Aloe Vera - an ancient natural remedy has achieved great fame for several years. Meanwhile, many medical and cosmetic products contain aloe vera. Outwardly and inwardly, Aloe Vera is used as a nutritional supplement and it is awarded true healing powers: It should be immune-strengthening and pain-relieving, a balm for the thin-skinned, polluted people. What is the myth of this miracle plant?
Aloe vera - the desert lily
The plant Aloe Vera is tough and not very pliable, its leaves are covered by a layer of wax and armed with thin thorns and teeth on the edge. The plant is inconspicuous and not exactly beautiful, as if she did not want to reveal her nature lightly. It reminds of a cactus plant, looks like an agave and yet it belongs to the family of lily plants - just like onion or garlic.
Aloe Vera comes from the subtropical desert regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where over the thousands of years of her development she has learned to protect her precious interior from environmental influences. The plant forms its own nutrients and stores the water it needs to survive. Of the approximately 300 plant species, the "Aloe Vera barbadensis miller" is considered to be the most effective. By the way, as well as the entire plant, Aloe Vera is also referred to as the gelatinous interior of the plant.
Active ingredients of aloe vera
The well-protected active ingredients of the plant lie in the leaf interior, embedded in a gel, which consists largely of water. The most important active ingredient is the polysaccharide acemannan. It is a long-chain sugar form, a vital carbohydrate - even for humans. The produces Acemannan namely only until puberty, then it must be fed through the food.
Acemannan is incorporated into the cell membranes and strengthens the entire organism against parasites such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. It is immune-boosting, because it activates and stimulates the cells responsible for the defense. Aloe vera increases the number of T-killer cells, monocytes, lymphocytes and red blood cells and increases their activity.
Aloe Vera: effect and application
The Aloe vera leaf contains about 200 active ingredients, including numerous vitamins, enzymes and minerals, amino acids, essential oils and analgesic salicylic acid. The viscous, slimy gel from the fresh leaf is absorbed very quickly by the skin. It cools sunburn and insect bites and, thanks to its antibacterial effect, heals wounds, which the ancient warriors already knew. The gel of aloe vera should also help with radiation damage caused by radiotherapy during cell renewal.
As a food, the desert lily is said to have a positive effect on many civilization diseases: Aloe vera is said to have an effect on indigestion, allergies, asthma, fungal diseases and diabetes. In addition, it is used in cancer and AIDS therapy as a food supplement because it is designed to mobilize the body's defenses. In addition, it should regenerate the intestinal flora, the strongest defense organ of humans at all.
Side effects of aloe vera
So is Aloe Vera a miracle cure? From a pharmaceutical point of view, the whole thing looks a little different. Because in the leaf bark of the desert lily Aloin is contained, a bitter substance, which the plant uses for protection and which has a laxative effect. An overdose of aloin can have serious consequences.
Documentation on adverse effects can be found on the websites of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here are listed about 30 cases of severe ailments associated with aloe vera. These include blood pressure fluctuations and panic attacks. Side effects such as pancreatitis - a disease of the pancreas - and kidney failure have also been reported in combination with other herbal ingredients and vitamins.
Aloe Vera is a miracle weapon against diseases, but the promises should be met with skepticism, especially in the case of serious illnesses. In animal experiments, the healing effects of aloe vera have been repeatedly proven, but various clinical applications in humans have so far only a positive effect on skin diseases. This is especially true for sunburn and skin injuries.
Products in trade with aloe vera
The myth Aloe Vera is firmly anchored in human history, even the Egyptians appreciated the plant as a beauty product and used the gel in ointments and oils. For some years, the trade in aloe vera products has been flourishing in Germany as well, with an almost unmanageable number of suppliers on the market today.
The salutary active ingredients of the aloe vera gel are best obtained from the fresh leaf, which can now be purchased in Germany from various suppliers. If it is stored refrigerated, it will last a few months without any problems: If necessary, cut off a piece of the leaf, carefully fillet the marrow and mix it, for example, with fruit pureed in fruit juices. In this form, the vitamins, enzymes and minerals are 100 percent preserved. Although finished aloe vera products such as ointments or juices often declare "100 percent aloe vera" - this statement provides no information as to whether the leaf gel has been dried, powdered or added as a concentrate.
The labels of aloe vera products should fully explain all ingredients, with an indication of the addition "water" (lat. "Aqua") is an extract. Additives and preservatives should not be included in the products. Many products have a seal of approval from the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), which examines the purity and quantity of the aloe vera gel contained in each product.