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Aloe Vera For Outer And Inner Beauty

Aloe vera is a medicinal plant with a millennia-old tradition. Whether for wound treatment, skin diseases, gastrointestinal complaints, joint pain, gingivitis, or sunburn: Aloe vera is THE all-rounder in natural medicine.

Aloe vera – An extraordinary medicinal plant

Although there are hundreds of aloe plant species, there is only one aloe vera – the true aloe. It is one of the oldest and is now also one of the most well-known medicinal plants on earth. Although the appearance of aloe vera is reminiscent of a cactus, like the onion it belongs to the lily family and is therefore also called a desert lily.

In terms of plant type, it is one of the succulents, like cacti. Originally, aloe vera probably comes from the Arabian Peninsula, today it feels at home in the Mediterranean region, India and Mexico, among other places.

A special feature of wild aloe vera is that it can go for months without rain. This is because it can store an incredible amount of water in its fleshy, thorny leaves, which it feeds on during periods of drought. The longer the dry season lasts, the more the aloe vera shrinks, but when it rains again, it literally puffs up. This storage capacity is due to a gel-like structure inside the leaves. This so-called aloe vera gel also helps the plant to heal itself by shrinking and sealing its wounds (e.g. cuts).

Thousands of years ago, these observations probably gave people the idea that this must be a plant species with healing powers. After all, if a plant can protect itself from drying out and even injury, why shouldn’t its components also benefit human skin?

The world tour of aloe vera

Sumerian and Egyptian records show that aloe vera was used medicinally 5,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians called it the plant of immortality and the blood of the gods. Both the beautiful Nefertiti and the power-seeking Cleopatra used the beneficial aloe vera gel to care for their skin.

The ancient Greeks became aware of the medicinal plant through the Egyptians. So let z. For example, Alexander the Great used aloe vera juice to heal the injuries of his fighters. In Asia, aloe was spread by Arab traders.

This is how it got to India and far-off Japan, where the samurai are said to have rubbed the gel on their bodies before fights to make them invulnerable. In the 10th century, the healing plant is said to have finally continued its triumphal procession in Great Britain, from where it made its way throughout Europe and was brought to South and Central America by the Spaniards.

Today, Mexico is one of the main growing areas, with most farmers doing without fertilizers and pesticides. The Maya still equate aloe vera with a shaman and are convinced that the healing properties can also be traced back to the soul of the plant. In Mexico, for example, it is still common to hang aloe vera leaves over the front doors of houses and apartments to keep diseases away.

Of course, modern research is not satisfied with the idea that a healing plant spirit lives in aloe vera. Rather, she is interested in facts and figures.

Aloe vera: ingredients and mode of action

Scientists have now been able to identify more than 200 ingredients in aloe vera. It should be remembered that the effectiveness is not simply due to the individual ingredients, but rather to the extraordinary combination of active ingredients.

Mono- and polysaccharides in aloe vera

The mono- and polysaccharides (single and multiple sugars) in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, immune-stimulating, and digestive properties. The so-called acemannan, the z. B. can also be found in the Siberian taiga root and in ginseng, and is now regarded as the main active ingredient in aloe vera.

This is a long-chain sugar molecule that is also formed in the human body up to puberty but then has to be supplied through food. Acemannan strengthens the white blood cells and the immune system, works against inflammation, and cleanses and deacidifies the intestine so that on the one hand more vital substances can be absorbed and on the other hand the dangerous yeast fungi are put in their place.

In addition, the acemannan in the joints, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments serves as a building material, so aloe vera prevents the development of wear and tear diseases such as arthrosis and arthritis and can also be helpful in their treatment.

Amino acids in aloe vera

The aloe vera gel contains seven of the eight essential amino acids that must be ingested through food because the human body cannot produce them itself. We would like to briefly introduce four of these energy sources to you:

  • Isoleucine helps build muscle and strengthens the immune system.
  • Leucine supports healing processes.
  • Valine strengthens the nerves so that stress can be better managed.
  • Lysine boosts the formation of collagen, which gives our skin elasticity and slows down its aging process.

Enzymes in aloe vera

A number of enzymes have been found in aloe vera gel, e.g. B. amylase, phosphatase, catalase, cellulase, and lipase. These enzymes help to ensure that sugar, proteins, and fats from food can be digested and utilized in the best possible way and also have an antioxidant effect, as they eliminate free radicals in the body.

