There are over 240 species of aloe, but only a couple have medicinal properties. The most potent is aloe barbadensis, which is native to North Africa and Spain but also grows in the hotter regions of Asian and America.
Aloe vera has been one of the most important plants used in folk medicine through the ages, and is called the "plant of immortality." Aloe vera is a member of the lily family and is cactus-like in its characteristics. At about two feet tall, its leaves are succulent and contain the clear healing gel that is 96% water, along with vitamins A, B, C, and E, calcium, amino acids for protein building, and digestive enzymes.
Aloe Vera is used externally for many skin ailments such as mild cuts, insect stings, bruises, poison ivy, and eczema. Its antibacterial and antifungal qualities increase blood flow to wounds stimulating fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for healing, and the manufacture of collagen, the protein that controls the aging process of the skin and wrinkling. The skin absorbs aloe vera up to four times faster than water and assists the pores of the skin open and receive the moisture and nutrients of the plant.
In addition to the skin, it protects and heals the inner lining of the gut, the bronchial tubes, and the genital tract. It is also considered a digestive remedy and aids in the absorption of nutrients, helps control blood sugar, increases energy production, promotes cardiovascular health, improves liver function, and boosts the immune system.
It is easy to find aloe vera juice at your local health food store but beware that there are two different types on the shelf. The whole leaf contains the entire leaf and has been processed where the inner filet only contains the inner gel of the leaf. The difference is the consistency of the products, but many of these products also include citric acid (ph. Stabilizer, carrageenan (thickening agent), and potassium sorbate (preservative and mold inhibitor).
The purest product on the market is available from a manufacturer in Florida www.aloe1.com. This is by far the best and purest product on the market, and even with the added cost of shipping, it is worth the added expense.