The Aloe vera plant is an African succulent that is popular in folk remedies. Today, you can find Aloe vera outside Africa since it is a popular garden plant, especially in dry areas where gardens must be created with the climate in mind. Aloe vera is also commercially cultivated all over the world to be used in folk medicines. Outside Africa, you will find the largest Aloe vera farms in the Mediterranean region, the United States, the Caribbean and Japan. An Aloe vera plant will also do well indoors, but keep in mind that it can grow very large and need re-potting.
Just like all the other succulent plants, the Aloe vera can store large amounts of water. This is an adaptation to a life in regions susceptible to droughts. Wild Aloe vera is commonly found in regions that experience large temperature differences between day and night. When the dew falls, the Aloe vera can absorb the moist and use it to survive. The Aloe vera will store water in its large fleshy leaves. Inside an Aloe vera leaf, you will find a clear jellylike liquid. This liquid forms the base of the Aloe vera juice that is so popular in folk medicine. If you grow your own Aloe vera plant, you can use the gel directly instead of converting it into Aloe vera juice. The gel is for instance used on minor injuries and burns since many people find it soothing and pain relieving. It also has antibacterial properties.
Aloe vera can also be used internally, but the scientific studies regarding its affects on the human body is still limited and internal Aloe vera treatments should therefore always be embarked on with caution. Discussing the treatment with a licenses medical professional is recommended. Internal Aloe vera treatment is popular among patients suffering from heartburn, ulcers, diverticular disorders and other digestive problems. It is suspected that the antibacterial property of the Aloe vera is the cause of the relief reported by many patients.
In commercially available Aloe vera remedies, it is usually Aloe vera juice that forms the active ingredient. If you by low-quality Aloe vera remedies, they might not have been made from pure Aloe vera juice. If other parts of the plant enter the remedy, the treatment can act as a strong laxative. This effect is cause by the so called Aloe vera latex that is located in special cells, the so called pericyclic tubules, which are found along the inner skin of the Aloe vera leaf. Proper processing methods are necessary to ensure that no latex enter the Aloe vera juice. If you experience unwanted laxative effects or cramps when using medications containing Aloe vera, you should refrain from using it and try to find a better manufacturer that can provide you with high-quality Aloe vera products.
Never use Aloe vera internally if you are currently using oral corticosteroids, since Aloe vera will interact with this medication. Beclomethasone, Prednisone and Methylprednisolone are three common examples of oral corticosteroids. The combination can cause potassium deficiency and poisoning.
Psyllium will also be affected by the active compounds in Aloe vera, and combining the two remedies are therefore unadvisable. If you still choose to do so, you should make sure that you never ingest them simultaneously. Allow at least two hours to pass before you take the second drug.