Secondary plant substances in aloe vera

The phytochemicals determine the taste, smell, and color of plants. Although they only occur in small amounts, they are usually of great importance in a pharmacological sense.

Aloe vera gel sometimes contains essential oils, saponins, tannins, and salicylic acid, which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, and sterols, which can also naturally lower cholesterol levels. Aloe vera juice, on the other hand, contains anthraglycosides (anthraquinones bound to sugar), which have a laxative effect. This also includes the active ingredient aloin, which we would now like to discuss in more detail.

Aloe vera – One plant, two remedies

The leaf of aloe vera consists of three layers: leaf bark, leaf sap, and leaf pulp (gel). Thus, two liquids can be obtained from the plant, which, however, have very different effects – on the one hand, the aloe vera gel and on the other hand the aloe vera juice, which is also known as latex or resin.

Aloe vera juice is effective against constipation

The aloe vera juice is located between the green leaf bark and the transparent gel. It then emerges as soon as a leaf is injured or cut off and contains the active ingredient aloin already mentioned. This is a vicious and very bitter-tasting substance that protects the aloe plant from predators. It used to be customary to extract the aloin from the leaves, boil it down into a crystalline mass and use it as a strong laxative.

Today, however, we know that aloin is harmful to health if the dose is too high or if it is used for too long, which is why it is hardly ever used. Possible consequences are overstimulation of the intestinal mucosa, an aggravation of the digestive problems to symptoms of poisoning. Furthermore, Aloin is suspected of being a cancer trigger. For the above reasons, according to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, it may only be used as a laxative twice a week and for a maximum of 2 weeks.

In the case of painful tears in the area of ​​the anus, hemorrhoids, and after operations in the rectum, it can be useful to use aloe resin after consulting a doctor. The recommended dose here is between 20 and 30 mg of aloin per day. However, it should definitely be avoided during pregnancy, as the active ingredient can trigger premature labor and lead to a miscarriage. However, since there are many other natural and at the same time healthy remedies for constipation, there are numerous alternatives available.

If you use the If you want to take on vera juice, you should never use the extremely bitter-tasting resin of your own aloe vera plant, but use professionally prepared products from the trade.

But unlike the strongly irritating aloe vera latex, the mild aloe vera gel offers many side-effect-free therapy options for numerous ailments.

Aloe vera gel – an all-rounder in medicine

Aloe vera gel is made from the fleshy interior of the leaves. There are different processing methods. It is crucial that the thick leaf bark and thus the aloin are removed beforehand. The aloe vera gel is then extracted from the leaves, pressed, and stabilized, for example by pasteurization. Methods such as freeze drying or spray drying are used to extend the shelf life of the leaf gel.

You can use the healing plant e.g. B. in the form of gel, ointment, capsules, powder, or juice in pharmacies or natural goods stores. Here it is important to know that the diluted aloe vera gel is often referred to as juice. Here, the gel is first pressed. Then the water is withdrawn from him. This creates a dry concentrate that can be stored for a long time. The juice is created by adding water again to the dry concentrate.

The aloe vera gel can be used both externally and internally. With regard to internal use, however, you should definitely pay attention to the product description, because not every gel can be taken.

Aloe vera has an alkaline effect. It helps to balance the body’s acid-base balance and can therefore be easily incorporated into the alkaline diet.

In folk medicine, the gel is used for countless ailments, a small selection follows:

  • Inflammation: gastrointestinal area, skin, and oral mucosa
  • frostbite
  • Skin diseases: e.g. E.g. eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis
  • insect bites
  • Wounds: burns and injuries
  • Herpes (genital herpes)
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • osteoarthritis, arthritis, and gout
  • rheumatism
  • arteriosclerosis
  • sunburn

In the meantime, aloe vera has become one of the most popular research topics worldwide. We have summarized some interesting study results for you.

Aloe vera is better than cortisone

dr Julia Stump from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg examined the anti-inflammatory effect of externally applied aloe vera to find out whether the gel provided relief from sunburn. 40 volunteers took part in the study, whose backs were first irradiated on test fields and then treated either with aloe vera gel or with a commercially available cream (e.g. hydrocortisone).

