Many people are aware of the aloe vera plant as having a cooling quality for sunburns and rashes but the plant has more benefits than just for external ailments. Aloe vera has long been used as a laxative for constipation but the juice of the plant also helps with digestion, weight loss and regulating the bowel, relieving both constipation and diarrhea by balancing healthy flora in the intestines.
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The aloe vera plant has been around for thousands of years, popularly used in folk medicine. The Egyptians loved the plant so much they depicted it on stone carvings and presented it to the pharaohs as a funeral gift, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They referred to it as the “plant of immortality” for all the benefits the plant had to offer. Traditionally the gel of the plant was used to treat wounds and the latex, the inner lining of the leaf, for constipation. It wasn’t until recently that the aloe juice was found to help ease diarrhea as well.
There are over 250 species of aloe but aloe barbadensis is the most potent and the type that is used medicinally. This aloe vera plant has more than 200 ingredients and anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is a succulent plant, made up of mostly water. The leaves also consist of antiseptic agents, according to the Healthy Life website. It is actually the transparent gel inside the leaves that hold all the benefits and is the substance used to make aloe juice. Inside the gel are vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and fatty acids.
Diarrhea is defined as a large volume of stool, often times loose and watery. Many people are familiar with the occasional bout of diarrhea but it can be caused by any number of factors. The digestive system is a complex system that involves breaking down foods and absorbing the nutrients. The intestines are lined with bacteria, considered to be good, designed to break down food so the nutrients can enter the blood stream. Sometimes bad bacteria overpopulate the intestines and the end result is an irregular bowel.
The abnormal bacteria in the digestive system can cause the bowel to become slow or sluggish, resulting in either constipation or diarrhea and sometimes both. Aloe vera juice is thought to detoxify the colon, ridding it of toxins and residue, helping the colon to restore balance and function properly, according to the Positive Health website. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe juice can soothe the irritated colon while the antibiotic properties help to clear out the bad bacteria thus treating digestive abnormalities such as diarrhea.
Contact your doctor if you are experiencing lasting diarrhea. Aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea or cramping so drink with caution. The Mayo Clinic warns the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate aloe vera for medicinal purposes and some people may be allergic.