Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Benefits of Aloe

The healing properties of aloe plants have been known for centuries – the ancient Egyptians called it the plant of immortality and included it among the items buried with pharaohs to assist them in the next life. While it may not provide eternal life, aloe does offer a dazzling array of health benefits.
The gel inside the aloe leaf is comprised of water and over 70 other substances, including Folic Acid, Niacin, the eight essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E plus calcium, sodium, iron, potassium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc.

In modern society, aloe is probably best known for its ability to heal burns or cuts. When applied to a wound, aloe not only relieves the pain and swelling, it also helps inhibit the growth of certain fungus and bacteria thereby preventing infections. Aloe also promotes healing by stimulating the cells responsible for repairing the skin.

The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, Dr. James Fulton, M.D., a dermatologist in Newport Beach, California, reported that aloe decreases surgical recovery time. “Any wound we treat, whether it’s suturing a cut or removing a skin cancer, heals better with aloe on it,” Dr. Fulton says. It can also speed healing of the gums after dental surgery.

What people might not know is that aloe also works to heal wounds when taken orally, according to a study in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. In the study, researchers gave one group of animals aloe in their drinking water for two months and a second group had aloe Vera cream applied directly to wounds for six days. In both cases, the aloe aided healing.

Although topical applications are slightly more effective for external skin wounds, ingesting is very effective for healing internal soft tissue injuries such as those caused by stomach ulcers. It is known to act as a natural detoxifier and has been shown to improve regularity and with regular use cleanse the digestive tract. In addition, aloe may act as a preventative for an array of ailments, from arthritis to certain types of cancer.

The gel can be cut up and swallowed in its natural form or blended into a drink. Regardless of how it is consumed, a daily dose of aloe will improve overall health and wellbeing – and keep your skin glowing.

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