Aloe Vera’s external uses

I grew up a pretty healthy kid; I didn’t have any life threatening diseases, until I was a teenager. However, I did grow up normal, which meant that I had my fair share of cuts and scrapes. If I happened to be at my grandma’s house when those occurred, she always ran for the aloe vera plant. She would break a small piece of a leaf off, squeeze out the gel that was inside, and put it on the abrasion. It was the only thing that she would use. In fact, that plant, that she would run to, belonged to her mom’s mom and is now close to two hundred years old. That is a seriously old plant! Can you imagine the stories that plant could tell? The cuts and abrasions that it has cured, over the years? Astonishing, and oh so cool!

For those of you who were unfortunate enough to experience the fun and excitement of a serious sun burn, you probably well know how amazing aloe can feel to your scorched skin. Oh sure, the immediate coldness of it can be a bit heart stopping, but as soon as that passes, it really does make the healing process go much faster…and much less painful!

There’s so much more

About four years ago, I was at a seminar and they started talking about the many benefits of ingesting aloe vera. I had heard of this in the past, but never in a “learning environment”. It had always been through a random conversation or post, which I never gave a lot of heed to. They were specifically talking about this product, , which I then began taking, every day. Aloe can be beneficial for so many internal ailments, such as digestion, immune function, and joints. I notice it mainly, in my gut, as it helps with the chronic stomach pain that I have had for years.

Benefits for Horses

My continued search for natural and holistic remedies, to help animals, started out as a hobby but has morphed into almost a full-time job. This is what happened, two weeks ago:

My husband’s horse, Reno, came home from a month of working cattle and learning to be an all around ranch horse. Once I got him home. I saw that he was underweight and had a very dull coat. This is normal for him as he tends to get a bit stressed during any sort of “away-from-home” training. I know that he was fed properly, because my core, Ike, who was with Reno, came home looking amazing. 

The last time Reno came home from training, looking like this, I had a hair analysis done and he tested positive for a stomach ulcer. Now, this of you who have experienced ulcers, know how annoying and painful they can be. I was able to get him back to feeling great with some homeopathic micronutrients. 

When he came home this time, I thought, “is there anything that I can add to his feed, other than over the counter medication, that could help him?” Guess what I found? While there are a lot of ideas and suggestions as how to naturally heal ulcers in horses, the one thing that almost everyone had in common was aloe vera! Yup! The ancient plant that had been in my life for as long as I could remember! 

Once I discovered this, two weeks ago, immediately ordered a gallon of it and began giving him half a cup, in his feedings, twice a day. I also add some slippery elm to it, as a couple different holistic veterinarians recommended this for gut support. Guess what? His appetite has increased, he is starting to put on weight, and his coat is shiny. He is starting to look like the beautiful Reno that we all know and love!

What about dogs

Interestingly enough, it was’t quite as straight forward for dogs. There were some sights that recommended aloe, for dogs, only be used externally. Some sites suggested internal use was beneficial. These contradicting findings lead me down a rabbit trail that turned into a week long search for answers. Here is what I came up with:

I have noticed a disturbing trend among people to try to use oils and such for their pets; they are using essential oils, and they are having some pretty bad results and problems. Please don’t misunderstand me here. I love essential oils, for external use. The right ones can really help with headaches, stress, insomnia, etc.. However, most of these oils are not meant for internal use! Some of them are. For instance, I have an essential ginger oil that is food grade and is made for external or internal use. I use it all of the time, to help with stomach upset after a meal or indigestion. But…it is food grade. Same goes for mint oils. Peppermint oil, can be amazing at helping with digestion, but it needs to be a food grade oil, not simply an essential oil that is meant to be rubbed into the skin. With the food grade oils that I have, they actually have a nutritional value label on them. If your oil does not have nutritional values on them, please do not ingest them.

This same rule holds true for aloe vera. There are aloe vera gels that are simply meant to be used on the skin. They are not food grade and are not meant for internal consumption. Then there are aloe vera juices, which have nutritional values on them, because they are meant for internal use.

Is there a difference

The biggest difference, that I have found, in what makes aloe safe for dogs, is whole leaf vs. inner leaf. The whole leaf includes the yellow membrane that can cause diarrhea in dogs. Because of this, I would stay away from aloe “gel” and stick with aloe “juice” that is from the inner leaf. I would also recommend starting out slowly, because, like anything else, changes to your dogs diet, an sometime cause stomach upset. 

Might I also suggest that if you don’t intend to use aloe, specifically for internal consumption, that you still try to stay within the food grade aloe. Why? Because dogs lick anything they can reach, especially sores. Therefore, it only stands to reason that if you put something on your dogs owe, and they can reach it, that they will lick it off. If what you are applying topically, is food grade, then you probably won’t have to worry about any negative effects when you pooch licks it clean!

My personal experience

Personally, I have not had the need to use aloe internally for any of my dogs. However, I have used my personal, food grade aloe, for boo boos that they have gotten, and have had no negative effects from that. With that being said, I would have no problem, nor would I hesitate, in using this internally, should one of my dogs require such a treatment. As for the horses? It is pretty clear where I stand on that point. I have seen amazing results, in a relatively short amount of time, and will continue to use aloe as a remedy for as long as it is needed.

Many blessings to you and your four-legged-loves ~ Tammy 

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