The scientific name for the type of aloe used medicinally is Aloe barbadensis. It is a member of the lily and onion family of plants.
Aloe falls into the category of plants known as succulents which denote thick and fleshy leaves and stems that are used to store water during arid conditions. Because of this ability to thrive in areas of low humidity succulents such as aloe thrive as house plants. It is also possible to grow aloe as a potted plant that is allowed to summer outside and winter inside if the climate is requires.
Aloe is like most succulents in that it likes sandy well draining soil. Modest amounts of water and fertilizer are needed to grow aloe; however, they do require high amounts of sunlight. When watering it is important to thoroughly wet the soil then allow to completely dry out before subsequent watering in order to not distort the growth. Aloe may be propagated through the use of stem cuttings.
Aloe Nutritional Values
Aloe Vera Pulp Juice
Serving size – 1 cup
Total Carbs 27 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sodium 25 mg
Potassium 0 mg
Sugars 23 g
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated 0 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g
Monounsaturated 0 g
Trans 0 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 70%
Aloe Health Benefits
Aloe has been used as a skin soother historically. It is helpful with soothing cuts, burns, sunburns, bug bites, and scrapes.
Carrisyn which is an extract made from aloe is known to increase the production of blood cells which can fight infection and as a result help to boost the immune system.
Aloe is good for occasional gastric upset. Aloe may also be used as a natural laxative. The typical dose is 1 to 3 ounces of gel or 50 to 200 mg. The component of aloe that provides the laxative effect is anthraquinone glycosides.
Getting the Most Out of Aloe
Aloe is best used topically in the raw natural form. After the “gel” has been used one can also cut the leaf lengthwise to use as an exfoliating body scrub.
Aloe may also be drunk as a juice; however, it is best and most nutritious made fresh.
Aloe Concerns and Cautions
If too much aloe is ingested it may cause diarrhea and gastric upset.
Aloe can also cause an allergic reaction in some people so use must be carefully monitored for signs and symptoms. The risk of an allergic reaction tends to be higher in those who have a known allergy to onions and/or garlic.
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should abstain from using aloe.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of aloe?
Should You Be Sipping Aloe Vera Juice This Summer? from ABC News
Aloe Vera from National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Growing Aloe and Other Succulents from the University of Minnesota Extension