(NaturalHealth365) Drinking aloe vera juice is often advised by natural healers as a way to lower cholesterol, boost circulation, increase blood oxygenation and stabilize blood sugar. Aloe vera, an ornamental succulent that grows in tropical and subtropical landscapes, also thrives indoors as a houseplant. One well-known perk of growing aloe is having access to fresh aloe vera gel, a traditional folk remedy for minor burns and skin complaints.
But the same plant that provides safe, drug-free soothing of your skin may also allow you to improve your health from the inside out. In fact, many health experts suggest that aloe vera juice has extraordinary therapeutic powers. Several scientific studies are currently underway to explore the healing potential of aloe for such ailments like, ulcerative colitis and diabetes.
Aloe has a rich history for healing the digestive system
The aloe, scientifically known as aloe vera and aloe barbadensis L., gets its name from the Arabic word “alloeh,” meaning “bitter, shining substance” – a reference to the gel’s tart taste and crystal-clear, lustrous appearance. Aloe has been used medicinally and cosmetically for thousands of years. In the first century A.D., Greek physician Dioscorides recorded the use of aloe vera for wounds and digestive disorders.
Aloe vera juice, made from the inner gel of the leaves, is not to be confused with aloe vera latex, found in the leaves’ outer layers. Formerly used to treat constipation, aloe latex — also called resin — is no longer commonly recommended for this use. It should be noted that high levels of anthraquinones, in aloe latex, can cause diarrhea, severe cramping and dehydration.
Why is aloe such a potent healing substance?
Aloe is rich in potent phytocompounds – that attack pain and swelling and promote healing. Polysaccharides, including a substance called acemannan, act as natural anti-inflammatory and healing agents – which can also improve blood circulation and oxygenation. Allantoin, a natural chemical compound found in aloe, has mucilaginous qualities, meaning it has a soothing and demulcent effect.
In addition, bradykinase, a natural pain reliever, is also present, as is aloe emodin, found by researchers to suppress production of COX-2 and nitric oxide – both of which trigger inflammation. Finally, glucomannan, a water-soluble fiber in aloe, has hypoglycemic or blood sugar-lowering effects.
Diabetics feel better on aloe vera juice
There is recent evidence supporting the theory that aloe vera can lower both blood sugar and cholesterol – in people with type-2 diabetes. In a two-month study, published in 2012 in Planta Medica, researchers treated diabetic patients with 300 mg. of aloe vera extract, in capsule form – every 12 hours, and found that aloe was significantly superior to placebo in reducing blood sugar levels and harmful LDL cholesterol, with no adverse effects reported.
Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health concurs that aloe vera has been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels in both animal and human studies, and lists the usual dosage of aloe vera juice as 5 to 15 ml., taken twice a day.
How to heal the digestive system – naturally
Aloe vera juice may also have applications for treating digestive disorders. Bed-Sty Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH) cites a study in which subjects with ulcerative colitis received 100 ml. – roughly a 3.5-oz. serving – of aloe vera juice twice a day for four weeks. Almost half of them, 47 percent, experienced either significant improvement of symptoms or total remission, a success rate over three times that of the group taking a placebo.
In a 2004 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers found that aloe vera suppressed the production of an inflammation-causing chemical called prostaglandin. They concluded that aloe vera could play a role in treating inflammatory bowel disorders, and called for further study.
Picking the right aloe vera juice is critical for success
Buy commercial aloe vera juice from a reputable supplier and, of course, always look for ‘untreated’ – organic juice. If you dislike the bitter taste of aloe, you can mix it with other juices to make it more palatable.
Ask your doctor before using aloe vera juice, especially if you have kidney or liver disease, or take diuretics, digoxin or medication for diabetes. Plus, you may want to avoid aloe if you’re allergic to garlic, onions , tulips or other members of the lily family.
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