Aloe Vera –
The Plant of Immortality
known as the “lily of the desert” or the “medicine plant”, the name Aloe was
derived from the Arabic name “alloeh” meaning bitter because of the bitter
liquid that is found in the leaves. There are over 500 species of the Aloe
plant in the world and it was used for many years by the Ancient Greeks,
Arabs and Spaniards.
The plant is made up of about 96% water. The rest of it contains active
ingredients including essential oil, amino acids, minerals, vitamins,
enzymes and glycoproteins. Aloe Vera gel is a mixture of an antibiotic,
coagulating agent, pain inhibitor and a growth stimulator (also called a
"wound hormone"), whose function is to accelerate the healing of injured
The extract is made by pulverizing the whole leaves of the plant. The Aloe
juice is made from the inner leaf and the gel which is a thin, clear,
jellylike substance is squeezed or scraped from the inner part of the fleshy
leaf and sold commercially in tube form.
Research has shown that the gel has an amazing ability to heal wounds,
ulcers and burns by adding a protective coat to the affected areas and
speeding up the healing rate. Aloe's healing powers come from increasing the
availability of oxygen to the skin, and by facilitating the synthesis and
strength of tissue. In addition, Aloe Vera gel is used to treat minor
surface irritations and allergies, acne, eczema, minor burns, sunburn, to
reduce psoriasis symptoms, to lessen the painful effects of shingles, and to
shrink warts. It even has a reputation as a beauty aid and is believed to
have anti-aging properties.
The liquid form of the plant can be drunk to soothe digestive tract
irritations such as colitis and peptic ulcers and safeguard the body against
ulcers. Aloe contains at least three anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are
beneficial for the stomach, small intestine and colon. It naturally
alkalizes digestive juices to prevent over acidity, which is a common cause
of indigestion. Bitter aloes can be taken to treat constipation, but should
not be taken by those suffering from kidney disease of haemorrhoids.
As a food supplement, Aloe is said to support blood and lymphatic
circulation, as well as kidney, liver and gall bladder functions.