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Many benefits have been shown from using aloe vera on wounds, cuts and burns. Some serious diseases have been remedied as well to help speed up healing as well as to ease the pain. The healing power of aloe vera gel is widely known today such as heartburn relief, to lower blood pressure and slowing breast cancer growth, to name just a few.
With all this said The Washington Post reported recently that private brands of aloe vera products from Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and CVS were tested and found to contain zero particles of aloe vera. The products were left wanting:
- Wal-Mart’s Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera
- Target’s Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera
- CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel
- Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel
All four mention aloe vera first, or list it second after water in the ingredient list. ConsumerLab estimated that only half of the aloe products actually contain meaningful levels of the gel. The International Aloe Science Council who creates the standards for the aloe industry, estimate sales to be around $100 million annually, and certified none of these listed products.
The companies stood behind their product suppliers. Among all 4 stores there are about 23,000 outlets with the alleged aloe-containing products on the shelves. The companies dispute the validity of the lab findings.
What are they using for these products if not aloe vera? The Wal-Mart, CVS and Target brands contained maltodextrin, a cheaper, sugar-based aloe vera alternative. Walgreen’s version used the marker malic acid only. Even lactic acid, an ingredient in the plant that would reveal broken-down aloe vera bits, was absent.
AloeCorp, one of the biggest suppliers of raw aloe powder, has been undercut in the market by aloe vera wannabe products like maltodextrin. It is not cheap producing pure, unadulterated aloe vera. It is hand-harvested and the aloe powder can cost as much as $240 a kilogram, while the same amount of maltodextrin can cost only a few dollars.
Some beneficial ingredients in aloe vera are anthraquinones, fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Some of the health benefits provided by aloe vera are diabetes, minor skin infections, frostbite, dandruff, epilepsy, canker sores, acne, bowel disease, psoriasis, cysts, eczema, osteoarthritis, ulcers, genital herpes, gum disease, fever, constipation, sunburn, cold sores and itching.
Most of the benefits we receive from aloe vera come from the gel of the spiky, succulent leaves. It is widely used by cutting off enough of one of the stiff leaves to apply the gel on trouble spots, but it can also be used internally for acid reflux, indigestion and ulcers. The gel is easily extracted by slitting open a leaf and squeezing the gel out.
Dr Fredda Branyon