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About Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is seen in the eyes of many as simply a folk remedy used for quick relief of minor cuts and burns, while to others it is a decorative houseplant.

To some, it the latest wonder in ‘natural ingredient’. Aloe vera is this and much more. This truly impressive plant has certainly stood the test of time.

It has not only captured the interest of scientists and researchers globally, they are in fact working to discover and identify the source of the healing properties of the soothing gel that is stored in the leaf.

There are literally around 300 or more different types of species of Aloe. The variety, Aloe barbadensis Miller (botanical name), commonly called Aloe vera, is highly regarded and recognised for its amazing soothing abilities. Even though Aloe vera looks more like a cactus, it belongs botanically to the family of liliaceous plants which grows well in subtropical areas and in desert soil. The flowers of Aloe vera are bright yellow while the greyish green, fleshy and spiky leaves can grow to 60cm long, forming a rosette. After a growth of four to five years, the plant can be harvested. This time span is needed for accumulating a satisfactory amount of the valuable nutrients and substances that are so valuable to our wellness.

This semi-tropical plant has a long and noble history, dating from biblical times. The virtues of this plant have been recorded by many great civilisations from Persia and Egypt to those of India and the African Continent.

It was reputedly used in Egyptian embalming procedures, as drawings of Aloe Vera have been found on cave walls in the region. The Greeks felt it held the key to life's mysteries and the American Indians revered what we call today, "The Burn Plant". The first reference to Aloe vera in English was a translation by John Goodyew in A.D. 1655 of Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica. Legend has it that Aloe vera was one of Cleopatra’s secrets for keeping her skin soft. Alexander the Great is said to have acquired Madagascar so that he could utilise the Aloe vera growing there to treat soldier’s wounds. It is also a remedy which has long been used in the Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Aloe is an integral part of Chinese cultures up to the present day. Aloe Vera is one of the oldest plants known to man & it still receives the highest interest.

Aloe vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the Aloe species and has been renowned for thousands of years across many cultures for its overall health wellness. Analysis done by researchers has revealed that the clear gel extract in the Aloe Vera contains amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, proteins, polysaccharides and biological stimulators.

“The potency of Aloe vera is due to its rich variety of ingredients which are present in perfect balance, and work together as a team. Although the solid portion of the plant forms only 1%-1.5%, the rest being water, this small amount of active ingredient can produce a substantial effect. The only way to account for this is to accept the philosophy of synergism within the plant. Synergism means that the effect of the whole is greater than the effects of the component parts, so although individual members of the team could only have an effect, together they can achieve a great deal more.” (‘Aloe Vera – The Medicine Plant’, Dr Peter Atherton, p25)

What becomes apparent to anyone approaching the subject of Aloe in depth, is the multitude historical references available. This observation  affirms a significant piece of information - the therapeutic values of this plant have been known and used since ancient times.

Aloe vera has been renowned for thousands of years across many cultures for its overall health benefits. It has been appreciated by many for its unique spectrum of ‘micronutrients’.

Vitamins: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Niacin

Vitamins help the body perform various biological processes which makes them a very important part of our diet. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.

Vitamin A -  commonly known as the vitamin needed for good eyesight. Along with promoting vision, it is essential for healthy skin and tissue

Vitamin B1 – supplying energy to tissues and brain function

Vitamin B2 – making vitamin B6 active in the body and build up of red blood cells

Vitamin B6 – is a co-enzyme. Needed for efficient functioning of the nervous system

Vitamin B12 – essential in the utilisation of protein & formation of red blood cells. Lack of B12 can lead to anaemia.

Vitamin C – essential to the immune system. Helps in the production of collagen and helps to maintain healthy skin, joints, tissue and bones.

Folic Acid -  aiding rapid cell division and growth

Niacin – helps keep skin, hair and liver healthy. Is necessary for nervous system and digestive system to function properly. Helps convert food to energy

Minerals

Minerals cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in our diet. Minerals and trace elements support the body in carrying out important bodily functions.

Calcium – essential for healthy formation of teeth, bones and in muscle contractions and heart function

Iron – Involved in the transportation of oxygen

Manganese – helps to activate enzymes and detoxification of the body. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Potassium – helps regulate and maintain fluid balance in the body

Sodium – aids in the transport of nutrients into body cells & maintain water balance throughout body

Zinc – essential for growth, skin integrity, support a healthy immune and digestive system

Magnesium – required for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Along with calcium, it helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Helps strengthen teeth and bones. Shown to enable the metabolism of vitamin D. Considered as an excellent anti-stress mineral.

Enzymes

Enzymes are critical to both human and animal life. Their function is simply to break down the proteins in the food we eat into amino acids. These are
then absorbed by the body and converted back by the enzymes into body protein. Essentially, enzymes turn the food we eat into fuel for every cell in our body, so enabling those cells to function and our body to operate efficiently. Together with vitamins, minerals and trace elements, they contribute to all chemical processes in the human body. The enzymes in Aloe Vera are known to regulate intestinal activity and assisting in the break up of food elements (fats,proteins,sugars) thus making them utilisable for the body.

Amylase, Bradykinase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Oxidase,Alkaline phosphatase,Proteolytiase,Creatine-Phosphokinase,Carboxypeptidase

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the basic frame of the body. They are the building blocks of every cell in the body from the hair to the feet and there are literally millions of these building blocks linked together as proteins throughout the body. Amino acids are chemically active and are involved in every chemical reaction throughout the body. There are a total of 20 amino acids and they are broken down into 2 groups, the essential and non-essential amino acids. The essential amino acids must be received by diet or supplementation and non essential amino acids are produced by the body. Many times the non essential aminos are chemical conversions from the essential amino acids or combinations thereof. From mental health, to bone development and maintenance, weight management, muscle development and maintenance, thyroid, digestion, energy and metabolism, amino acids are involved in virtually every bodily function. They are critical to life.

Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanie, Threonine, Valine,Thryptophan, Alanine, Arginine, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Thyrosine, Glutamine, Aspartic acid

Acemannan

The Aloe Vera plant is known to be a rich source of simple and long chain sugars. The long chain sugars are known as polysaccharides, which In the opinion of some researches, are as vital to the body as bricks to a house. Aloe Vera is especially rich in one such complex carbohydrate, known as Acemannan and is considered to be one of Aloe Vera’s active ingredient. Most agree that these polysaccharides must act synergistically with all the other nutritional compounds found in the Aloe Vera in order to make such a positive health impact. It is believed that the polysaccharides in the Aloe Vera work by interacting with the immune system, boosting it rather than overriding it. It is known to stimulate the digestive tracts receptivity to vitamins, minerals, nutrients & strengthening the immune system.

Other Agents

In addition to these substances, Aloe Vera has many other  ingredients that provide health & well-being

Lignins, Salicylic acid, Saponins,Lupeol, Campesterol, & Beta-Sitosterol ((plant sterols),Malic Acid.