Aloe Vera is a wonderful plant and has many uses; it's most well known as a salve for sunburns. But it's beneficial in supporting a healthy digestive tract and immune system as well. Frankly, most everyone in the United States has a compromised gut in one form or another, varying in degrees of severity. For some people, simply turning to whole, real foods can be the healing protocol they need. But for many other people, the lining of the intestinal tract has become permeable and compromised. This triggers everything from digestive distress, allergies and food intolerances, to severe immune responses.
Aloe Vera gel helps reduce, or relieve inflammation.
It contains enzymes that help break down proteins and food we consume.
It improves the absorption of nutrients consumed.
It boosts immunity.
It contains vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids.
It normalizes and regulates bowel movements.
It can help heal stomach ulcers.
It normalizes stomach pH.
It's a prebiotic; encouraging a healthy gut flora.
It helps heal the lining of the intestinal tract.
Because of it's anti-inflammatory and gut healing qualities, it can be very beneficial to people with IBS, colitis, Crohn's, and other digestive and bowel issues.
It encourages beneficial organisms in the gut.
It has anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities.
It can reduce acid reflux and heartburn.
Because it's anti-inflammatory, help relieve differing types of arthritis.
Essentially, the properties of aloe vera help to heal a compromised intestinal tract lining: a serious condition known as intestinal permeability. Hippocrates said that, "All disease begins in the gut." Truly a healthy gut is a healthy you. The health of our digestive system is critical to our overall health. The anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, pH regulating, enzymes, anti-viral, anti-biotic qualities all work together to heal the gut, improve the flora in the gut while delivering a huge boost to the immune system. While aloe vera is amazing, and can be very beneficial, it needs to be used as a compliment to other healthy practices, such as eating a healthy, whole food diet with plenty of fiber, healthy fat, probiotic and enzyme rich foods, good carbohydrates, and lots of variety. For more information about real food, read posts here.
How to Harvest Fresh, Raw Aloe Vera Gel
1. Cut just enough off of the wide end of the aloe leaf to expose the inner gel.
2. Place it cut end down in a jar for 10-15 minutes. This will allow some of the aloin to drain out.
3. Rinse the aloe leaf well and dry it.
4. Trim the spiny edges off the leaf with a knife.
5. Cut into little sections about 1- 1 1/2 inches wide.
6. Take a little paring knife and horizontally slice top layer of skin off the leaf on the flat side of the leaf.
7. Lay the leaf on a cutting board, skin side down. Take a larger knife and slice horizontally along the bottom layer of skin, kind of like you are filleting a fish. Cut the gel into approximately 1 tablespoon size pieces.
8. Repeat with each section of aloe vera.
9. Reserve the skins in one container and the pieces of gel in another.
10. Rinse the pieces of gel in a colander with cool water.
11. Cover them with cool water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well again with cool water in a colander.
12. Store the skins in the fridge for a week, or freezer for longer term storage. These little gems are wonderful to rub on your skin. One little section of skin, goes a long way. Rub it on your face, or any areas where you might have a rash, or other skin ailment. No need to rinse it off. You can do it in the morning, at night or both.
13. Store the aloe vera gel pieces in the fridge for a week, or freezer for longer term storage. To freeze, place them on a plate or dish and allow them to freeze individually. When frozen they may be placed all together in a container in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge.
14. While not as bitter as the skin and aloin, aloe vera gel is bitter. People try to figure out all kinds of ways to avoid the bitter: They throw it back in their throat, mix it with juice, blend it in a smoothie, take it in a capsule etc. But I'd like to point out here, that experiencing a little bitter flavor is beneficial for your digestion. Read here for information about why bitter flavor is critical for healthy digestion. So, if you're able, I suggest quickly chewing it up and swallowing. You can chase it with a drink, or something else to remove the bitter flavor.
15. Take 1- 2 Tablespoons each day for 4-6 weeks. This is part of a gut healing protocol and long term consumption is not recommended. Please read notes below, before consuming aloe vera.
Do not consume aloe vera gel if you are pregnant, nursing or younger than 12 years old.
Make certain, the variety you intend to harvest is edible, as some varieties are not.
Do not consume aloe vera gel if you are taking prescription, or over the counter medication without consulting with a doctor first.
The green skin and aloin are very bitter. Aside from that, they also act as a laxative, and can be irritating to the digestive tract and bowl. Make sure to remove all of the green skin, rinse well, and follow instructions above, to avoid this problem.
Many of the aloe vera products on the market contain the skin. I always think it's best to harvest your own aloe vera gel, so you know what you are getting. It's also fresh, raw and the nutrients are active and bioavailable.