Aloe vera: A cure all?

Found in many homes and yards here in the Southwest, the aloe vera plant, is brimming with healthful benefits.

by Becky (R.L.) Coffield — 

Who has not reached for aloe vera lotion or gel to ease the pain of a burn? This amazing plant’s medicinal properties extend well beyond being a balm for burns, however. Found in many homes and yards here in the Southwest, the aloe vera plant, actually an herb, is brimming with healthful benefits. The best aloe vera is that which you can grow yourself, free from pesticides and damaging processing.

Packed with numerous phytochemicals and nutrients, aloe vera may truly be nature’s best gift. When the gel from the stalks is extricated, it can be added to food or liquids and taken internally. This amazing gel is reputed to boost immune function, destroy cancer tumors, halt inflammation and stabilize blood sugar. And that is just for starters.

It is also said to lower cholesterol, relieve joint pain and cure ulcers and numerous ailments in the digestive tract, from acid indigestion and reflux to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and basically all colon problems. Two ounces of the juice taken once daily, mixed with water or a small amount of fruit juice, is enough to calm acidic stomachs and regulate many digestive disorders which seem to be the plague of modern living.

Cancer patients often find relief from radiation burns by using aloe vera gel topically, and gum disease can be alleviated by using it in powder form. It can also help people with varicose veins and skin cancer, and can be used in the treatment of AIDS.

The list goes on: it is reputed to prevent kidney stones, reduce high blood pressure and alkalize the body to combat acidic eating habits.

Unfortunately, most commercially available forms of aloe vera are adulterated to some degree, due to additives and heating, often rendering it weak and ineffective.

Not everyone will be willing or able to slice off and prepare their own stalk of aloe every day, so it is important to find a reputable brand if one is going to buy the juice or gel.


Becky (R.L.) Coffield is an award-winning freelance writer and the author of One Pot Galley Gourmet, You Can Conquer TMJ: Ideas and Recipes, Northern Escape and Life Was a Cabaret.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 3, June/July 2008.

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