The investigations showed that the use of aloe vera gel led to significant inhibition of UV-induced erythema (reddening of the skin) after only two days and worked better than hydrocortisone, which had unfavorable side effects such as itching, burning, skin irritation, and even damage to the skin can bring.

dr Stump came to the conclusion that aloe vera gel is a very good alternative to cortisone therapy – especially since aloe vera gel also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, as confirmed by Iranian scientists. They also found that aloe vera leads to a cell proliferation effect, which explains why the desert lily is so good at accelerating the healing process, even in the case of severe burns.

Aloe vera for itching caused by scabies

Scabies is caused by a tiny mite and causes excruciating itching. Even weeks later, when the mite has long since been fought, the itching is often still there. In this case, aloe vera relieves itching very well. We present a promising study on this in our article on natural measures against scabies.

Aloe vera heals burns

Severe burn injuries are extremely painful and are often associated with disability, mental illness, and even death. Treatment is still considered to be particularly problematic. However, there are now several studies that have shown that aloe vera gel has an effective effect on burn injuries.

dr Khorasani and his team from the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences compared whether the aloe vera gel worked better than silver sulfadiazine, which is the most commonly used wound care for burn injuries worldwide. Undesirable side effects include permanent graying of the skin, delayed skin regeneration, and chronic skin inflammation.

The study involved 30 patients with second-degree burns. In each patient, Prof. Khorasani and his team treated one burn with silver sulfadiazine and another with pure aloe vera powder. All those burns treated with aloe vera healed three days faster than those treated with silver sulfadiazine.

Further research carried out at the same university has also shown that aloe vera gel can lead to better wound healing after surgery:

Aloe vera accelerates wound healing after surgery

dr Eshghi and his colleagues divided 49 patients who had undergone hemorrhoid surgery into a placebo group and an aloe group. The researchers found that the wound pain in those subjects who were treated with an aloe vera cream three times a day improved significantly over the course of two days.

Even after 2 weeks, there was still a difference, even though the patients in the aloe group were given far fewer painkillers. Furthermore, after 14 days their wounds were well healed, while in the placebo group half of the wounds were still unhealed and even inflamed.

The scientists do not see any reason why an aloe vera cream should only accelerate wound healing after hemorrhoid operations and are of the opinion that wound treatments with aloe vera (e.g. in the nursing sector or after radiation therapy) could become the standard.

Aloe vera reduces skin reactions after radiation

Radiation therapy for cancer is often accompanied by severe skin irritation and even open wounds. As a result, both the success of therapy and the quality of life of cancer patients are massively affected.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care looked at how aloe vera gel affects skin changes caused by radiation. The subjects included 57 patients with head or neck cancer who were receiving radiation therapy. While the test group received the gel externally every day, the control group received only the standard treatment.

The investigations revealed that the skin irritations in those patients who were treated with the aloe vera gel appeared later and were less severe. In addition, a later radiation cycle showed that the aloe group had less pain. The researchers came to the conclusion that the aloe vera gel has an extremely positive effect on radiation damage.

Aloe vera can also be used excellently for skin diseases such as dermatitis and psoriasis, which most doctors classify as incurable:

Aloe vera reduces psoriasis

On the occasion of World Psoriasis Day 2013, the German Psoriasis Association announced that around a quarter of patients now avoid conventional medical advice because they feel neither understood nor well treated. A whole range of medications (e.g. corticosteroids) are prescribed, but these often have no effect at all and/or are associated with serious side effects.

At the same time, studies are now increasing which say that aloe vera has positive treatment successes in psoriasis. For example, a team of researchers from Malmö University Hospital in Sweden divided 60 patients aged 18 to 50 with moderate psoriasis into two groups – one received a cream with 0.5 percent aloe vera extract, the other a placebo remained largely ineffective.

30 patients applied the aloe vera ointment three times a day to the affected areas of skin and were examined weekly to see if psoriasis had subsided. As a result, the study was extended to 16 weeks and a follow-up period of one year was granted. In the end, it turned out that the aloe vera extract had led to a significant reduction in psoriasis in 25 of the 30 patients. In addition, Dr. Syed and his team confirm that the aloe vera preparation does not cause any side effects and can therefore be considered a safe alternative remedy to psoriasis therapy.

In view of the diverse healing successes, it is of course not surprising that a huge market has developed around the product aloe vera.

Aloe vera: be careful when buying!

Aloe vera is cultivated on five continents in all subtropical and tropical regions. Hundreds of thousands of tons of aloe vera leaves are harvested every year, from which the coveted gel is obtained, which can now be found in countless products – whether cosmetics, food and nutritional supplements, mattresses, panty liners, or washing powder.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for aloe vera to be on the label, usually only containing a homeopathic dose of aloe vera. The healing effect then of course falls by the wayside.

