Aloe Vera: The Natural Healing Choice
Aloe Vera: When only the real thing is good enough
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The Miracle of Aloe VeraFor many years I have found Aloe Vera to be useful for an enormous number of problems. I use it regularly on my skin for its soothing and healing properties, and internally to calm an acid stomach or to line a sore throat, or to damp down a tummy ache.
In our house we call it 'Nature's Miracle Plant', despite the fact that science has been unable, or unwilling, to authenticate its many traditional uses. But I don't mind that.
I just like growing them anyway and promote the use of Aloe Vera every chance I get. In fact, I grow so many that I regularly sell my excess, because it's important that everyone gets the chance to grow their own and enjoy the many benefits that come from its use.
The qualities of Aloe Vera have been documented and written about for centuries. In this website, I will try to bring you as much information as I can find about aloe, and as much as I have learned over the years, in the hope that it will help you to decide if it is right for you.
This is with a view to providing you accurate and interesting information and evidence that will enable you to make confident choices when looking to give aloe a try. Our products and order page have lots of options for you to acquire plants, vacuum packed leaves, frozen gel and liquid gel.
How should I use my aloe leaves and gel?
Always use a very sharp knife or razor blade to slice your aloe plant or leaf. This ensures a clean cut every time and there are no ragged ends to become infected, or which may weaken the plant. A clean cut allows the gel to set at the cut, and for the plant to seal over the end of the wound, ready for next time.
You can cut off a whole leaf, or you can take slices. In the event of a small cut, sting or bite, very thin slices of leaf will get you sufficient gel to cover a small area of skin, ensuring the longevity of your plant. If you do cut off too much or a whole leaf at a time, you can store it in the fridge, wrapped in clingfilm.
Aloe Vera: The natural healing solution from nature
Most modern medication, especially the new stuff, is really expensive and comes, potentially, with a list of side effects as long as your arm. Just read the information leaflet and you'll see what I mean. So, for the sake of our health and that of our families, many of us are looking for natural alternatives that give the hope of accelerated healing.
Aloe has been called 'nature's first-aid kit'
The list of conditions that aloe is said to be good for is pretty extensive. Things like abrasions, acne, bites, boils, burns, cracked skin, cuts and scratches, dandruff, denture sores, dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, insect bites, itching, rashes, psoriasis, scars, scrapes, stings, sunburn, warts and wrinkles, to name only a few.
This is when your aloe plant will come into it's own, and is the reason I always have an Aloe plant close by. You will always have a source of fresh, clean, living gel close by, ready to use at a moments notice. That's the beauty of growing your own, and the point to bear in mind is that the gel is 'alive' and at it's most beneficial.
Why Aloe Vera has been called the 'miracle' plant.
Here are a few things you can do with your aloe gel to help control or eliminate certain conditions that may be troubling you. It is not an extensive list, but I would love to add your ideas, treatments and recipies to this page. Simply email me with your ideas and what works for you. Thank you.
So what can we use Aloe gel for? Please be aware, this is what WE do. It's A way to do it, not THE way
1. Athlete's Foot. Take some of your aloe gel, say quarter or half a teaspoon and mix it with a few drops of tea tree oil (Tea Tree oil is available from herbal shops, chemists, beauty suppliers both online and offline). Tea tree is one of those things that should be in EVERYBODY'S bathroom cabinet.
Wash your feet, especially between your toes and dry them thoroughly. Apply the mixture, rubbing it in and making sure you get right in between your toes. Put your socks on over this to keep the mixture on your skin and leave for the rest of the day.
2. Warts Warts are caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis), which produces the rough, hard texture of a wart. The malic acid in Aloe vera is good for treating warts. The antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic properties of the gel help dry up the wart and also kill the bacteria/virus causing it.
Aloe vera, when applied daily as a gel and covered with tape, or bandage, softens the skin and kills the virus. It may take 2-3 weeks to get rid of the wart.
