The Good Slime, an Ode to Aloe
I recently read Aloe Vera juice just might be the coconut water of 2015. Coconut water, as gorgeous as it is, doesn’t hold a candle to this ancient medicinal panacea. There have been hundreds and hundreds of independent research studies conducted by doctors and scientists on the healing agents found in the Aloe Vera plant and its non-toxic benefits, so it’s health claims are well deserved.
Obviously Aloe Vera has a plethora of topical applications and is a marvellous skincare staple. What some may not know is that it also contains over 200 nutrients including B1, B2, B3, C, F, Folic acid, Iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper and 18 amino acids, important enzymes and precious polysaccharides (for energy, anti-cancer, liver health, mood enhancement, anti-inflammatory and more).
While I’m in Peru, I am astutely aware of just how lucky I am to have access to fresh Aloe Vera. I am constantly turning people on to the daily practice of consuming it fresh, right from the plant. It is only recently that people here are tapping into the pharmacopeia of natural medicine available to them in their own country. New businesses showcasing natural medicine from Peru are popping up all over and I so love this!
IN AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
Known as Ghrit Kumari in Sanskrit, it is one of the most important plants in Ayurvedic medicine. Although generally prescribed as a VPK tonic (good for all three doshas), it is especially useful as a Pitta pacifying plant because of it’s anti-inflammatory and cooling properties.
The seven Dhatus in Ayurveda refers to the body’s tissues and how they directly support and sustain the functioning of specific systems and organs. The seven Dhatus are continuously being formed, destroyed and reformed. This process is sustained through our digestion. The seven Dhatus are Lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and reproductive fluids. Each Dhatus nourishes the next and all are fed by the body’s digestive system. Aloe Vera, or Kumari, is one of those rare plants that is used for the nourishment of all 7 Dhatus. An Ayurvedic cure-all for all tissues of the body.
ALOE VERA AS A DETOXIFICATION AID
Aloe is a staple in my detox programs and is digested daily as part of a powerful detox morning cocktail. One of the aims of my programs is to introduce my participants to longevity practices, foods and herbs they can stick with once the program is done, and this one of those plants.
Fundamental to detoxification is the re-stabilising of proper gut health. So many people suffer from less-than-optimal digestive health, which can be traced back to almost all body imbalances: mental and emotional included. Aloe encourages elimination and colon cleansing with its mild laxative effect. Unlike most laxatives herbs (which I avoid) Aloe is hydrating to the colon. All elimination routes must be clear during the detox process because once the toxins have been released from their tight holding spots, a quick and easy exit is in order.
Aloe is a bitter plant that is a tonic to the liver, which is the body’s #1 organ for detoxification. The liver is always grateful for all supportive plants.
Aloe has an anti-inflammatory action so is a great “maintenance” plant but is of extra assistance while the body is focusing on detoxification.
Aloe is also alkaline-forming in the body, which is encouraged (even more than normal) during detox so the body can maintain it’s perfect PH needed to restore and heal itself.
Fresh vs. bottled
I think it’s pretty obvious what I’m going to say here. There are very few occasions where taking in a medicinal plant in its unadulterated form is superior to a manufactured version of it and Aloe Vera is no exception. Of course, availability can be an issue and the bottled juice is the next best thing. However, beware you are actually not wasting your money on a product that has a mere fraction of the benefits. Many commercial Aloe Vera products are loaded with preservatives such as (acidic) citric acid, which can dramatically reduce its medicinal effects on the body. Some even have sugar and artificial flavourings, yucky!