Health and Fitness

ALOE VERA

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By Nikki Gray

The first time I was introduced to aloe vera I was in Hawaii surfing and I scratched my knee up pretty bad. A local surfer handed me a piece of aloe plant and told me to rub it all over the area.  I asked him, “Really? This is all I need?” He swore by it and said they use it for everything from cuts, sand burn, sun burns and he mentioned it was great orally also. I noticed within a couple days my scratches had pretty much disappeared. In the past they would end up getting much more red, irritated and stick around longer. I was intrigued.

Whether ingested orally or used topically aloe vera has been used for thousands and thousands of years for its many amazing benefits. This is largely due to the fact it is packed with 75 different nutrients and powerful enzymes. Over 6,000 years ago the Egyptians dubbed aloe the “plant of immortality” and it was Cleopatra and Nefertiti’s fountain of youth. Cleopatra insisted it was the reason for her being irresistible. It is still widely used by millions all over the world today. I’m going to share with you a few of the many ways you can use aloe vera to better yourself from the inside out.

DIGESTIVE BENEFITS

Aloe vera when ingested orally is a natural antacid. It is used to diminish heart burn, acid reflux, constipation and general stomach upset. It can be a much better alternative to over the counter antacids. Many over the counter antacids have side effects that not only affect your stomach but your whole body. Especially regular antacid use. Reach for a gulp of aloe juice next time you have heart burn and also get the 75 nutrients to go along with the tamed tummy.

Aloe vera can be very healing for people with digestive issues. It’s naturally soothing and cooling to the stomach. It has been shown to heal ulcers, and soothe issues such as IBS and Crohn’s. Aloe vera can have a stimulating effect as well helping your body to detoxify itself. Many people with sensitive stomachs or any of the above mentioned stomach issues drink aloe vera juice or gel daily with very positive results. I take a mouthful in the morning and a mouthful in the evening (before dinner) when I am having any kind of stomach upset. Whether it’s only for a day or for two months straight, I’ve noticed it is very soothing and cooling to an upset stomach and can make you feel better immediately. According to Eastern medicine, most stomach issues are caused by too much stomach heat. Hence why the cooling effect is so beneficial. This is a great alternative to prescription or over the counter stomach medications (Zantac, Tums). In my opinion it’s okay to take these medications every once in awhile if needed but unfortunately I’ve noticed many people use them daily. They eat things that they know their body doesn’t agree with and then just count on the meds to cover it up afterwards. You should listen to your body. If you feel horrible after eating spicy food or anything in particular you probably shouldn’t have it, rather than have it, feel horrible, then cover the issue. Your body is not reacting well to it for a reason. I’d also like to point out these medications have side effects and can greatly affect nutrient absorption and alter the beneficial bacteria in your stomach.

ARTHRITIS

It is well documented many sufferers of arthritis have had great success when consuming aloe vera regularly. For this condition 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel or juice two-four times a day is recommended.

RAZOR BURN

Apply right after shaving to prevent razor burn or to the affected area. Many men use it as an after shave and many women like to actually use the gel as a shaving cream on sensitive areas to prevent irritation.

PSORIASIS

Many people suffering from psoriasis use aloe topically as a natural remedy with great success and can keep it away completely. Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area twice a day or if you feel a flare up coming on. It has also shown to be helpful when taken orally. In my opinion and in many health expert opinions and psoriasis sufferers, a naturally, beneficially, soothing remedy is much better than topical or oral steroids with countless side effects.

HYPER-PIGMENTATION AND AGE SPOTS

Hyper pigmentation can happen for a number of reasons like hormones or too much sun exposure, even emotional stress. It occurs when there is an excess production of melanin in the skin. Certain areas become darker and can have a patchy look. It can occur all over but many women get it above their upper lip, cheeks, forehead, chest, neck and arms. It is very hard to cover up with makeup and many women that are affected by it are very distressed and insecure about it. There are a number of ways to deal with hyper pigmentation. Retain-A and lasers are two options. I myself have gone the laser route before. Not necessarily for this issue but I have had a couple lasers in the past. I and many girls I know like lasers for “perfecting” your skin but I actually don’t think I would do it again, at least for a good amount of years. I have a few issues with lasers even though I’m grateful they are great for so many problems nowadays and we have them as an option. One downside is that they are usually very expensive. They also hurt and your immune system takes a hit. You feel a little run down and tired for a couple days after especially if you have a sensitive immune system, it can cause things to go a little haywire. You do get the top layer of your face burned off basically. Also the post laser down time. Having to hide out for a couple days due to redness and puffiness. I remember I was surprisingly puffy for a week. I’m all for it if you have the extra money and it doesn’t affect you negatively, lasers are very effective, but I was very happy to hear there are natural remedies that can have similar effects like aloe vera. Many people I’m finding out swear by it and it is much, much cheaper and actually good for your body.

