Aloe Vera FAQs

Q. What is Aloe Vera?

A. Aloe Vera is an evergreen plant that has broad fleshy leaves with spikes along the edges. The clear gel extracted from the leaves is used in many cosmetics and skin creams, and the sap from the base of the plant is used in herbal preparations.

Q. Can I grow it in my garden?

A. The answer is a cautious ‘yes’! The reason for the caution is that Aloe Vera is a plant that enjoys sunshine and hates frost. You will have more success by growing it in a pot and moving it to a frost-free place during winter. Give it a well drained compost to mimic the Mediterranean conditions in which it thrives. If you have the patience, you can try growing it from seed but it can take up to 6 months to germinate; it is therefore advisable to buy a small plant from a nursery and pot it on. The Aloe Vera grows slowly but can reach almost 1 metre in height and width.

Q. Can I use Aloe Vera for skin complaints?

A. Aloe Vera has been used for many years as a treatment for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis as well as for easing the pain of burns. The gel can be used direct from the leaves but today it is produced commercially for use in many cosmetics and creams. Aloe Vera forms a protective layer over the wound or burn, inhibits infection and encourages the healing process.

Q. Can Aloe Vera be taken internally?

A. It is the sap of the Aloe Vera plant that is used in herbal medicines and these can be taken internally to relieve a number of complaints including digestive problems and irritable bowel syndrome. If you have IBS, make sure you take a herbal preparation that is specially prepared for this condition such as FSC’s Aloe Vera and Manuka Honey, stocked by Baldwins, and consult your GP with regard to its use. It has an anti-inflammatory action that soothes the stomach and intestines and enhances the production of digestive enzymes. Aloe Vera is also used to regulate blood sugar levels, but if you are diabetic you must consult your doctor before self-medication as upsetting your blood sugar levels can have serious implications. In addition, Aloe Vera enhances the immune system by raising the levels of vitamin C and E. Long term use is said to help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol.

If you are taking any medications, suffer from IBS, diabetes or other health problems, or are pregnant, talk to your doctor before using any herbal remedy. Baldwins helpline staff will be pleased to answer any questions about the use of Aloe Vera. Contact them on 020 7703 5550

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