Aloe

Latin name: Herba aloes
Chinese name: lu hui

What is Aloe?
Native to Africa, aloe is common in South Africa’s Cape Province and the mountains of tropical Africa, as well as neighboring areas such as Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, and the islands off Africa.

The terms “gel” and “juice” is not clearly defined by manufacturers and is often confused by consumers. Aloe vera gel is the leaf pulp–the thin, clear, jelly-like substance that makes up the inner portion of the leaves. Aloe juice is a bitter yellow liquid extracted from just inside the leaves. Both the translucent gel and yellow juice are used externally to relieve skin discomforts and internally as a laxative.

What are the health benefits of Aloe?
In traditional Chinese medicine, aloe juice is used internally to promote healthy function of the stomach, to treat chronic constipation, and to help with childhood nutritional disorders due to roundworm and ringworm. Aloe juice is generally used internally. In high doses, aloe is used as a laxative to empty the bowels. It is used in low doses to help heal ulcers and other irritations of the gastrointestinal tract.

Aloe has antiseptic and antibiotic properties that make it very effective topically for treating cuts and abrasions. Aloe is commonly used to treat first- and second-degree burns, sunburns, eczema, as well as poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac infections.

How do I prepare Aloe to get the health benefits?

Aloe plants are easy to grow and will multiply as long as they have good light and drainage. When using the fresh plant, cut off a lower leaf near the central stalk. Next, cut off the spines along the edge, split the leaf lengthwise, dig out the gel with the point of a knife, and apply it directly to the inflamed, irritated, or burned skin. It will provide fast, soothing relief. For internal use on the gastrointestinal tract, try one teaspoon of aloe vera juice after meals. You can also use fresh gel, mashed up in a little fruit juice, or any commercial aloe juice that is pure.

Aloe vera capsules are usually made of aloe juice in a freeze-dried form inserted into hard gelatin capsules. Check with the manufacturer for the exact ingredients, and when buying aloe products, be sure to look for 100% pure aloe vera.

Where can I find Aloe?

You can buy aloe products in drugstores and health food stores.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.