For age spots just dab it on the area a couple times a day, gel is usually easiest and preferred. Results can be seen as early as 4 weeks.

For hyper pigmentation apply aloe vera gel on the affected area and leave on overnight. I’ve noticed it absorbs pretty well so it’s not uncomfortable.

SCARS

It can be an effective and very inexpensive route for scar treatment. Many people use it with great results to erase scars with the gel typically being applied twice a day. Aloe vera helps your skin cells regenerate. Just like the aloe plant regenerates itself when you cut off a leaf, healing itself and closing off the “wound” rapidly. People have been using it for many years to help scars heal beautifully and aloe also has antibacterial properties so it is great at keeping any infection, with new cuts or wounds, at bay. It works best on newer scars so if you start applying aloe early on everything should heal as perfect as can be. The cell regeneration of also helps erase stretch marks. The same applies, the newer the stretch marks, the better the results. Apply aloe gel daily as often as you like but typically twice daily and rub into the skin well.

ACNE

Acne- Aloe vera gel can be used topically as a spot treatment for cystic acne and has shown to rid you of pimples much faster than other remedies and without any burning, scarring or potential pigmentation side effects. Some “pimple creams” on the market can actually burn and scar your skin chemically. Dab it on the pimple twice a day if possible making sure you do before bed. Some people with acne issues just rub aloe vera gel all over their face and leave it over-night with great results. Aloe is miraculously healing; it not only can heal cuts and burns in half the time but also acne. It is very mild and great for your skin so it is a great option for just dabbing on the occasional pimple. Also since it is great in aiding scar removal it can rid you of acne scars.

BEAUTIFUL SKIN

When ingesting the aloe gel or juice regularly people usually notice a major improvement and radiance in their skin from the inside out.

SCALP MASK FOR HAIR GROWTH AND DANDRUFF REMOVAL
The enzymes in aloe vera destroy dead skin cells that can build up on the scalp and create unsightly dandruff. The dead skin cells also clog hair follicles, preventing optimum hair growth. Massage aloe vera gel into scalp, leave on 10 minutes then shampoo and condition as usual. Some use it as an overnight scalp and hair nutrient treatment as well. Many people with dandruff or psoriasis on their scalp are rid of it for good with the use of aloe vera gel. Many consider it the secret for long, beautiful, healthy hair.

Ear infection remedy
One of my friends the other day mentioned his brother had a horrible ear infection when he was younger. Their mother applied aloe vera gel into the ear for a week or two and it took care of it completely. There are many aloe vera ear drops on the market.

* It should be noted that ear infections can obviously be a very serious thing so if you think you need a doctor’s care you should not ignore it, aloe vera could be used to prevent a mild infection from progressing any further.

GEL OR JUICE?

I think when taken orally it is mostly just based on your preference. I feel like they both work pretty equally well but I prefer the gel. I use Lily of the Desert aloe vera gel (99% organic) from Vitamin Shoppe, but it is sold at many different retailers. It’s only $5.99.

Contraindications- Do not take aloe vera gel or juice orally if you are on any blood thinning medications such as Warfarin. Aloe vera can also cause uterine contractions when taken orally so do not take while pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

I recently have been taking a sip of aloe vera gel in the morning and a sip at night. As some may know I recently had an emergency appendectomy and of course along with that come antibiotics on top of pain medication etc. Considering everything I went through recently I have to say the aloe vera gel has my tummy feeling good and my skin looks great.

Nikki Gray CNC
Nikkisbeach.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health issues or illnesses. If you suspect you have a medical problem you should seek professional care from your health care provider.


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