Sometimes described as a wonder plant, this short-stemmed green shrub that grows and multiplies wherever it is put is the popular aloe vera. This gel filled plant has been claimed to perform wonders on the human body and has been the subject of much scientific study over the last few years.
Is it as wonderful as they say it is? To find answers Ibiene speaks with someone who has been using aloe vera for over 6 years and is a willing testifier and in fact, advocate of the power of this plant. She is Anulika, a lawyer, wife, mother and wellness advocate.
Anulika Enemuo has a background in international law. She went from being a corporate lawyer in full practice, but due to the long hours and not enough pay, decided to find work from home and be around her children. That’s how “Forever” found her and she became a brand influencer. She fell in love with the products and now health and wellness and she has experienced the endless pleasures derived from Aloe vera.
This was how the conversation went with this awesome wellness advocate;
Ibiene: Is the famous aloevera gel as powerful as the claim goes?
Anulika: I’m going to answer with the aloe vera that I have the most experience with, the one that I can vouch for. Now, you have to understand that there are so many species of aloes so, I do not want to make any general or medical claims. This is going to be about my experience with aloe and my testimony. So, in terms of aloe vera being powerful as they claim, yes! It goes back in time all the way to Cleopatra. It’s an amazing plant which has so many benefits. I’m going to be talking about the Aloe Barbadensis Miller, specie of aloe vera. I have been drinking this for the past six years and have had amazing results because I’ve found out that it helps my body heal itself more, it reduces inflammation for me, it has so many health benefits for my skin. It is really effective and it helps build my immunity. So, is it as powerful as they say it is? I’d say absolutely yes!
Ibiene: Some people find the raw aloe vera plant harsh. Does this suggest that there are ways we cannot use the gel?
Anulika: The gel is the inner leaf of the aloe. Now, there are different species of the plant and it is just like the mushroom. If you don’t know the specie of the aloe that you’re using and you use it inappropriately, then you might have some harsh results. Growing up, my mum had aloe at home, but that was the raw aloe. So, we could only use very little of it especially, when we have a cut or wound. I found out that people tend to take aloe vera that they see anywhere which they think looks like the genuine aloe vera plant and they expect it to produce result.
Now, the specie that I know which the Aloe Barbadensis Miller is quite soft. You can drink it, put it on an open wound, use it anywhere and it is absolutely safe. This is my own personal experience. So, it all depends on what specie of aloe vera that you use. You have to be very careful and pay attention to the specie of aloe vera that you’re using.
Ibiene: Are there restrictions with regards to the use of the aloevera gel/plant in foods?
Anulika: Yes! If you’re using the raw aloe and non-recommended specie, it will be harmful when you ingest it. Such might be meant for topical. Now, if something is meant for topical use and you ingest it, you can have harsh results like diarrhea and other reactions. The specie I use is safe to ingest with loads of benefits which is why Forever Living uses that specie of aloe because from research, it has been found out that, it has the most medicinal benefit. I can only speak for that aloe.
Ibiene: Can aloe Vera replace medical treatment?
Anulika: we don’t make any medical claims but we tell our customers, If you’re using any medication, please find out from your doctors if, it’s okay to use it with aloe vera. For as long as I’ve known, aloe vera does not have any side effects. So let’s say people that have high blood pressure and are on medication can still take their medication and also take the aloe vera gel because it has no side effects.
What I’ve heard my doctor say when it comes to taking drugs like antibiotics is that you can take your antibiotics and then give it some days before you take the aloe vera because those specific kind of medications need to be effective, the aloe vera might act as a supplement and counter it. After you’re done with the drugs, you can go back to your supplement. We always love people to be comfortable, that is why we always ask for them to confirm from their doctor if they can take their medication alongside the aloe vera gel.
Ibiene: What are some of the wrong ways people use the aloevera?
Anulika: Now I don’t really know about the wrong way people use aloe. I think it still boils down to the specie. Other than drinking it and applying it on your skin, I don’t know how else people use it.
Ibiene: Would you recommend all extracted aloevera gel found on shelves? Are they all safe since it’s aloe vera?
Anulika: I cannot vouch for all the aloe vera extracts that you can find on the shelf. It is really important for you to pay attention because so many of the products you see on the shelf, will write “with aloe” and still contain some other chemicals in there. This is why “Forever Living” aloe which we know is 99.7 per cent aloe vera and vitamin C. Again, it is important for you to read the label of what you find in the store. An example, when you go to a store and there’re three bottles of aloe – one is one thousand Naira (Nigeria’s currency), another is three thousand Naira and the other is ten thousand Naira. You cannot say they are all the same as aloe vera gel. Why? The contents of aloe in them are not the same. If I consume 99.7 per cent of aloe and another person consumes say 10 percent, the other person’s result will not be the same as mine. So, not everything you see on the shelf with a picture of aloe vera really contains the aloe.
It is important that we all pay attention to what we are taking and read the fine print. One thing that you need to also pay attention to is that some brands might not disclose all the contents on the label of the product, this is where you might have to consider the price. Sometimes, the price gives away the product’s quality. If it’s a high quality product and it’s a high concentration of that active ingredient which is the aloe vera, it shouldn’t be something that you can just find on the shelf for five hundred Naira. So, no! I wouldn’t recommend all aloe vera products that you find on the shelf. I can only speak for “Forever Living” aloe.
Ibiene: There are several researches that link consumption of aloe vera gel with cancer. Can you clear the air on that?
Anulika: Honestly, I can’t clear the air on that because people do different researches based on different reasons. Our company is 42 years old, I have been using the product for the past 6 years and I have friends that have been using the product for 25, 30, 40 years! None of them have come out to say they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. But then again we need to also understand that human bodies differ. People have different things that can cause cancer in their bodies. Also, linking aloe vera to cancer boils down to the specie – is it a specific specie of aloe vera that is causing the cancer, or all?
We should also know that we do not know exactly what is causing cancer and that’s why we do not have a specific cure. Most times in certain researches where things are combined, they say it may cause cancer. So, that might be an assumption or suggestion. Unless there is a clear study that shows that there is a direct link between aloe vera and cancer, I wouldn’t believe that. This is a product that people have been using for many years and have gotten better. Even some people who had cancer (I’m not making any medical claims) have actually seen result while using aloe for regeneration, helping them when they do undergo chemo. So, I struggle to see why aloe can then be linked to cancer. But, it still goes down to what specie of aloe and what combination you talk of.
We hope this has cleared the air on some misconceptions you’ve heard about or have about the powerful aloe vera plant.
Do you have any questions for Anulika? Please drop it in the comment section.