health benefits aloe vera

Aloe Vera Health Benefits

For 5,000 years, many cultures and herbalists around the world have been using aloe vera as a primary medicinal plant. King Solomon used it as his favorite laxative. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine 2,400 years ago, used at least 14 different medicine formulas containing aloe. Alexander the Great conquered an island in order to have aloe for his soldiers.

Aloe thrives on neglect. All the plant needs is decent soil and a little water and sun, then you get to harvest one of Nature’s most versatile and impressive healers. Fresh aloe gel applied topically may be the greatest skin cream on the planet earth. The yellow bitter part of the plant leaf is a proven laxative. And whole-leaf extracts have the ability to gear up the immune system, reduce swelling, improve healing, kill bacteria and viruses, and improve communication between cells (intercellular) and within the cell (intracellular). Aloe plants begin generating medicinally active mannans after 2 or 3 years. Younger plants are relatively ineffective.

Biological Active Ingredients

Of the 300 species of aloe, it is aloe vera that has received the most attention. Aloe certainly typifies the complexity of understanding the healing properties of plants. There are over 200 biologically active ingredients in aloe vera, including prostaglandins, essential fatty acids (including GLA), vitamins, minerals, anthraquinones, and polysaccharides (longer chains of sugar-like molecules).

There are receptor sites on immune cells (macrophages) for D-mannose (one of the sugars in aloe) just like a key fitting a keyhole.

Aloe may help in many ways

Antibacterial & Antifungal Properties

Aloe vera applied topically to burn regions of animals was superior to the common antibacterial medication used, silver sulfadiazine.

Antiviral Activity

Feline leukemia is a form of cancer contracted by cats and caused by a virus. This disease is invariably fatal, with 70% of cats dying within 8 weeks of early symptoms. Most cats are euthanized as soon as the diagnosis is made. In one study, acemannan from aloe was injected weekly for 6 weeks into the cats, with a followup 6-week waiting period. After this 12 week study, 71% of the cats were alive and in good health. Acemannan has also demonstrated a potent ability to fight the flu virus, measles, and the HIV virus, while also reducing the dosage required of the drug AZT.


Drugs, such as cortisone, that are effective at reducing inflammation also shut down wound recovery. Aloe has the ability to reduce swelling, while also enhancing wound recovery.

Immune Stimulant

Aloe has been shown to increase the activity of the immune system. Aloe seems to provide neutrophils with more “bullets”, or toxic substances to kill cancer and invading organisms. Aloe (acemannan) increases the production of nitric oxide, a potent anti-cancer “napalm” used by immune cells.

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Anti-Cancer Activity

Various fractions of aloe (mannans and glucans) have been found to have potent anti-neoplastic activity.


Some forms of mannan are bone marrow stimulants and can protect mice against cobalt-60 radiation. In my experience with cancer patients, those who took aloe before and during radiation therapy had minimal damage of healthy tissue while still getting an impressive anti-cancer effect from the radiation. Generalized radiation to the pelvic region for prostate or colon cancer can be particularly nasty in harming the bladder and gastrointestinal tract. One cancer patient used aloe throughout 40 rounds of pelvic radiation and suffered no burns and only mild GI distress.

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Cell Communication

Many forms of carbohydrates, called glycoproteins, may play a key role in promoting healthy communication within the cell and between cells. Aloe may contribute an important carbohydrate (mannan) that becomes part of this crucial “telegraph system”, which prevents or slows down cancer. Given the 8 monosaccharides used in the body and the 18 configurations used to arrange these molecules, the possible number of “words” in this complex “telegraph” system works out to 18 to the 8th power, or over 11 billion “messages”. No doubt, more important breakthroughs will come out of this new and exciting field of cell communication.

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