The aloe vera plant has a long and proven history of use as an external skin salve for healing minor, cuts, burns and scrapes. This natural plant remedy also has internal uses that are nutritious and medicinal for the body.
Using Aloe Vera to Alleviate Coughs, Ulcers, Colitis and IBS
Though very little research has been done on the internal use of aloe vera in the human body, a juice made from aloe vera gel is used to alleviate coughs, ulcers, arthritis and immune system deficiencies. When taken internally as a drink, aloe vera is said to control disorders of the stomach and intestines such as gastritis, colitis, stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel disorder in some patients. Its effects are thought to be due to its ability to promote faster movement of food through the bowel with better protein digestion and absorption and normalize the amount of helpful bacteria in the intestines.
Aloe Vera May Help to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Cholesterol
There are also reports of aloe vera having anti-diabetic, anticancer and antibiotic properties that help to reduce the risk of these diseases occurring. Other studies suggest that it may even be useful to help lower blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, reduce blood lipid (fats) levels and even treat some nervous system disorders. However, these findings have not yet been researched extensively enough to make any confirmed claims.
How to Use Aloe Vera Internally
Aloe vera is available in powdered, gel, juice, capsule, cream, lotion and other forms. When processed, pure aloe vera gel is a thin, slightly brownish liquid that may be preserved with citric acid. When exposed to oxygen, aloe vera gel oxidizes quickly, drastically losing its nutrient value, (this reaction is similar to the browning of the inside of cut apples). It is therefore best to use fresh aloe vera within two to four hours after cutting the leaf. When buying aloe vera, look for stabilized products and products from manufacturers which grow and process their own aloe products, so that the aloe remains as fresh as possible. Also look for products that are made of 100% aloe vera as many creams and lotions may only contain a very minute portion of actual aloe, particularly when they contain many ingredients. As some people may experience allergic reactions to aloe vera gel, test a small amount on your wrist before regular use.
There is little research on the internal use of aloe vera; consult your family doctor before self-medicating. Do not consume aloe products that are not made for internal use, as this can cause diarrhea and other harmful reactions.