3. Burns Burns come in many forms. Chemical burns, hot object burns, flame burns and lots more. They also come in degrees; first, second and third degree burns, depending on severity and depth. Burns are pretty serious. Never underestimate the damage done to burning flesh.
If serious, get it checked out at a hospital first. You can always include Aloe vera in your healing regime once your doctor has patched you up physically. This will accelerate repair times and, if applied early enough, will promote healing. Studies show that Aloe vera is effective in healing first to second-degree burns because it is anti-inflammatory, promotes circulation, and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Apply Aloe gel once or twice daily until it is fully healed. Hands are one of the easiest to burn because it is so easy to touch anything hot, or spill/splash hot liquids on ourselves whilst handling them. This is what we did when Jill burned her hand. We smeared Aloe gel all over her fingers and palm. Covered her hand with a sock so she could sleep with it and not mess up the bedsheets. Within days the blistering, cracking, redness, soreness and burning sensation were all gone. Remember, ours is A way to do it, not THE way, necessarily.
For a chemical burn, wash with copious amounts of water before applying aloe to the burn area. Dilution of the chemical agent is paramount, because Aloe will cause a protective layer to form over the damaged skin. The last thing you need to do is seal in the very chemical that caused the burn in the first place.
4. Peridontal Disease Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gum tissues that hold your teeth in place. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on the teeth and hardens. Brushing and flossing well, coupled with not smoking helps to slow it down, but it should not be taken lightly.
Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease. This is because the gum pulls away from your teeth allowing bacteria to enter. Bacteria can migrate into the blood vessels in the gum which then can damage the heart.
Now, you might think the mouth and heart don't have much in common. Research suggests that bacteria present in gum disease can travel throughout the body, triggering inflammation in the heart's vessels and infection in heart valves. This equates to two or three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.
Convert your aloe gel to a liquid by spinning it in a liquidizer, or disolving a frozen cube. Add some water to make a drink. Take a few sips and swish the liquid around your mouth and teeth for a good minute. Spit the waste out. Do this with half the drink, then drink the rest.
5. Gingivitis and Plaque Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque – a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria – on the teeth and gums. The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins that can irritate the gums and cause them to become red, inflamed, puffy, and may even lead to bleeding. Using your Aloe gel as a mouth wash, similarly to peridontal disease, uses the anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory, properties of your Aloe gel to effectively reduce the symptoms of gingivitis.
6. Constipation In the old days, Aloe latex (the aloin part) was used to relieve constipation, and a good job it did too. Perhaps too good. It also caused diarrhea. For several decades now the practice has been banned in mainstream medicine. But to be fair, you don't need the aloin to make you 'go'. Ordinary Aloe gel does just as good a job, far more gently and without the harshness of the aloin. Besides it tastes better too (aloin is very bitter). In our house, we take a diluted Aloe cube every day and none of us have any problems in 'that' department. I'm not saying that's the reason, but that it isn't going further either and pushing us all into diarrhea.
7. Cracked Skin As a massage therapist (the haven healing centre) I need soft, gentle, un-cracked skin and nails to do my job. Believe me, if it's not, I soon get told. Raw and plain Aloe vera gel is part of my arsenal to help keep my hands soft and kind. I just rub the gel into my skin once a day. If I do develop a crack alongside the end of a nail or similar, I push gel into the crack to soften it. This is very effective and cracks repair quickly.
8. Insect Bites Aloe vera is a fantastic, natural antiseptic agent that is good to counteract the irritation of insect bites such as mosquitos, horse flies, gnats and any of the other little buggers that find us fair game in the night. The antibacterial, antiviral and antiinflammatory effects of Aloe help to reduce the pain, swelling, and itching. In addition, it will also help heal the bite area faster.
9. Scars Aloe gel increases the amount of collagen at the scar site that helps to rearrange epithelial cells. Apply the Aloe gel by rubbing into a scar until it is absorbed. Do this every day, or as often as you think of it, and keep applying it until the scar shows signs of fading.
