Traditional Japanese Healing Arts Articles

Remarkable Properties of Aloe Vera

In traditional Chinese Medicine, the inner gel of the Aloe plant is a considered an excellent yin tonic, meaning that it helps to nourish, moisten and balance all the tissues and is suitable for all body types. Below are some of the remarkable health benefits of Aloe Vera gel.

Inflammation in the body is a subtle but insidious killer. Inflammation in the G.I. tract can impair digestion and nutritional absorption. Inflammation in the nervous system can lead to MS and in the brain, can lead to Alzheimer's disease. Inflammation in the arteries is a major factor leading to heart disease and stroke. Inflammation in the lungs or bronchial tubes can result in asthma. Inflammation in the skin shows up as eczema, psoriasis, hives or acne. Over the course of time, the damage from inflammation is perhaps the single greatest health risk that we face. Because Aloe Vera has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it is a valuable herb with a wide range of therapeutic applications.

Aloe Vera is excellent for inflammation of the skin or the mucous membranes. It is especially good for inflammation in the G.I. tract, for conditions such as ulcers, GERD (acid reflux or heartburn), gastro-enteritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's and Colitis) and hemorrhoids. In addition, Aloe Vera is beneficial for inflammation of the urinary bladder, making it an excellent herbal remedy for interstitial cystitis.

Aloe Vera is beneficial for cardio-vascular disease as it helps to lower blood cholesterol and clear the arteries over time. Aloe is also helpful for diabetes as it helps to normalize blood sugar and lower the need for insulin. Aloe is a wonderful liver tonic and in some parts of the world is used for acute or chronic hepatitis or other liver problems. And, Aloe is an excellent tonic for the female reproductive organs and is often used to reduce the symptoms associated with menopause. Finally, Aloe Vera acts as an immune modulator by boosting production of immune factors and reducing immune hypersensitivity.

Recent scientific research has shown that long chain polysaccharides, which are abundant in Aloe Vera, help in the formation of glycoforms which are extremely important for good health on a cellular level. Like tiny hairs or antennae on the surface of cells, glycoforms allow the cells to recognize, communicate and coordinate their work with one another. Some pharmaceutical companies are now trying to manufacture polysaccharides in order to treat a number of health conditions. By simply taking Aloe Vera, we can get these same polysaccharides, synergistically combined by Mother Nature, with dozens of other nutritional and medicinal factors.

In addition to providing all the health benefits mentioned above, Aloe Vera is remarkably safe for children and adults. Reference books on herbal medicine give purified Aloe Vera gel the lowest possible rating for toxicity.

Many people believe they have used Aloe Vera when in fact, they have probably used a product which contains very few active Aloe ingredients. The nutritional and medicinal properties in Aloe are extremely fragile and begin to breakdown within 2 or 3 hours after the leaves are cut. For this reason, the plant must be processed quickly in order to filter out the bitter sap (which contains aloin and aloe emodin) and stabilize the important medicinal properties. Many companies do not process the Aloe plant correctly and for this reason, much of the commercial Aloe Vera on the market today is practically worthless. Or, if the aloin and aloe emodin are not completely removed, the resulting product can cause diarrhea or intestinal cramps.

The best way to take Aloe Vera is in a liquid or capsule concentrate. There are several companies that make high quality Aloe Vera concentrates and below are four that I have come to trust.

  1. Serovera
    Serovera is for people with serious chronic diseases. It contains pure, pharmaceutical grade Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharides of the inner gel. This product is top of the line but fairly expensive.
  2. Desert Harvest | 1-800-222-3901
    Desert Harvest makes a high quality whole leaf Aloe Vera concentrate in capsule form. They also make a number of other Aloe products for skin and bath. I believe Desert Harvest products are good and reasonably priced.
  3. Real Aloe Vera
    Available as juice or gel in most natural food groceries.

As a general rule, I don't believe in panaceas. However, there are only a dozen or so herbs in the world which have the remarkable range of therapeutic application as does Aloe Vera.