Life & Style | Health

Well-being Q&A: Uses for aloe vera

Dr V.L. Shyam, MD (Ay), M Phil, a certified Ayurvedic consultant, answers queries exclusively for readers of Friday.

  • By Dr VL Shyam
  • Published: 11:45 August 16, 2012
  • Friday

Marina Home potted plant
  • Image Credit: Dennis B. Mallari/GNM
  • The aloe vera leaves closest to the roots should be used first.

Kavita of Dubai asks: I have aloe vera plants in my garden but don’t know how to use them. Any suggestions?

Dr Shyam replies: The aloe vera plant can be separated into two basic products: gel and latex. Aloe vera gel is the leaf pulp, a thin, opaque jelly-like substance obtained from the inner portion of the leaves.

Aloe latex is bitter yellow exudates just beneath the outer skin of the leaves.

Aloe products for internal use have been “promoted” for constipation, coughs, wounds, ulcers, diabetes, cancer, headaches, arthritis, immune-system deficiencies and many other conditions. Aloe vera gel is useful for eczema  and sensitive facial skin.

The leaves closest to the roots should be used first. Peel off the green layer, get rid of the yellow latex that oozes out, then slice the transparent gel; wash repeatedly with water.

This gel can be applied directly to the affected area or blended to a liquid and then used. The gel/juice will feel more refreshing if it’s cool, so keep it in the refrigerator.

Aloe juice can add lustre to hair and heal dandruff. Before bedtime wet hair thoroughly with aloe vera juice and allow to dry. Rinse

thoroughly in the morning. People who suffer from hair loss can drink 30ml of aloe vera juice, or take a tablespoonful of aloe vera gel with a  pinch of cumin twice daily for one to two months.

Take 2-4g of the leaf pulp to cure menstrual pains and cramps. Consume with sugar on an empty stomach for three days prior to the expected date of menstruation.

For scrapes and abrasions, gently slide a split leaf over the area. Reapply several times. For lightening minor scars, apply aloe vera juice  daily. It’s good for soothing and healing burns and sunburn, and lightening stretch marks.

A daily intake of 2-3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel will act like a general tonic and as a mild regulator of the bowels.

Dab the gel/juice on your face two to three times a day to clean pores, clear pimples and acne scars. Aloe gel is a tonic for the liver and spleen; two teaspoons of fresh gel can be taken with a pinch of turmeric.

Aloe can cause allergies. Do a patch test: apply a small amount of aloe vera juice on the inside of your arm before beginning therapy.

Due to its astringent property it may cause skin to dry. You can apply oil along with the aloe to help prevent this dryness. Consult an ayurvedic doctor before taking aloe vera internally.

If you have a question for Dr Shyam, send a mail to Wellbeing, Friday, Gulf
News, PO Box 6519, Dubai, UAE, or fax 04 3421039. You may also email friday@
gulfnews.com

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