When I was a child my grandmother had a giant aloe vera plant outside her front doorstep. At any sign of a burn or skin problem she would cut off a piece of the plant, split it with a knife and smear the gel all over the affected area leaving me sticky until my next bath. The cooling sensation was immediately soothing, and most of us have used some form of aloe vera topically in the same way before.
What I’m interested to delve further into is the use of aloe vera internally. After my recent colonic experience I was advised by detox expert Raaul Cohen to try consuming aloe vera juice to improve my health and digestion which prompted me to do some more research on this medicinal wonder plant.
A brief history of medicinal aloe vera
Written reports on the nourishing juice of the aloe vera plant reach as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Aloe was regarded as a sacred plant holding the secrets to beauty, health and immortality. Documentation of aloe was discovered on the clay boards from Nippur which date back to 2,200 BC. In this era people were already aware of the cleansing effect of aloe on the intestines, a time when illnesses were always regarded as demonic possession of the body and only a divine plant such as aloe had the natural power to exorcise the demons.
In Sanskrit, aloe is known as Ghrita-Kumari. Kumar means girl and it was believed that this plant provided the energy of youth to women and had a rejuvenating effect. In Indian ayurvedic medicine, aloe is used in numerous applications and is regarded as the plant of balance between pitta, kapha and vata – one of very few plants that hold this quality.
In Chinese culture, aloe has been an important ingredient in medical treatments since the times of the Marco Polo expeditions. The treatment book of Shi- Shen described aloe vera as the ‘Method of Harmony’. The plant played a major role in the everyday life of the Chinese. The Japanese culture also greatly values aloe vera, in Japan it was known as the ‘royal plant’. The juice was consumed as an elixir and the samurai used it topically.
What makes it so great?
Aloe vera contains 18 amino acids, plus vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and E. The aloe vera plant also contains sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chloride, as well as traces of magnesium and zinc. In addition to these major compounds, the aloe vera plant contains numerous other naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Because of this aloe vera is very healthy for the human body. Here are some of the top internal benefits I have come across.
Internal benefits of aloe vera juice
Treats constipation – The use of aloe vera as a laxative is well-researched. Its fluid is drawn into your stool, making it softer. Additionally, small doses of aloe juice help the digestion of protein and strengthen your body’s intestinal musculature, easing constipation and irregularity.
Helps with digestion – Because of its anti-inflammatory and laxative properties, aloe vera can help with digestion. Aloe vera juice normalises intestinal pH balance, decreases yeast formation, creates a friendly envirnoment for good digestive bacteria, and regulates bowel processing. Aloe also assists in controlling harmful bacteria growth which can cause further damage to the digestive system. It has even been used to soothe and heal stomach ulcers because of its antibacterial agents and natural healing properties that can restore the stomach lining back to health.
Boosts the immune system – The enzymes present in aloe vera break down the proteins that we eat into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, which enables the cells to function properly. The bradykinase in aloe vera stimulates the immune system and kills infections. Zinc is also an important component in aloe vera making it a great thing to ingest to combat zinc deficiency.
Provides antioxidants and reduces inflammation – Nowadays we’re becoming aware that inflammation is the root of all disease. Aloe vera provides a huge number of vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage. Antioxidants also help slow the aging process.
Treats diabetes – Some evidence in humans and animals suggests that aloe vera is able to alleviate the chronic hyperglycemia and perturbed lipid profile that are common among people with diabetes and are major risk factors for cardiovascular complications.
So, how much should you take?
Raaul recommends initially taking 60mls first thing in the morning and last thing at night for two weeks. After that take just 30mls twice a day. Because of its powerful detoxification properties you could possibly experience back aches, skin rashes, diarrhea and joint pains while taking aloe vera juice. If these symptoms last longer than a few days consult your doctor.
Aloe vera juice is readily available at most health food shops across the island. Always aim for a product that consists of at least 99.5% aloe or higher.
Written by Ché Miller
About the author
Ché has always had a passion for hospitality having completed a conjoint Bachelors Degree in International Business and Hospitality Management. She has spent the last 15 years working in the hospitality industry. This passion led her to working in a premier health retreat in Australia in her twenties. There she found the knowledge she gained there inspired her to start living a healthier life.
Now Ché loves to combine her two favourite things, hospitality and wellbeing. She scours the island for the best nourishing restaurants, products and services. Ché has been living in Mallorca since early 2017, having moved from her home in New Zealand. She absolutely loves the energy of the island and everything it has to offer.
Ché’s other interests include ashtanga yoga, boxing, reading, writing, and really good coffee.