From a personal point of view, when I broke my leg in 2001, I had an 8" scar down the outside of the leg where a plate was inserted to join up my fibula bone. The scar was horrendous, not that anyone saw it much as I wear long trousers. But I rubbed Aloe gel into the scar several times a week, or when I remembered, and within a relatively short time it started to diminish and fade. As a consequence, I do recommend you try for your scars, but it is worth remembering it will likely take a while to make a difference.
10. Stretch Marks The abrupt stretching and rupture to the collagen and elastin, which supports our skin, caused by pregnancy, puberty, and rapid weight gain can cause the surface tissue to produce stretch marks. Stretch marks are a bit like cut scars, but the skin is not broken. Instead the cells below the skin are stretched beyond their ability to recover which has a distorting effect on the outer layers of skin.
Personally, I would mix some Aloe gel with a few drops of Vitamin E (wheat germ), and massage the mixture into the area for a few minutes until it is absorbed.
11. Sunburn Aloe vera is fab for sunburn because it helps relieve pain and redness by reducing inflammation and aids the skin in healing damaged tissue. It also moisturizes the skin, helping you avoid the peeling normally associated with sun damage. It has a cooling effect and causes the blood vessels to contract, thus improving skin firmness, dryness, and elasticity.
We usually spin our extracted gel in a nutribullet to liquidize it. This makes it easier and less painful to apply. Use on the sunburned area five or six times a day for several days. Always remember: More severe burns may require medical care from a hospital or your doctor. You can always go back to using Aloe after its been looked at by a professional.
12. Abrasions and Scrapes An abrasion can be a very painful type of open wound that's caused by the skin scraping against a rough surface and tearing to shreds, sometimes literally. Abrasions are very common injuries and respond well to the application of Aloe vera gel. The gel increases the amount of collagen in wounds by changing the composition of the collagen and increasing the collagen cross-linking, thereby promoting wound healing.
13. Cuts and Scratches For cuts and scrapes, take a slice of Aloe gel from the leaf and rub over the cut several times a day. Cover the cut with a plaster is necessary to hold the gel in place. If a wound is deep enough, I open it up, clean with surgical spirit and stuff Aloe gel into the hole, then seal it over. There are examples and photos of this here on this website. The Aloe gels properties deal with several aspects of a cut; Inflammation, infection, cellular damage, skin damage, scarring and pain.
14. Dermatitis and Eczema Signs and symptoms of dermatitis include: red rash, itching, dry, cracked, scaly skin, bumps and blisters, swelling, burning and/or tenderness. Aloe gel is a natural moisturizer and can help to hydrate and soothe dermatitis. Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes patches of skin to become itchy and irritated. Apply Aloe gel several times a day to help relieve symptoms.
15. Itching General itching and irritation can be caused by an underlying skin condition. Perhaps a rash or an allergy to some other outside influence. Aloe gel is a good first choice to soothe itching and inflammation, especially if there is a bacterial, viral or microbial cause. It might also improve the appearance of any skin rash, too.
16. Psoriasis Psoriasis symptoms are dry red skin lesions, known as plaques, covered in silver scales. They normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body. The plaques can be itchy or sore, or both. In severe cases, the skin around your joints may crack and bleed. Apply Aloe vera gel to the affected area of skin several times a day for a few weeks, or until you notice an improvement.
17. Dandruff [I definitely will be trying this one]. Aloe vera has been shown to be an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, the condition that causes dandruff. It can achieve a significant reduction in any inflammatory response, itchiness, scaliness, and the size of the area affected by dandruff. Research suggests the antifungal and antibacterial properties of Aloe vera may even prevent dandruff.
Apply Aloe vera gel to your head and beneath your hair, before or after shampooing. Let the gel sit for 30-60 minutes, then rinse off with very mild shampoo solution. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week and then cut down to once a week as a maintenance dose.
18. Denture Sores and Painful Mouth Several things here; Dental sores seem obvious, but Lichen Planus and Oral Submucous Fibrosis not so much.
