Could Aloe Vera Help in Autism Spectrum Disorders?

The medicinal potential of aloe vera is astounding! Yet most people only know that aloe vera gel can be used topically for sunburns. In reality, aloe vera has been used therapeutically for over 5000 years as both an external and internal remedy.

Aloe vera is most commonly known as a skin protectant. In fact, it is widely used in cosmetic and beauty products. But the benefits of ingesting pure, food-grade aloe vera gel are far more impressive.

Aloe vera has been shown to aid in a variety of ailments. But for our purposes, healing the gut so we can boost brain power, I will focus on its medicinal properties and how it can improve digestion and strengthen the immune system.

Aloe Vera

Although aloe is about 99% water, the remaining 1% is extremely powerful with close to 100 minerals, vitamins, enzymes and nutrients that synergistically work extremely well together.

Aloe vera nourishes the body with many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. It is also one of the few plants that contain vitamin B12. Because aloe enhances blood quality allowing for more effective transport of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells, it increases the efficacy of vitamin C, vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are necessary for the human body to function properly. There are about 22 amino acids and it is said that 8 of these are essential (meaning that we must ingest them because our body doesn’t make them). It is estimated that aloe vera naturally has from 18-20 of the amino acids we need, including all 8 of the essential ones.

Some of the 20 minerals found in aloe vera include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese. These all play a role in digestive, immune and brain health.

Poor digestion is related to many diseases and studies are showing this is also the case in Autism Spectrum Disorders. A properly functioning digestive tract is one of the keys and foundations of health. Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract which in turn improves digestion. Drinking aloe helps with both constipation and diarrhea, helping to regulate the elimination cycles in whatever way the body needs.

Aloe vera is a gelatinous plant food, just like seaweed and chia seeds. The main benefit to consuming gelatinous plant foods is that these gels move through the intestinal tract absorbing toxins along the way and eliminating them through the colon. Consuming these gelatinous foods is a great way to detoxify the body.

Aloe also decreases the amount of unfriendly bacteria in the gut, keeping the healthy intestinal flora in balance. Aloe vera contains substances that prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms (such as the yeast candida) and provides antimicrobial activity to prevent and treat bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Aloe also seems to be excellent at regulating the immune system. This means it can stimulate the immune response for those with weakened immune systems, either from existing conditions or post-illness fatigue. But aloe can also calm the immune response, which would help people with seasonal allergies or food sensitivities, where less immune reaction is beneficial.

Aloe can also be used to reduce inflammation throughout the body. People who drink aloe vera for two weeks typically begin to experience a significant reduction of inflammation symptoms. In part, this is due to the fact that aloe alkalizes the body, helping to balance the overly acidic dietary habits of our standard American diet which contributes to internal inflammation.

Of course, drinking aloe vera isn’t a magic cure that will reverse problems after one glass. Most people who ingest aloe on a regular basis report positive results in 3 – 30 days, depending on their condition. In 1997, research done by the University of San Antonio found that ingesting aloe daily showed a remarkable reduction in leukemia, heart disease and kidney disease.

However, while this plant is incredibly medicinal, there are some cautions against long-term use. Just because a little is beneficial, doesn’t mean that a lot is better. This is an incredibly powerful plant and should be used with a level of respect for its potency.

If your child is experiencing digestive problems, consider using it for a short period of time (say 1-2 weeks) and then stop and wait at least a month before using aloe again. For use as preventative medicine, consider using aloe gel periodically by adding it into your menu rotation, along with a variety of nutrient dense foods and drink.

Buying Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera juice is popping up everywhere. Before purchasing the one your market sells, read the label. Make sure you are buying as close to pure 100% aloe vera juice as possible. Many brands are flavored or loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and contain almost no aloe vera juice whatsoever. Many are mixed with food thickeners to make them look like a gel, but may have been heated, destroying a significant portion of its healing effects. I’m currently using an aloe vera gel that I purchased at Trader Joes that is 99% aloe juice with added preservatives (preservatives are not desirable but I’m choosing my battles here).

Of course, fresh aloe vera gel is always best. Aloe plants can grow pretty much anywhere, outdoors or indoors. So you don’t need to buy the juice, just make it yourself. This guy will show you how: Learn How to Make Fresh Aloe Vera Juice.

It’s worth noting that there is a company in Arizona called Good Cause Wellness that sells a line of low-temperature dried aloe vera & berry products that you can use as ingredients in any smoothie. The product is a high-grade, pesticide-free, highly concentrated aloe vera gel powder available in two mixtures: Aloe Vera + Raspberry Powder and Aloe Vera + Blueberry Powder. This makes aloe vera gel easily available online.

One last note about Aloe Vera juice: it does have a strong pungent taste. To make sure your child will ingest it, mix it in a smoothie or add it to a green juice. If you get creative with the juice or find other ways to incorporate aloe vera juice into your diet, please post those ideas in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your culinary craftiness. J

Aloe Vera Smoothie

1 banana
½ cup blueberries
½ cup pineapple
1 cup aloe vera juice
Agave nectar (or stevia), to taste

For More Smoothies Recipes see the Free Aloe Vera Ebook.

SharingMom’s note: Many readers have asked me to recommend aloe vera products. Here are a few that I have tasted and consider worth recommending:

Taste Nirvana Coco Aloe Juice

Lily of the Desert Aloe Mix n’ Go Strawberry-Kiwi

 

 

 

Disclaimer
The information in this post is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used in place of seeking proper medical treatment. The author disclaims any and all liability in connection with the application and/or use of any information offered in this particular post or the entire blog. The reader should use caution when trying any remedy as allergies and untoward reactions to plants and herbs used may occur in sensitive individuals. You should always consult a physician prior to use of any herbal remedy to be sure there are no contraindications in your or your child’s specific condition or with any other herbal treatments or medications that you or your child may be currently taking. Herbs can and do react with over the counter and prescribed drugs as well as other herbs and extracts. They are strong medicine and should be approached with the caution and respect due any healing drug.

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Sources

http://www.naturalnews.com/002697.html

The Aloe Vera Miracle: A Natural Medicine for Cancer, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Inflammation, IBS, and Other Health Conditions

http://www.aloelf.com/wp-content/uploads/aloe-vera/aloebook.pdf

http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free-herb-information/aloe-vera.html

http://healthcoach.lu/DATA/PDF/PDF_e/CLINICAL%20ABSTRACTS%20-%20Single%20Chapters/04_Inflammation.pdf

http://www.naturalnews.com/021858.html

http://sacredsourcenutrition.com/top-12-benefits-of-aloe-vera/

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