A common use of Aloe Vera is as a healing balm for cuts, wounds, burns and abrasions. Often the leaf of this succulent plant is cut or snapped open to reveal the healing gel which can then be applied directly to the affected area. Aloe Vera gels and lotions are also widely available.
Aloe acts in two ways; one effect relieves the inflammation and associated pain and the other effect heals the damaged tissue. Many internal illnesses involve inflammatory processes and so Aloe Vera can be successfully used to aid healing of these conditions.
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to any form of damage whether it stems from physical, chemical, bacterial or auto-immune assault. Inflammation is a complex process but is the body’s mechanism for dealing with invasion by foreign organisms or substances and then the subsequent repair.
Acute inflammation is a sudden and strong reaction to damage which takes effect quite suddenly. Most people will be familiar with its main effects, namely swelling, heat, redness and pain. Cells in the area of trauma or damage release chemical messengers which cause the local blood vessels to enlarge thereby increasing blood flow. This accounts for the redness and the heat. Next protein rich fluid is forced into areas between the cell walls which causes swelling of the tissues. At the same time the increase in fluid dilutes any toxins and lymph flow is increased to carry them away. These extra proteins contain immune antibodies and materials to form clots and barriers to prevent the spread of any bacteria. Certain types of white blood cells then move into these inter-cellular spaces towards the site of damage or infection, where they then proceed to attack bacteria and mop up any damaged cells and debris. The ability of these white blood cells to overcome the bacteria depends upon their vitality and activity levels, which in turn depends upon nutrition, dietary stimulants and the overall toxic load of the body.
Chronic Inflammation occurs when the cause of the inflammation is applied continuously. Chronic inflammation will happen when:
- there is repeated exposure to an irritant
- there are bacteria which resist removal
- there are internal toxins which the body lacks the ability to remove
- there is a foreign body in the tissues
- there is an auto-immune condition
The body continually repeats the processes outlined above but fails to make much headway. The overall effect is tissue damage in the affected areas. This is slight at first but becomes more extensive as time goes on. As time goes on this process is irreversible.
Chronic inflammation underlies many pathological processes and is associated with many common chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s, diabetes, psoriasis, tendonitis, ulcers, arthritis, and cancer.
One of the fundamental actions of Aloe Vera is its anti-inflammatory effects. Not only is there a long history and folk lore of its use for burns, cuts, wounds and abrasions, but there are a significant amount of research papers detailing its anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe has this effect is because it contains plant steroids, (Steroids generally exert an anti-inflammatory effect) and particular enzymes which reduce inflammatory activity. Aloe also contains very powerful promoters of healing.
Aloe vera is not the only natural medicine which can relieve inflammation but it is probably one of the best because it combines powerful anti-inflammatory properties with the ability to heal damaged tissue. At the same time it also stimulates the immune system.
So if you suffer from a chronic disease where inflammation plays a part then you would benefit from using Aloe Vera internally.