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Aloe Vera: A miraculous herb

Many people keep Aloe Vera plants at home for its beauty and benefits.

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

A species of Aloe, Aloe Vera originated in the warm and dry climates of Northern Africa. Historical evidence suggests that it is one of the oldest plants having medicinal properties and health benefits. It is one of the most studied herbs in the natural product category because of its health and moisturising benefits.

The overall global consumption of Aloe Vera is on the rise. The product needs no introduction. It is an incredible natural miracle in the field of medical science, cosmetic and food industry. It is becoming an essential ingredient in beauty products and pharmaceuticals. Following the popularity, slow cosmetic movement in Europe aims on the product made from 100 percent natural ingredients combined with more justifiable assertiveness towards beauty and brands that are turning to more eco-friendly products.

Many people keep Aloe Vera plants at home for its beauty and benefits. It contains over 200 biologically active, naturally- occurring constituents, including vitamin, enzymes, amino acids and minerals.

The useful parts of the Aloe Vera are the gel and the latex. The gel is obtained from the cells in the center of the leaf and the latex is obtained from the cells, just beneath the leaf skin.

Health care practitioners use aloe gel to treat skin disorders, wounds, sunburns, radiation burns, dermatitis, diaper rashes, psoriasis, dandruff, scabies and bed sores. As a natural moisturizer, it provides oxygen to the skin and strengthens it within. Aloe Vera has anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties that help to treat mouth ulcers, gum disease, and dental plaque.

Aloe latex is taken by mouth for seizures, asthma, colds, lack of menstrual period, swelling of the colon, depression, diabetes, glaucoma, vision disorders, varicose veins and joint inflammation. It promotes digestive health, nutrition absorption, healthy immune system and the reduction of nitrates. The plant is also thought to soothe arthritis and rheumatism.

aloe vera gel

Applying aloe gel is safe but consuming it in unprocessed form from the latex can cause several side effects leading to major health problems if consumed in excess quantity. It can cause diarrhoea as it contains a substance called anthraquinone, if the laxative is consumed beyond moderation. Excess usage can lower the blood sugar and potassium levels.

Sometimes Aloe Vera juice may result in skin rash, itchy or swollen skin, chest pain, throat irritation and difficulty in breathing. If you feel these allergic reactions, stop consuming it immediately. Pregnant and lactating women should never consume Aloe Vera juice due to its purgative and irritant qualities. It can lead to miscarriage and birth defects. Lactating mothers are forbidden from its consumption because of the presence of anthraquinone which may lead to diarrhea, causing risk to the health of both mother as well as child. Prolonged usage of Aloe Vera juice can cause blood accumulation in the pelvis which may lead to kidney damage. The most alarming thing is that consuming it for more than a year can cause pseudomelanosis coli, a condition which increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

Too much of anything can destroy you, so don’t exceed the recommended usage of Aloe Vera juice. Consult your doctor before starting its consumption, especially if you are undergoing a medical treatment. It is good to love its astounding doles but loving them too much may spoil them. Let it be a blessing of nature and not a disaster.