Aloe vera is the plant of wonders!
It has been used since ancient times for strength, health and wellness. It is a succulent xerophytic plant, grown in the warm climates of Asia, Europe and America.
The little plant with thick succulent leaves is the jack of all traits.
Aloe vera finds its usage in treating various diseases including lung cancer, intestinal problems, helps in wound healing, protects against frost bite, minimises damage due to x-rays, helps in treating burns, increases high density lipoprotein (HDL), reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL), reduces blood sugar and increases immunity in AIDS, and also helps to fight against allergies.
Aloe vera has been shown to have numerous active ingredient, which includes vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, sugars, enzymes, amino acids and salicylic acid.
These ingredients make aloe vera to possess various healing properties and other biological effects, thus making it useful in various aspects of life.
Aloe vera Leaf structure
Leaf has four layers:
- Rind: This is the outer protective layer of the leaf. You tough this layer when you touch an aloe leaf. Do not underestimate this layer, this is where synthesis of all health nutrients found in aloe vera is synthesized!
- Sap: Nature has given aloe vera amazing protection from animals. Sap layer is a bitter layer and because of this animals do not prefer eating aloes. Thus it provides chemical based protection to the aloe plant
- Mucilage: This is basically a think and gluey substance. Mucilage is produced by almost all plants. Its primary function is to help store water and food. Its thickness may vary, for example, aloe vera has far more mucilage than other plants.
- Gel: This is the key layer which is filled gelatinous gel with great nutrition and health benefits. This is the largest section of the leaf.
Having understood what aloe vera leaf structure is, it would be easier to appreciate how is juice is prepared. Aloe vera leaves can be processed in two different ways to produce aloe vera juice.
What is Aloe Vera Juice?
Aloe vera juice can be produced in two key ways. In first complete aloe vera leaf is used while in the second only inner part of the aloe leaf is used.
Aloe vera leaf juice (whole leaf)
In this process, complete aloe vera leaf is taken. The next step is to grind them up using maceration.
In maceration, the softening and breaking is done using a liquid.
All aloe parts except the rind are soft. Enzymes are used to break down the rind and anything which are solid.
This slurry is then filtered. The filtration process not only removes the solid parts but also any other unwanted ones such as the bitter sap. What is left is aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera juice using the inner part of the leaf
This is a slightly different process where the outer layer – rind is mechanically or manually removed followed by removal of aloe latex (bitter tasting sap).
What remains of the aloe leaf is then processed to make aloe vera juice.
Which Aloe Vera juice best?
There is no simple answer to this question.
There are so many kinds of aloe vera juice available.
They are categorized based on the type of aloe vera used (organic or not organic), the percentage of aloe (80%, 9% and so on), kind of processing (whole leaf or inner leaf) and so on.
What one needs to take care of is to buy a product from a brand which is certified.
In the case of USA, such certification is provided by USFDA and also by special Aloe agency – International Aloe Science Council (IASC).
Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera has numerous health benefits, which make them a unique and powerful ingredient in the medicinal field. Some of the benefits of aloe vera are as follows:
1. It supports wound healing
The wound healing includes the formation of the new tissue at the injured area.
Collagen is the main protein responsible for the process of wound healing by forming cross-links between the new tissues.
Aloe vera has been found to increase the amount of collagen in the tissue and also helps in the degree of cross-linking.
It is found that a lectin (protein) in aloe vera is responsible for the increased collage activity.
The aloe vera juice can thus be orally consumed for healing the wounds.
What does this mean? Aloe vera has been shown to increase the collagen and its activity in the wounds and thus help in its easy healing.
2. It reduces inflammation
Inflammation is considered as a body’s response to harmful stimuli. Inflammation can sometimes cause discomfort and needs to be reduced.
Aloe vera can be very helpful in treating the inflammation.
Aloe vera inhibits various pathways that lead to inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory compound has been found in aloe vera called C-glucosyl chromone, which has proven to decrease the inflammation.
It has been proven that the consumption of aloe vera juice can have a therapeutic effect on inflammatory bowel syndrome.
What does this mean? The consumption of aloe vera juice has been proven to improve the inflammation caused due to various infections.
3. It regulates immune responses
The aloe vera has been shown to increase the immune response in the body.
It has been found that aloe vera has an immunomodulator - Acemannan, which has shown to generate an immune response and also increases the number of immune cells in the body.
There are many polysaccharides which have been isolated from aloe vera and have shown to have anti-tumour activity.
Thus aloe vera can have an immunomodulatory effect and its consumption can increase the immune response generated by the body.
What does this mean? The aloe vera consumption boosts the body’s immune system and helps the body to fight against diseases.
4. It has antiviral activity
Viruses have been found to be very dangerous organisms as they cause numerous infectious diseases.
The viruses have an external envelope that protects them from an external environment.
Aloe vera has been found to possess anti-viral activity.
Aloe vera consists of anthraquinone called aloin, which disrupts the external envelope of viruses like herpes simplex, varicella zoster and influenza and inactivates them.
What does this mean? Aloe vera has been seen to possess the anti-viral activity because it kills the virus by disrupting their envelopes and inhibiting their growth.
5. It has antiseptic property
Aloe vera has many antiseptic compounds including salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, lupeol and sulphur.
These antiseptic compounds have been shown to have been proven to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity.
The aloe vera gel has been proven to show anti-bacterial property towards both gram positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Aloe vera has been shown to be effective against Streptococcus bacteria and Candida (fungus), showing its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity.
What does this mean? The aloe vera contains many antiseptic compounds which act against the bacteria, fungus and viruses and prevents infection.
6. It can benefit in diabetes
The aloe vera juice has been found to lower the blood glucose level which is helpful for the patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
It has been shown that the consumption of aloe vera by type 2 diabetes patients significantly reduced the blood glucose level and cholesterol level in them.
