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All about aloe vera

Dr Peter Atherton is an associate member of the Guild of Health Writers and is the author of three definitive books on the subjects: ‘The Essential Aloe Vera, the Actions and the evidence’, ‘Understanding Aloe Vera’ and ‘Aloe Vera, the medicine plant.  He is a Research Fellow of GIFTS of Health and has completed a Visiting Research Fellowship at Green College, University of Oxford.

10. EFFECT ON THE GUT.  Aloe vera has a wonderfully beneficial action on bowel function which results in smooth and efficient transit of contents resulting in a softer, bulkier stool making it easier to pass.

9. ASSISTS IN HEALTHY DIGESTION.  A healthy digestive tract ensures that nutrients from the food we eat are absorbed into the bloodstream.  There is clear, clinical evidence that by drinking Aloe Vera Gel the bowel is able to absorb these nutrients more efficiently, especially protein.   I also suspect that many other substances are absorbed much better under its influence.

 8.  BALANCES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM.  Among the substances identified in aloe vera is a long chain sugar (polysaccharide) that is known to have an effect on the cytokine system – the chemical messengers of the immune system.  Therefore it can act in a way that balances the system and so it can be considered and can be called an immunomodulator.  In the U.S.A. the sugar has been extracted from aloe vera and made into a drug.

7.  EFFECT ON THE SKIN.  When they are first produced deep in the epidermis, skin cells are rather large and very much alive, but by the time they reach the surface after 21 – 28 days (in normal skin), they are a shadow of their former selves and are transformed into just thin flakes of keratin which eventually fall off.  Aloe Vera Gel provides the essential nutrition to feed the basal cells.  Therefore the skin remains healthy and is able to perform its vital functions more efficiently – as well as looking much better.

 6.  INCREASES THE ACTIVITY OF FIBROBLASTS.  Fibroblasts are specialised cells found in the skin.  Their job is to produce fibre such as collagen and elastin.  These fibres give the skin its structure and of course, make it plump and elastic.  The more you have the younger your skin looks. 

5. EFFECTS ON THE MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM.  Certain substances in the aloe, such as the salicylic acid and the plant sterols are able to soothe muscles and maintain healthy joint, mobility and flexibility.

4. EFFECT ON GUT FLORA. Aloe vera is a natural ‘balancer’ in many areas and nowhere more so than inside the gut, where it tends to regulate the various bacteria and yeasts that inhabit it.  For example, if a person where to suffer from too much yeast in the gut, regular ingestion of the gel would tend to reduce this overgrowth.  The same can be said of the more unfriendly bacteria that can accumulate in certain conditions.

3.  A USEFUL SOURCE OF MINERALS.  Some of the minerals found in aloe vera include calcium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc.  This is because the plant tends to grow in areas where soils are rich in these minerals and its roots are able to absorb and deliver them to us in a very available form.

2. A USEFUL SOURCE OF VITAMINS.  Aloe Vera Gel contains a large range of vitamins – even trace elements of vitamin B12 which is rarely found in plants.  Apart from Vitamin A it contains B-group vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acid.  Many of these vitamins cannot be stored by the body so we need to constantly top them up from the food that we eat.  What better way than by drinking a daily amount of Aloe Vera Gel while at the same time building up the body’s defence system against oxidative stress naturally.

1.  A WONDERFUL DRINK FOR GOOD HEALTH.  By drinking the aAloe Vera Gel with all its important ingredients (often now deficient in food) including 19 of the 20 amino acids needed by the human body and seven of the eight essential ones that just cannot be made, the body is able to get enough to allow complex enzyme systems to work really well.  This means the body can function at 100%.  The net result to the individual is a wonderful feeling of wellbeing.

top 10 reasons to drink aloe vera gel

By Dr Peter Atherton  MB ChB, DObst, RCOG, FRCGP