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A Feel 21 Health Report

By Tanya Kenevich

Aloe vera has proved to be a primary stale in the soothing of burns, cuts and scrapes. It is also very popular in beauty regimens, and has gained attention for playing a role in immune support.

While aloe vera is commonly found in almost all homes, helping to make that irritating burn or cut feel better, the health benefits surpass what was originally thought of the prickly plant. Even further, its full potential has yet to be discovered, experts believe.

A member of the lily family, aloe vera is not a single plant; in fact, there are 240 different species of aloe. Among the hundreds of aloe species, only four are recognized as having nutritional value. Aloe barbadensis Miller seems to be in the lead - regularly found in most commercial products where aloe is one of the ingredients. The true diamond in the rough of the natural world lies behind the plant's rough and spiky exterior skin: a sticky nutrient-enriched gel. The gel is a prize in itself, containing over 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins, according to the Aloe Vera Studies Organization. These powerful nutrients are the reason why aloe vera became a popular burn-soother.

Most recently science has found that drinking aloe vera gel (as a tonic) offers increased immune support. Researchers believe it's the vast array of amino acids, vitamins and minerals that act as a natural immune enhancer, giving the body a continuous nutrient pool.

With aloe vera's anti-inflammatory benefits, the plant is also being used to soothe ailments ranging from muscle and joint support to relief of irritable bowel syndrome.

Nutrient-rich aloe vera gel might also become a healthful additive to fruits and vegetables. Researchers in Spain have reported that they have developed a gel that can be used as an edible coating on different fruits and vegetables. This gel coating would be able to prolong the life of these foods, as well as maintain the quality and safety.

In a study from Daniel Valero, PhD, of the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante, Spain, grapes were dipped in aloe vera gel. The control group grapes had no gel coating; these grapes deteriorated within seven days. The grapes treated with aloe vera gel stayed well preserved for 35 days, showing the beneficial preservative effects of aloe vera.

The ancient Egyptians called aloe the "Plant of Immortality" because it can live, and even bloom, without soil.

Used medicinally since at least the 1st century A.D., aloe continues to be used extensively in global commerce.

Aloe Vera Supplements and Articles

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2 Sampson, Mark T. "Aloe vera may become the preservation for fresh fruit and vegetables," Medical News Today, Sept. 22, 2005/ (Courtesy of Terry Laboratories)
3 Aloe. American Botanical Council. Herbalgram Botanical Booklet Series. (undated)

This article is reprinted with permission from Vitamin Retailer magazine and is provided for educational purposes only by your local retailer. No part of this article is intended as medical advice. Always consult your health care provider for any medical problems.

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