It took me a year of being convinced before I bought a bottle of Aloe Vera gel. All the hype made it sound like it was too good to be true. Those who have friends selling the “Forever” products will certainly understand what I mean. I have heard that aloe vera is good for just about everything from cuts, burns, bruises, constipation and eczema, to name a few.
My mom always kept an aloe plant at home and used it on burns (and when a dog bit me), so I knew it did indeed have excellent healing properties. But, I had no idea how good it really could be until last week when I had a flare up of an old condition called “interstitial cystitis” or IC.
Plain ‘ol cystitis that one usually hears about refers to a lower urinary tract infection, commonly treated with broad spectrum antibiotics. Interstitial cystitis, however, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “…a chronic condition in which you experience bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain.” So, one can have all the symptoms of a UTI, but not actually have any bacterial infection at all (according to a lab culture). The reasons for getting IC are not well defined, and there is no cure.
The IC association estimates that in the US there are anywhere from 4 to 12 million people with it, with more women than men being diagnosed. Anyone can get IC, including children. There are many way of treating the symptoms from pain killers to laser surgery, which you can read about on the IC website.
Because my doctor did not consider my condition to be severe, I chose alternative medicines like marshmallow root, kefir, ayurvedic herbs and magnesium to keep my symptoms at bay. For the most part, they worked, but sometimes I would get a terrible flare up, spending the day doubled over in pain, which is exactly what happened last week. Coincidentally, I began drinking aloe gel with a CoQ10 vitamin for my tension headaches on the recommendation of a friend. I bought the gel from Forever products because it was thick, not watered down at all and tasted good. My friend recommended 60ml first thing in the morning. But, in my zealousness to rid myself of tension headaches, I drank one third a cup (nearly 80 ml) in the morning, and the same before lunch. A serving size is 240 ml, so I was well within a safe range.
Within two days I was 50 per cent pain free. By the end of the week I was 100 per cent symptom free. I have spent the past year hovering around the 10-20 per cent symptom mark nearly every day. But, after only one week of the aloe vera gel, I was like a new person. Ok, I still have the headaches, but my IC was gone!
I know I am not cured forever. I know I have to keep up with water and an anti-inflammatory diet. But, it is comforting when something so simple can help so much.
It turns out that the humble aloe vera plant really does deserve all its accolades. It is an anti-inflammatory, and that is very important. Inflammation has been linked to disease, cancer and Alzheimer, so foods that reduce inflammation are very important to incorporate into our daily diet.
Here are a few pages if you would like to read more about how aloe vera is anti-inflammatory:
*At the time of writing this I did not receive any payback or compensation for writing about the Forever Aloe products. My opinion is purely based on my experience with the product.
**Before taking aloe for medicinal purposes, check with a doctor. It can affect the bowels, it can interfere with the absorption of medicine, or can interact with certain medications such as digoxin, diuretics and some diabetes medication.