with 75 nutrients and over 200 active ingredients, such as wound healing hormones, organic steroids, saponins, antibiotic principles, salicylic acid, biogenic stimulations, tannins, etc.
It contains complex and simple carbohydrates, glycoproteins and polysaccharides, enzymes.
Out of the eight amino acids that are “essential” to the human body, Aloe Vera contains seven of them and 11 out of the 14 remaining amino acids that the body can produce.
It also contains more than 30 known vitamins, including A, C, E, and the various group B-vitamins.
In addition, there are over 20 minerals and trace elements present in the gel, including zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, numerous antioxidants, flavonoids, six natural antiseptics and other yet unknown plytochemicals and health augmentors.
ANTACID, antimicrobial (anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-septic, anthelmintic), analgesic, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, anti-diabetic, anti-pyretic, astringent, aphrodisiac, antidandruff, alterative; diuretic, demulcent, emollient, healing, laxative, hepatoprotective purgative, immune system stimulant, sedative, nutritive tonic, rejuvenative skin toner, vermifuge, vulnerary, etc.
Fresh Aloe Vera gel for internal consumption is prepared as follows: Two to three tablespoonful of the fresh Aloe Vera gel can be can be taken directly or be mixed with a glass of water or any fruit juice and be taken up to three times daily.
Alternatively, two fresh leaves of the matured Aloe Vera can be cut into small pieces and soaked in about 1.5 liters of pure drinking water in suitable container for about three hours to allow the healing ingredient of the herb to leach into the water. Then half (½) a glass of this is sieved and taken orally two or three times daily.
The preparation is discarded in about three to four days after adding more water every day to replace the quantity taken.
After this period, the bitter taste is faded and the whole extract becomes slimy.
Different brands of commercially stabilised Aloe Vera gel are available in most health shops.
Medicinal Uses Of Aloe Vera
IN herbal medicine, Aloe Vera gel, with its various constituents, is considered as a nutritive herbal tonic.
The intake of the juice of Aloe Vera is one of the best nutritional supplements. It is “multi-vitamin/mineral” per excellence, which helps in promoting general wellbeing.
Aloe Vera gel restores nutritional deficiencies and disorders and stimulates appetite.
It restores vitality and energy, especially in conditions of debility or restoring the energy levels of some organs that are weakened by diseases.
In the ancient times, Aloe Vera gel was known as an elixir of long life (longevity).
Stress is now known to upset the inner harmony and the glandular systems, giving rise to all kinds of diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, endocrine insufficiency, peptic ulcers, etc.
The regular intake of Aloe Vera juice in either raw or stabilised form is one of the best ways of strengthening the body’s own innate defense, mechanisms against stress.
Aloe Vera is very rich in all the anti-stress vitamins (i.e. the B-groups). It is now very popular in the management of any form of stress associated with modern lifestyle.
The gel will help to restore inner calmness when it is combined with deep breathing exercises, warm bath, massages and listening to good and soul uplifting classical music.
Regular intake of Aloe Vera gel helps in overcoming headaches, migraine headaches, convulsions (adult and infantile), dizziness, nervous tension, anxiety neurosis, irritability and insomnia, when these are due to inner agitation.
The ancient people believe that the intake if Aloe Vera juice is an effective tranquilizer that relaxes the nerves. They believed that taking gel daily helps to “clarify the spirit of the insane” and clears the head and brings wisdom.
It is also an elixir of long life that promotes general wellbeing.
In the book, ‘Aloe Vera” The health and Healing Plant,’ published n 1995 by Apopitegme, Ed. Maykut and Mare Swhweizer, it was noted that Christopher Columbus once said: “Four vegetable are indispensable for the well-being of man: wheat, the grape, the olive and Aloe.
“The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit, the third brings him harmony and the fourth cures him.”