From the earliest Egyptian settlements everyone has been applauding the incredible medicinal features of aloe. It is a plant with succulent green leaves arranged in a rosette pattern. The scientific name of the common aloe plant is Aloe barbadensis or aloe vera. Discovered in Africa, this medicine is now common in America, Europe and Asia. For their medicinal qualities, parts of the Aloe plant used are the gel, the latex, the extract, the juice and capsules.
Aloe vera is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory attributes. Aloe is also a very powerful laxative. It is rarely used as a laxative because it causes severe stomach cramps. Aloe gel used topically on burned or broken skin is used as a soothing agent and also a pain killer. Studies in animals have shown aloe to reduce inflammation. In a study that tested the use of aloe in the treatment of ulcerative colitis aloe gel (internally ingested) showed better results than a placebo in aiding disease treatment. Due to its anti-inflammatory property it is considered an excellent cure for easing digestive problems.
Aloe extract has aloemannan which aids the growth of kidney cells and also in slowing down kidney stone production. Aloe juice is a very good antidote for ulcers and heart burns. However, its effectiveness is limited to peptic ulcers and does not extend to ulcers caused due to stress. In asthma patients who have not been on corticosteroids, use of aloe orally has been found to give good results. Use of aloe vera during pregnancy needs to be discussed with your doctor. One of the components of aloe vera, Aloe-emodin, is a very good laxative. Additionally it also kills the herpes virus which causes painful shingles and cold sores. Aloe vera is infused in base oils (almond and apricot) and used in aroma therapy. Astringent, anti fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties are shown by such treated oils.