The Four Layers of the Aloe Vera Plant
The Aloe Vera plant has thick, spiky, fleshy, lance-shaped leaves which are very succulent. The Aloe Vera leaf consists of four basic layers: the rind, the sap, the mucilage layer, and the inner gel.
The rind is the green outer surface that is up to fifteen cells thick. It is the protective barrier of the leaf that wraps around it. This portion of the plant is usually not consumed and removed.
The sap of the Aloe Vera leaf, which is the vascular bundle of the plant, is found directly underneath the rind. Another name for the sap is the “Aloe Latex.” This portion has a bitter taste and contains a compound “aloin,” also called “barbaloin,” which is a bitter liquid that dries to a yellow powder. This portion of the plant has become well known to be a powerful laxative. Because of its bitter taste and laxative effect, scientists believe that this portion of the plant is also a protective mechanism against plant eating predators. Throughout history, humans have used this part of the plant for digestive trouble but are warned of its potency as a laxative.
Aloe Vera gel, which is the inside portion and does not contain the sap portion of the leaf, is surrounded by the mucilage layer which contains important polysaccharide sugars. The polysaccharide sugars are known clinically to help boost immunity and decrease inflammation. The inner gel consists of eight essential amino acids which the body cannot produce on its own. It also contains eighteen out of the twenty-two non-essential amino acids formed in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which is extremely important within the body especially for vegetarians or vegans who need plant sources of protein. This is also why many people believe Aloe Vera gel is good for keeping hair healthy.
What’s the difference between Aloe Vera Juice and Aloe Vera Gel?
There is a big difference between Aloe Vera Juice and Aloe Vera Gel. They are made up of different components of the leaf. Aloe Vera gel consists of the inner leaf and Aloe Vera juice is made up of the sap which can both be found beneath the rind of the leaf. This is why Aloe Vera Juice is used to aid digestion. If you want to avoid the sap, due to its laxative effects, look for a product without the sap or cut the gel out yourself.
How do I consume or use the inner gel of the Aloe Vera Plant?
The easiest way to use the inner gel of the leaf is to fillet it yourself. Anyone can fillet the Aloe Vera inner leaf from a home grown Aloe Vera plant. Simply cut the ends and fillet out the middle clear layer. Throw out the outer green layer called the rind. After removing the sap, the Aloe Vera can be consumed without the worry of the laxative properties if not needed. Also, the taste will be more neutral. There are so many wonderful benefits from consuming this part of the plant! It is a great addition to any healthy smoothie or as a dietary supplement.
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Have you tried a good Aloe Vera supplement or homemade Aloe smoothie? What’s your best Aloe recipe?