Kumari, Goddess, Aloe, my Love

Aloe Vera is a true healer with varying medicinal properties and numerous uses both topically and internally by people all over the globe. Aloe is probably most well known as a skin healer since the gooey gel of the plant is vulnerary- it promotes tissue repair. Aloe is healing for wounds or injuries of all sorts; Burns, cuts, bug bites, bruises, acne and blemishes, poison oak, welts, skin ulcers and eczema!

Aloe is called “kumari” in Sanskrit which means “goddess.” Women in East India use aloe daily to maintain beauty and counteract symptoms of aging. Ayurvedic medicine revers aloe for its vitalizing and tonic properties for women. Chinese medicine touts aloe as the best herbal tonic for building kidney and liver yin.

Many stores carry aloe vera gel in bottles but I prefer to use aloe fresh from the plant. It flourishes in our Mediterranean climate and it’s easy to use. Just pull a leaf from the base of the stalk, as close to the center as possible.  With a knife, in one swoop you can trim the spikes off the sides of the leaf and then with your knife in the gel, in between the top and bottom green parts, just slide the knife through to separate and then apply the gel directly to the skin! You can use your thumb to access deeper layers of the gooey good stuff.

Aloe vera’s healing power extends further into the body when ingested. Aloe vera juice is best in its whole leaf form with no extra water added and preferably with the yellow sap still in the end product. According to Dr. Robert Davis, Ph.D., microbiologist and renowned Aloe Vera researcher, the entire leaf may contain as many as 200 active elements not available in the inner gel alone. The valuable yellow sap is only found in whole leaf Aloe Vera products. Many companies filter out all of the yellow sap even if Whole Leaf is indicated.  Aloe Vera is a succulent with 99% of the juice being water and 1% containing the 200 beneficial solids or active ingredients.

Here’s a few of the most common uses of aloe~

Allergies: Studies show that Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Juice Concentrate can help to provide relief from Allergies and Hay fever due to Pollen, Dander, Chemicals, Perfume, Dust Mites and Foods. By drinking Aloe Vera Juice in a concentrated form daily, you provide the body with protein and flavanoids needed to address allergy sensitivity. Aloe Vera has an acidic pH but it helps to encourage the body to secrete proper amounts of hydrochloric acid to improve digestion and absorption. Many people suffering from allergies have weak digestion which does not allow the body to receive the nutritional benefits from foods and supplements.  When your body is able to access and absorb the proper nutrients, you can begin to build up the collagen and tissue structure to screen out the allergies.  There’s a glycomannan complex present in whole leaf aloe vera that helps to provide additional support to strengthen the tissue cell walls.  Natural anti-inflammatory and analgesics found in the yellow sap of the aloe help to reduce swelling, pain and skin irritation.

Candida: Candida Albicans is a very ornery fungus that is present in most people in varying amounts. When present in large amounts, Candida can cause many problems in the body. Some of the symptoms include a white coated tongue, yeast and fungal infections, jock itch, allergic reactions, chemical sensitivity and poor digestion.  Studies have shown that aloe vera juice in combination with a good probiotic (which I discussed last week) can be effective in combating these pesky little fungi.

Skin issues/Liver: Many skin issues come about as a result of toxins building up in the liver. Aloe vera juice has wonderful detoxifying properties. I just throw aloe in my smoothies but you can drink it straight up or if it’s a little too bitter for you, add it to juice. Some companies also have flavored options. Aloe Life has a cherry aloe juice that’s amazing. Western Herbalism suggests that aloe taken daily in combination with turmeric for at least three months can regulate liver function which in turn can help counteract symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Digestion/Immune System: Aloe vera contains amino acids, electrolytes, food enzymes, and essential fatty acids, all contributing to energy production by the body. Immune function is enhanced by the polysaccharides that aloe contains as well as by stimulating macrophage, white blood cells and lymphocyte production. Digestive function is greatly improved by the cathartic effect of the aloe, making it a gentle bowel mover. It helps the proper functioning of the glandular systems, the stomach, pancreas, gallbladder and liver. It supports kidney function and detoxes the liver, colon and skin.

As you can see, Aloe Vera is one of the most medicinal plants around. And it grows so easily here in SB! So the next time you stay out in the sun too long or you’re feeling a little backed up, see if aloe vera does the trick.

~Also, check out Yoga Santa Barbara Style on Channel 17 to see my Food for Thought segment on aloe vera.


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