It was found that the reduction of the circulating blood glucose level was done by decreasing insulin resistance .
What does this mean? Aloe vera juice has been shown to lower the blood sugar level and can thus be used to treat cancer.
7. It protects heart health
Aloe vera has a protective effect towards the heart.
It lowers the LDL cholesterol, increases the HDL cholesterol, reduces the triglycerides, lowers the blood pressure, and stabilizes the heart rhythm.
Aloe vera is proven to be effective in reducing the development of atherosclerosis by modifications in the risk factors. It also detoxifies the blood and promotes the heart health.
What does this mean? The aloe vera is very useful for reducing the cholesterol and protects the heart from any kind of ailments.
8. It benefits to skin health
Increased exposure of the skin to UV radiation can lead to many skin diseases including sunburn, premature ageing and even skin cancer.
Aloe vera has been found to have beneficial effects on the skin.
Aloe vera contains acemannan, which has proven to reduce the skin reactions caused due to exposure to the radiation.
The use of aloe vera has been shown to reduce the hypersensitivity reaction by reducing the production of a chemical which promotes the skin damage.
Aloe vera also helps in improving the wrinkles and the elasticity of the skin by improving the collagen content in it.
What does this mean? Aloe vera has protective effects on the skin and protects the skin from radiation and ageing.
9. It has anti-cancer activity
We are exposed to carcinogens at a very high rate, which leads to cancerous effects.
The natural extracts can be very much useful for cancer control as they are non-toxic and effective.
Aloe vera has been shown to possess anti-cancerous activity as well. Treatment of tumour cells with aloe vera showed no growth of the cells whereas the normal human cells showed growth and proliferation.
This was due to the lectin-like substance present in aloe vera.
The anti-tumour activity in aloe vera is due to the presence of antioxidants, glutathione peroxidise, superoxide dismutase, minerals and polysaccharides.
What does this mean? Aloe vera has anti-cancerous activity which can be used to treat the tumour cells and prevent cancer
10. It benefits oral and dental health
Aloe vera is proven to benefit the oral and dental hygiene.
It has been proven to improve quality of life and reduce the pain in patients suffering from Oral Lichen Planus .
It has also been proven that aloe vera can be used to treat oral sub-mucosal fibrosis.
Aloe vera reduces the burning sensation and improves oral function in the patients and acts as an economic and effective treatment for Oral Sub-mucosal Fibrosis .
Presence of aloe vera in the toothpaste can have anti-microbial effect and can be used to cure the dental microbial infection.
What does this mean? The use of aloe vera can be helpful in treating various oral and dental problems in a cheap and effective manner.
The Dosage of Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice has a number of positive effects on health.
Aloe vera juice can be directly consumed (30 ml) twice a day with or without water (empty stomach in the morning and 30 minutes before dinner or bedtime).
The dosage can be increased or decreased based on the effectiveness and the needs of the patient.
The herbs are mainly used for the strengthening of the body and treating of a disease.
These can sometimes interact with other herbs, supplements or medications and can trigger side effects, thus these must be taken under the supervision of the healthcare professionals.
Oral consumption may also cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhoea. Consumption of aloe vera by pregnant women may cause uterine contractions, which may lead to miscarriage.
Consumption of aloe vera by breastfeeding women may also cause the health problem in the children. Prolonged consumption of aloe vera can also cause kidney damage .
Where to Get Aloe Vera Juice
Buying online through portals like Amazon
Online buying of aloe vera juice is one of the simplest of all ways.
Even when none of your nearby shops stock aloe vera juice you can still get a bottle by ordering through portals such as Amazon.
Online buying of aloe vera juice also provides flexibility in terms of price and brand comparison which is missing in most brick and mortar shops.
Secondly, in most cases buying aloe vera juice from portals such as Amazon proves to be economical than from pharmacies/shops.
Another advantage is you can read reviews of users who have used a brand and can get a feel of what people think about it. I would advise not to take the reviews too seriously as many of them are promoted reviews and thus may be biased.
Here is the link to top-selling Aloe Vera Juices on Amazon>
Buying from local farmer/producer portals
Aloe vera juice is not like orange juice and not produced in massive quantities.
It is a niche juice and because of this organic farmers and producers also run their own portals and shops to sell aloe vera juice.
This option can be great if you know that the supplier is trusted and has all required safety and food certifications.
This option works best in case of organic juice as one can actually visit the farm and confirm.
But even when you can personally see always buy from vendors which are certified, especially in case of organic juice.
Unfortunately, the certification system is weak or non-existent in most countries except some. So be careful.
Making your own aloe vera juice
This is possible only if you own a small land or a greenhouse where you can grow aloe vera plants or you know ways to procure aloe vera leaves.
There are benefits in making your own aloe vera juice as you can be sure of quality and additives etc. But still, I would only recommend this option if you cannot get good aloe vera juice from any other source.
There is another reason for this – aloe vera juicing is unlike other juices such as apple, orange, etc. There is much more processing required removing the outer leaf layer (rind) etc.
If not removed the strong laxative properties of aloe are passed on into the juice which can cause stomach trouble.
This is not to say one cannot prepare aloe vera juice on its own, but it is not as easy as making other fruit juices.
Aloe vera has its applications recorded in the ancient cultures of India, China, Egypt, Rome and Greece. It has been very effective in curing various diseases.
It has proven healing properties such as, anti-inflammatory activity and antimicrobial activity which helps in the faster healing of wounds. Aloe vera also strengthens the immune system and helps the body to fight infection.
It has been proven to cure heart diseases, diabetes, constipation and many other diseases. Thus aloe vera acts as the perfect elixir for a healthy life.