Aloe Vera Plant (courtesy www.keetsa.com)
Aloe. The phrase “aloe vera” brings up the image of something soft and commercials that incessantly interrupt TV shows. While aloe is an ingredient many moisturizers boast of and can’t do without, the many healing powers of this plant remain largely unknown.
The product can heal burns and cuts and soothe pain and has been used to do so historically according to www.ayurveda.com and other herbal medicine sites. Used widely in Asia and parts of Central Europe the most, the herb has been a prized possession for many.
The philosopher Aristotle is said to have convinced Alexander the Great to conquer the Socotra Island in order to procure big quantities of aloe for himself. Aloe was also a critical ingredient to heal the wounds of the soldiers of Alexander’s vast army. Both the plant and the remedies containing it were extremely popular at that time and, according to another legend, Aloe contained the youth elixir which healed wounds and gave fortitude.
But, many a century later, scientists have re-discovered aloe. What aloe was never known for before was as a tooth gel to cleanse gums and teeth. And now, it has crossed even that barrier.
According to the June 2009 issue of General Dentistry, aloe vera tooth eliminates pathogenic oral bacteria, just like toothpaste does.
In the study, aloe was compared to two commercially popular toothpastes for its germ-fighting ability and aloe was found to be just as effective, if not more than the other toothpastes.
Further, Science News recently reported that aloe latex contains anthraquinones, which are chemicals used in healing and pain-killing because they are anti-inflammatory in nature. In fact, aloe vera tooth gel tends to be less harsh on teeth, because it doesn’t have the abrasive elements typically found in commercial toothpaste, and would be a good alternative for people with sensitive teeth.
At $35 for a 35 ounce tube of aloe toothpaste, the trend may need to catch on before costs are reduced but this may just be the next generation of nature-cures along with a long list of many others from preventing climate change to turning into vegetarians for fear of animal virus diseases. As urbananized humans, did we move away from nature only to return, in one big full circle? It today’s world, it certainly seems so, from many different and independent standpoints.
Some dentists I’ve been to actually suggest returning to a diet that our ancestors and using natural oral products because it helps the teeth, gums and body process the food better, given that all living beings are essentially designed to eat natural foods and not processed food, especially not foods rich in fat. Or drinks like coke, which given time, as one study showed,could dissolve an entire set of teeth altogether. Using natural products on teeth can also help prevent the slow loss of enamel on teeth over time, leading to corrosion and cavities.