Lichen planus is a rash that can affect different parts of your body, including the inside of your mouth. Symptoms include, white patches on your gums, tongue or the insides of your cheeks, burning and stinging in your mouth, especially when you eat or drink. Oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) is an insidious chronic disease affecting any part of the oral cavity and sometimes the pharynx with epithelial atrophy leading to stiffness of the oral mucosa, causing trismus and inability to eat.
Thankfully, I have never had to deal with any of these, but I think I would first get a proper diagnosis, and then take Aloe gel as a mouthwash, swilling it around my mouth, teeth and gums, possibly gargling with it, before spitting it out. I would expect to see a reduction in the rashes and burning mainly.
19. Acne Apply aloe gel directly to the face after your morning wash/shower, once your skin is dry.
20. Boils A boil is a hard and painful lump that fills with pus. Most areas of the body can fall victim, but they are especially painful when under pressure, such as under arm or between the legs. Aloe vera's antiseptic and antimicrobial agents help to attack, reduce, control, or even eliminate infections as the gel penetrates directly into the deeper layers of the skin. This may encourage the boil or carbuncle to drain. Apply gel 3 times daily to affected area.
21. Dry Skin If you've been paying attention and got this far, you probably don't need me to remind you that Aloe gel is going to be just about the best natural product you can put on dry skin, second to none. Just rub it in and seal in the moisture, rehydrating as it does so.
22. Rashes The stimulus for a rash can be an allergic reaction, an injury or infection. Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic that can cool down reddened, heated, irritated, and dry skin, while preventing infections. It is a good treatment for psoriasis plaques and soothing eczema/dermatitis. Aloe vera gel has also been shown to help heal skin lesions caused by the herpes virus.
23. Stings and Bites Lots of things sting and bite. It's a wonder we aren't full of holes really. Bees, nettles, spiders, ticks, mites, bedbugs, fleas, lice, horseflies, mosquitoes, ants, wasps and even frost. Some of these will come with infections, others won't. Mostly they irrritate like a bugger and cause you to scratch them like crazy, which isn't really the first, best response.
Aloe vera gel naturally soothes and moisturizes the skin. It's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help control swelling and infection. It will also go a long way to relieve much of the pain. Apply the gel directly to the sting site and cover with a plaster or bandage to allow the gel to soak into the sting.
24. Wrinkles Aloe vera gel increases collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the skin, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and give a more youthful looking, radiant skin. It hydrates the skin and boosts the skin's elasticity, reducing the visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen helps in decreasing the wrinkles and helps in skin tightening both of which come from improved elasticity. Aloe gel contains amino acids, B1, B3, B6 and C vitamins that help fight off free radicals that cause wrinkles.
Simply massage Aloe gel into the skin on a cotton pad, or with your fingertips. Most research suggests you should see a result within 1 to 3 months. Obviously it depends on where you start from.
How Wounds Heal
Tissue regeneration is a fundamental response to tissue injury, cell death and disease. Our bodies achieve this primarily from the formation of the connective tissue matrix known as Collagen. Aloe vera increases the collagen content of granulation tissue and the degree of cross linking, which is the way new tissue bonds to each other. Aloe also stimulates the fibroblasts, a type of biological cell, that synthesizes (or combines) the extracellular matrix and collagen. Fibroblasts are the most common cells of connective tissue and play a critical role in wound healing.
Aloe vera infiltrates the tissues and increases the transport of repair chemicals and the activity of biological factors such as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels grow from the existing vasculature by the process of sprouting and splitting. This is to provide oxygen and metabolites to the new and repairing tissue.
As well as all the repair chemicals that are delivered in the blood, Aloe can provide nutrients, repair chemicals of its own, enzymes, acids and salts, moisture, antibiotics and oxygen, as well as increase the epithelial migration, speedier maturation of collagen and a reduction in inflammation of the repair site.
All this ensures a speedier recovery, a more thorough recovery and less chance of complications further down the line. Always make sure you have some Aloe gel handy in your medicine chest, even if only for a backup.