So if you really want to benefit from the active ingredients in aloe vera, you should pay attention to certain quality criteria when buying:

Aloe vera – the quality

Externally applicable aloe vera products often contain other skin-care or fragrance-giving ingredients. It is therefore rarely pure aloe vera gels.

These products are also expected to have a significantly longer shelf life than juice, for example. After all, you don’t want to have to buy a new skincare product every week or month. Therefore, aloe vera skin care products must be fully preserved.

We will focus below on the quality criteria for oral aloe vera products, i.e. aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel, which describes the same thing.

As natural as possible – processed as little as possible

If you are looking for an aloe vera product that is as natural as possible, you might come across the term “whole leaf aloe vera”. You know from the field of nutrition that it is advantageous to eat the entire food, i.e. to eat whole foods.

With aloe vera, however, this is not so advisable, because the leaf skin of aloe vera is poisonous and can lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain. Therefore, if you have your own plant and are processing its leaves, be aware that you have to peel them.

Whole Leaf Aloe Vera products are filtered to remove the toxic parts of the skin. However, this also removes parts of the desired active ingredients from the inside of the leaf.

Consequently, it makes more sense to use aloe products made from pure leaf gel right from the start. Filtering is not necessary here, so ultimately more active ingredients are contained.

Hand filleted/peeled and organic

It would be ideal if the leaves were peeled by hand because then it is more likely that the peel was actually completely removed.

Organic quality is a must. True, the subtropical plant itself is not susceptible to pests, so there is no need for pesticides. However, organic fields are not freed from weeds with herbicides, the plants are not artificially fertilized, attention may be paid to mixed cultures and processing is generally as gentle as possible.

No concentrates, but direct juice

Just like with other juices, aloe vera juice from concentrate should be avoided. The gel is first processed into a concentrate (under the influence of high heat) – which affects the active ingredient content – and then diluted again with water. Instead, it should be direct juice.

Pasteurization or preservation?

Aloe vera juice cannot do without preservation. After all, how else is it supposed to keep in the bottle for a few weeks or even months? If it weren’t preserved, it would have to be offered in the refrigerated section and would be spoiled after a few days.

There are usually two methods of preservation: either the juice is pasteurized or plenty of artificial preservatives are added.

We recommend pasteurized aloe vera juices – not least because the main active ingredient in aloe vera juice, aloverose (acemannan), is not heat-sensitive so preservation with preservatives does not bring any advantages, on the contrary, the possible disadvantages of synthetic substances are accepted must take.

The IASC Seal

If you are looking for the IASC seal (International Aloe Science Council), check their website (www.iasc.org) to see whether the product you have selected appears there and does not bear the seal illegally, which is fine should have occurred.

However, the IASC seal should be viewed critically. The organization is clearly manufacturer-dominated and often doesn’t guarantee much more than a minimum of 15 percent aloe vera content, which doesn’t sound very trustworthy. The IASC does not care about guaranteed active ingredient levels, gentle processing, organic cultivation, or as few additives as possible.

Acemannan content

The higher the dosage of this active ingredient, the more effective the aloe vera juice is. High-quality aloe vera juices provide around 1200 mg of acemannan per liter. Acemannan is also sometimes called aloverose.

If the acemannan content is not specified by the manufacturer, simply ask them.

Check the ingredients list

Check the ingredient list on the label or in the product description. The type of aloe should be noted there, namely aloe vera or aloe barbadensis miller. This ingredient should come first.

If it says water or another ingredient, it means there is more of that ingredient than aloe vera.

When the product says 100% pure aloe vera juice, that just means it’s pure juice, meaning it doesn’t have any wine or beer in it. Whether it’s a high-quality juice or not, whether it’s a juice from concentrate or direct juice, you can’t find out from this designation.

The label “100% aloe vera” is also not protected and can also mean that the product consists of a lot of water with a little bit of 100% aloe vera juice mixed in.

So pay more attention to the fine print.

Sweeteners (e.g. fructose) are often included, as well as aromas, preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate), or colorings.

All this is basically not bad – because these substances are declared so that you can decide against the product.

Therefore: Always read the list of ingredients or, if in doubt, ask the manufacturer.

