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THE HERBAL CORNER - "Aloe Vera"
(Angelica atropurpurea)
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Most people are aware that aloe vera is a miracle plant used to promote the healing of burns and skin abrasions. What they may not be aware of is the juice of the aloe vera leaves is extremely beneficial when taken internally. The list of ailments, which aloe vera is known effective against, makes it sound like the Superman of herbal treatments!

It appears that a key active ingredient in aloe is the mucopolysaccharides, which are long chain molecules composed of sugar units. These molecules seem to synergistically enhance the immune system due to the belief that they resemble components of the cell walls of bacteria, thus stimulating immune responses.

Aloe Vera has long, light-green leaves and sagging purple-and-yellow blooms. There are over 200 species and they generally grow in dry climates. The plant yields two therapeutic substances: a translucent gel obtained from the inner leaves and a bitter yellow juice known as latex found just beneath the surface of the leaves. It has been discovered that using the entire leaf, the pulp and the rind, of the aloe barbadensis (true aloe or aloe vera) is more biologically beneficial than using the pulp only. The latex, which contains an active ingredient called aloin, acts as a powerful laxative. The translucent gel works externally to relieve minor burns, skin irritations, and infections. If taken internally, the gel provides relief from stomach disorders, reduces inflammation, and is good for food allergy and colon disorder sufferers.

Aloe may also be helpful for fighting arthritis, substance abuse, aids, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, asthma, lupus, scleroderma, ulcers, shingles, yeast and fungal infections, chronic dermatitis, Crohn's Disease, as well as staph and strep infections!

If too much is used, the aloe latex can cause intestinal cramps, leading to ulcers or irritated bowels. If you are pregnant or have a gastrointestinal illness, aloe vera should be taken internally only upon the advice of a physician, herbalist, or licensed healthcare professional. Beware of lower priced aloe products. Some aloe formulations consist of heavily diluted aloe juice, which produces little, if any, benefit.

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Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.

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