© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review
Aloe Vera, the Miracle Plant
Aloe Vera, often called the Miracle Plant, the Natural Healer, the Burn Plant, goes by many names which have survived over 4000 years during which this incredible medicinal has benefited both mankind and the animal kingdom. The Aloe family of plants has over 200 varieties but not all have medicinal properties. The Aloe Vera Barbadensis (Miller) has been of the most use to man. It is a succulent, looking rather like a cactus but it is in fact a member of the lily family related to onions, garlic and asparagus. Flourishing in warm, dry climates, both the Greeks and Egyptians valued it highly and it has been referred to as "The First Aid Plant" by physicians, for over 4,000 years. In recent times researchers worldwide have found that the fleshy pulp inside the leaves contains essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids that can alleviate many chronic conditions.
WHAT IS INSIDE THE ALOE VERA LEAF?
Aloe Vera contains over 75 known ingredients that can be classified into the following groups:
Vitamins -Aloe contains a wide range, but the most important ones are the antioxidant vitamins C and E and Beta-Carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A. It is also one of the few plant sources in the world of Vitamin B12.
Minerals -These include magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, chromium, calcium, sodium, potassium and iron.
Amino Acids -The human body requires 22 amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and Aloe Vera gel provides 20 of them. More importantly, it provides seven of the eight essential amino acids that cannot be manufactured by the body and which therefore have to be consumed as food.
Sugars -These include the important long chain polysaccharides which act on the immune system to boost its effect.
Enzymes -Lipases and proteases which break down food and aid digestion as well as carboxypeptidase that is involved in the inflammatory process.
Plant Sterols -The three main types act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
Saponins -These are soapy substances that exert a powerful anti-microbial effect against bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts such as candida or 'thrush'.
Anthraquinones -The most important ones being aloin and emodin, but altogether they are strong painkillers, and are acknowledged to possess anti-bacterial and viruscidal activity. In their pure form, they are very powerful laxatives.
Salycylic Acid -This aspirin -like compound is anti-inflammatory and topically helps to break down dead tissue.
HOW DOES ALOE VERA HEAL?
To benefit from Aloe Vera, can be taken internally for its nutritional effect or it can be combined with other ingredients to produce topical crèmes and dressings to soothe and improve the quality of the skin. The clear gel from the leaf can now be stabilized using patented formulas to prevent oxidation and allow the properties of Aloe Vera to be more widely applied. The thick gel contains over 75 perfectly balanced nutrients for health and vitality and it is widely thought that it is this balance that makes Aloe Vera so beneficial in maintaining health. Although Aloe Vera is not a drug or medicine the naturally balanced supplements contained in its juice have many benefits. It is non-toxic and safe and often works where conventional medicine has failed to have an effect. Research has shown the gel mainly affects the immune system and epithelial tissues. It quickly penetrates the skin, taking its anti-inflammatory, regenerating properties deep into the tissue, making it ideal for use on minor injuries, burns, bites and sprains. Because the gel seems to speed wound-healing there is often a marked reduction in scarring.
HORSES AND ALOE VERA
Aloe Vera can be invaluable in helping to enhance the soundness and well being of horses. There are countless uses for Aloe Vera in healing allergies and rashes, respiratory disorders, mud fever, wounds, abscesses and many other disorders. Investigations into the claims of Aloe extracts by veterinary professionals have proved that it is effective in the treatment of a large range of skin problems in equines ranging from wounds, greasy heal, sunburn and even ringworm, and even help with internal problems such as equine influenza, poor appetite, conditions associated with gastric ulcers. Contaminated wounds treated with Aloe Vera gel have healed well in tests without antibiotic cover and without the development of excessive granulation tissue. Many racehorse trainers use Aloe Vera on their horses, significantly reducing lost training time through minor skin injuries and skin conditions such as greasy heal and even report help with bleeders. Perhaps one of the most beneficial uses is as a dietary supplement. Athletes report that regular intake of Aloe Vera reduces competitive stress and post-event fatigue, increasing stamina and performance.
Aloe Advantage a Durvet owned company offers a line of aloe vera based wound and skin care products along with grooming products for animals along with dietary supplements for horse and rides. www.AloeAdvantage.com or 1-877-624-9693.