Aloe Vera is a common household plant and one that has many health benefits. The most common use of aloe vera gel is soothing burnt skin from excessive sun exposure or reactions to chemicals. During the summer people often use aloe gel for burns or dry irritated skin. Instead of buying commercially made aloe gel try the fresh pulp as it is more effective.
Aloe plants are easy to grow inside or if your climate permits outdoors. To use the plant cut off a plump leaf and slice it open lengthways then rub the fleshy part onto the skin it will feel very cool and soothing. The juice of the aloe plant is also cooling and hydrating therefore it makes a great alternative to water on a hot summer day. Again you can find aloe juice in natural food markets but it is just as easy to scoop out the flesh of a fresh leaf and add it to a smoothy.
In traditional Chinese medicine the use of aloe goes beyond hydration. In TCM aloe or Lú Huì is dried and has a dark glossy look like glass, it has a bitter flavour and cold nature. It works on the Large Intestine, Liver and Stomach organ systems and has the action of draining fire and guiding out accumulation in the body. Fire in the body refers to signs of heat such as red eyes, irritability, dizziness or headaches all of which can be related to the Liver organ system. Accumulation in the body in this case refers to constipation or epigastric discomfort. Due to its purgative nature Lú Huì also has the ability to kill parasites such as roundworm and ringworm.
Aloe gel is great for nourishing Kidney yin, which is cooling, moistening and stabilizing. If kidney yin is deficient there will be symptoms similar to those listed above. Often as one ages Kidney yin becomes depleted especially in the case of menopause. Therefore the pulp of the aloe plant is a great way to nourish kidney yin as well as gain immune enhancing benefits. Due to the cooling nature of aloe it is not recommended for those that have loose stools or feel cold.
Clinical research has shown aloe to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties as well as the ability to inhibit the growth of neoplastic tumours, reduce inflammation and associated pain. It is not recommended to use Lú Huì during pregnancy or menstruation.