Ode to aloe vera

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

Can you explore some of the uses of aloe vera in both health and beauty? I've heard it's good to use as a wash-out, but I'm sure there are many other benefits.

Aloe vera is a succulent plant which is found in many tropical, subtropical, and arid areas of the world. It is widely used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Aloe vera has an estimated market value of upward of $13 billion globally.

Aloe vera is recognised by its green leaves which contain a slimy tissue that stores water. This makes the leaves thick. The slimy, water-filled tissue is the “gel” that is used in the aloe vera products. This gel contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and many other important substances.

People have used aloe vera for centuries to address health and beauty concerns. It should be noted that although the uses of aloe vera have been well established in folk medicine and culture, many of the claims have not been the subject of scientific investigation and many people in the medical and scientific world are still sceptical about some of the claims made about aloe vera. However, I will say that for those of us who use aloe vera, the proof is in the use.

Aloe vera has been used for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It contains substances called polyphenols. These polyphenols, in combination with other substances found in aloe vera, can help to inhibit the growth of bacteria which can cause diseases.

In addition, there is some evidence that aloe vera can slow down the skin's ageing process. The gel from aloe vera has been shown to increase collagen production, and has also been used topically in the treatment of sores and burns, including sunburn. Aloe vera has been shown to increase wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area and prevent the cells around the wound from dying.

Aloe vera has also been used extensively in hair products. This might be due to the high amount of minerals, vitamins and other substances linked to hair growth and nutrition. Aloe vera is abundant in copper and zinc, which are important in hair growth. It has also been used to reduce dental plaque which can cause tooth decay.

In addition, the aloe vera is effective in managing diabetes. It is generally believed that aloe vera enhances insulin sensitivity and helps to improve blood sugar management.

The body's immunity can also be boosted by aloe vera. The vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants all help to strengthen the immune system and make the body alkaline.

Aloe vera helps with digestion and detoxification. It can therefore help the body to maintain a healthy weight. It can be used as a laxative and helps in detoxing the body. However, you will have to muscle through the bitter taste when consuming it as a drink.

The good thing about aloe vera is that it is very gentle on the intestines and can be used by both adults and children. It will increase bowel motion, but at the same time allow you to be functional.

Now might be a good time to do a aloe vera detox for nine days. There might still be some junk hanging around in your gut from all the Christmas eating. Here's my treat: What you can do is get a large leaf of aloe vera and wash it. You can then cut it up (you don't have to peel it) and put it in a open container with half gallon of water on the top shelf of the fridge. We are mainly interested in the water soluble component of aloe vera. You will notice that the water changes colour, but don't panic. Drink four to six ounces per night for nine nights.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.




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