Aloe vera is a popular herbal remedy. It is often recommended as a treatment for numerous ailments, from sunburn to abdominal cramps. Aloe vera is a succulent plant with thick leaves that contain gel. This gel is thought to have many curative properties. Aloe vera soothes, softens and moisturizes. While there is not much scientific evidence that aloe vera is effective, it has been used for centuries all over the world. Aloe vera is commonly used by many people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, and other intestinal disorders, such as diarrhea and constipation. The main way aloe vera does this is by cleaning the colon.
Common Ailments of the Colon
After we eat food, the muscles of the digestive tract contract and relax to push the food to the stomach. Once the food is broken down by the gastric juices, the muscles continue to move the food through the intestines and finally out the rectum. Sometimes the muscles contract too strongly, too quickly or last too long. This leads to a host of conditions--flatulence, bloating, acid reflex, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
How Aloe Vera Works
Aloe vera cleans the digestive tract by removing toxins and impurities. It does this by bringing about bowel movements. The soothing qualities of aloe vera help relax the muscle lining of the intestines. Aloe vera leaves contain bitter yellow liquids and these liquids contain compounds called anthraquinones, which are substances that clean or purge. The herb also neutralizes some of these toxins, which are then expelled with the fecal mater. Aloe vera also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. These help kill some of the harmful bacteria or fungi in the colon. Aloe vera also contains many vitamins and minerals, and these nutrients are absorbed by the colon. This herb is gentle and has no side effects. Aloe vera is also thought to stimulate the immune system to fight disease, even cancer.
How to Take Aloe Vera
The easiest way to take aloe vera is with commercially prepared products found in health food stores or supermarkets. Aloe vera is available as a drinkable gel, juice and as capsules or tablets. A more complicated process is to buy aloe vera plants from a nursery and then remove the gel from the leaves. But this can be a time-consuming process if you want to drink a glass of aloe vera a day or a few times a week.