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The Healing Herb: Aloe Vera

By Michelle Newport Published 12/26/2006 | Alternative Medicine
Aloe Vera is well-known for soothing sunburned skin as well as healing dry skin. Along with caring for our skin, Aloe Vera has a wide variety of valuable uses from treating acne and PMS to treating stomachaches and ulcerations. Aloe Vera is one of the most famous and widely used herbs of all herbal remedies. It is also one of the oldest known herbs even being mentioned in the Bible: As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river' side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters Numbers 24:6 (KJV). In John 19:39 (KJV), the Bible tells of Nicodemus bringing Jesus a gift of myrrh and aloes.

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Not only beneficial for soothing sunburned skin, Aloe vera is also used in the treatment of frostbite and different types of burns, including burns resulting from chemicals and radiation exposure. It has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds as well as for wound-cleaning and also has a pain-relieving effect when applied which is due to its content of magnesium and salicylic acid which promote an analgesic effect.

Aloe vera is also used internally to treat ailments such as constipation, heartburn and inflammation of the esophagus. It is also beneficial to the kidneys and is used to prevent the formation of kidney stones as well as reducing the size of existing stones.

High in Vitamin C and selenium, Aloe vera is considered to be an antioxidant, which is thought to protect the cells from damaging oxidation better known as free radical damage.

Other Uses Include:

  • Aids
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Blood Cleansing
  • Bruises
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Dandruff
  • Deodorant
  • Heart
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Insect Bites
  • Jaundice
  • Liver
  • Poison Ivy
  • Poison Oak
  • Ringworm
  • Scar Tissue
  • Skin Conditions
  • Tapeworm
  • Toxicity
  • Tuberculosis
  • Ulcers
  • Varicose Veins
  • Wrinkles
  • Yeast Infections

Contraindications

Many herbalists recommend Aloe vera juice not be used by children, women who are pregnant or nursing, or the elderly. The green leaf portion of Aloe vera is considered to be a strong laxative and may cause severe diarrhea as well as may induce abortion. However, this part of the plant is removed from Aloe vera juice products and these products are considered to be safe. Aloe vera juice should not be used in cases of diarrhea.

References

Mastering Modern Herbal Medicine by LaMar Wiscombe, 2001.

The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies by Louise Tenney, 1995.

Basic Herbalism by Steven Horne & L. Carl Robinson, 2000.