The right optics

Aloe vera juice should look like freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, the color should be light yellow, and small pieces should be visible, similar to the pulp in freshly squeezed citrus juice. The taste is intense, so intense that you might not like it at first. If the juice tastes sweet, then it is sweetened or flavored.

If the aloe vera juice looks like water, then it’s probably water, water with a little bit of aloe vera in it. The effect is then also that of water, but not of aloe vera.

Thick aloe vera gels are usually only thick because a thickening agent has been added to them (e.g. xanthan gum), which is used to imitate the gel consistency of the natural leaf, i.e. to give the consumer the illusion of freshly pressed and untreated aloe vera juice.

However, even high-quality juices no longer have a gel consistency, as they become liquid through the stabilization process, which does not detract from the quality.

The addition of xanthan is therefore a completely unnecessary deception that does not exactly speak for the trustworthiness of the respective manufacturer.

The price

You can get high-quality aloe vera juice for about 20 euros per liter. Some manufacturers offer graduated prices so that the price per liter drops if you buy several bottles.

Avoid aloe vera products sold in a multi-level marketing (MLM). They pay significantly more there (about 30 euros per liter), not because the products are of particularly high quality, but rather to pay all the commissions and bonuses of the endless number of participants.

If you want to grow your own aloe vera, you can of course also use it to make your own aloe vera gel and benefit from the healing powers of your own plant:

Aloe vera on the windowsill

It is not difficult to keep the undemanding aloe vera as a house, balcony, or patio plant. It is important that the desert lily is supplied with the right ratio of water and sun so that it thrives particularly well. We would like to give you a few tips on this:

  • Aloe vera requires 8-10 hours of sunlight per day but can survive in cooler temperatures.
  • When the frost sets in, it has to go into frost-free winter quarters.
  • In summer, the plant feels most comfortable outdoors in a sunny place that is protected from wind and rain – however, young plants only tolerate the blazing sun to a limited extent and are initially better placed in a semi-shade.
  • If the aloe is kept in a pot indoors, west- or south-facing window sills are ideal. However, make sure that the pot is not too small so that the plant can develop its roots and not fall over.
  • The plant substrate should be permeable, fairly dry, and slightly calcareous – suitable is e.g. B. cactus or succulent soil.
  • Aloe vera does not like high humidity or wet soil and should only be watered when the soil is dry. Like all succulents, it does not tolerate waterlogging at all. Therefore, it is better to provide them with several small waterings than with a large amount at once.
  • Do not water the plant, only the soil, otherwise, the aloe vera is susceptible to rot.

Make your own aloe vera gel

Before the first harvest takes place, the aloe should be about 3 years old and have at least 12 leaves. If you want to make your own aloe vera gel, follow these steps:

  • Cut off one of the outer leaves (it is recommended to cut the leaves right at the base) and place them face down in a container for about 1.5 hours to allow the yellow juice containing the lovely aloin to drain out.
  • Then cut off about 3 cm from the wide end and discard this piece.
  • You can then cut the leaf lengthways and carefully fillet it with a disinfected, sharp knife. Make absolutely sure that you do not get too close to the surrounding inside of the bark and only release the pure, clear pulp.
  • Put the leaf gel in a disinfected glass jar and close it.
  • Since the gel can only be kept for a few days in the refrigerator, it should be used fresh.
  • You can also preserve the aloe vera gel in 20% pure alcohol and freeze portions.

Important: Remember that the application of the aloe vera gel depends on the respective symptoms. When used externally, some of the gel is usually applied several times a day to the areas of the skin to be treated. If you want to take the gel, you can simply eat it pure, or dilute it with water or z. Stir into fruit salad or smoothies, for example. The gel must not be heated. The recommended daily dose is 3 to 5 tablespoons per day.

Grow aloe vera

If you want to propagate your aloe vera, your plant must have reached sexual maturity. You can tell whether the aloe is ready by the fact that it gets an inflorescence in spring. This is usually the case after about three years. Once sexual maturity has been reached, the plant can form offshoots (saplings).

The young aloe vera plants that appear at the base of the mother plant should be removed by hand very carefully. Most of these offshoots already have roots of their own. Try to separate the small plants with these roots from the mother plant as there is a better chance that the young aloes will grow.

Now plant them in their own pot and make sure that the young plants do not need large amounts of water, otherwise, they will rot. Of course, the soil should not dry out either.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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