A ton of households in the world have a healing powerhouse plant on the window sill. It is the oldest medicinal plant on record and is sometimes referred to as “Lily of the Dessert.” Originating in Northern Africa, probably Sudan, Aloe Vera can grow 60 to 100 centimeters. This gives the succulent the potential to be taller than me! That is huge. ,
It is widely known to be of benefit to the skin (it makes an exceptional masque), especially when sunburn occurs, but aloe supplies other benefits some people may not know about.
Aloe and the gut
We know the juicy insides of the aloe leaves can be good for the skin, but it is also good for an irritated gut. Studies show it can decrease stomach acid secretions (Keshavarzi, Z., Rezapour, T. M., Vatanchian, M., Zare, M., Nabizade, H., Izanlu, M., . . . Shahveisi, K. (2014, March). The effects of aqueous extract of Aloe vera leaves on the gastric acid secretion and brain and intestinal water content following acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer in male rats. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050311)
Think of it as a cooling gel pulling inflammation for the G.I. tract walls. With this pulling of inflammation, it also does some detoxifying. People suffering from hot, swollen conditions may want to consider giving aloe a whirl. This can result in a somewhat laxative effect. So if that is an issue for you, you may want to decrease how much you are using or discontinue use.
Aloe is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It contains the vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and B12 (rare in plants). Twenty minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese are contained in the spiny-edged, stemless leaves. The enzymes in aloe (Aliiase, Alkaline phosphatase, Amylase, Bradykinase, Carboxypeptidase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Peroxidase) help to break down sugars and fats. Bradykinase, specifically, reduces inflammation (See the section above). These components make aloe a very nutritive plant.
Anthraquinones are present in Aloe, but just in the juice. Anthraquinones have analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. They can be toxic, but they are in just the right quantities to be okay in Aloe. If I am planning on consuming aloe vera juice, I prefer to use it in a prepackaged supplement from a company with a superb, complex quality control department and standards of procedure to ensure safety.
In one study I read, aloe was successfully used against H. pylori (a bacteria strain often implicated in gastric ulcers) in in-vitro studies.( Cellini, L., Di, S., Di, E., Genovese, S., Locatelli, M., & Di, M. (2014, July). In vitro activity of Aloe vera inner gel against Helicobacter pylori strains. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24597562)
The results are very promising and combine aloe’s benefit for the gut and the immune system.
When I was growing up, my grandma was a huge proponent of Aloe. Every time I break off a leaf of my giant alow plant at home, I can’t help but feel she is happy with my choice.