Questions and Answers About Aloe Vera
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. You will see that we don't have all the answers. Only God has that prerogative.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ALOE VERA...
Will using aloe vera cure my condition?
A: Aloe vera is not a cure for any condition. There are more than 200 ingredients in the aloe vera plant, and much research has been conducted on them since the 1930s. Some of these ingredients have medically beneficial properties, especially on the skin. To read more about these studies, click here to access the Physician's Portal.
How many of the Desert Harvest Super-Concentrated Aloe Vera
Capsules should I take each day?
A: Based on our clinical trial and other studies, we recommend that you start with 6 capsules per day, three in the morning and three in the evening with an 8 ounce glass of liquid. Some people can eventually find a maintenance dose less than 6 capsules, and others might require as many as 12 capsules per day, but you won't know until you experiment with your own individual dosing needs. IC patients should refer to our dosage recommendations, which includes escalation protocols if a standard dose doesn't work for you. It also gives recommendations for bringing flares under control and instructions for titrating doses to a maintenance level after finding your ideal dose.
I am a diabetic. Can I take aloe?
A: Based on testimony and research, it would appear that you can. You should monitor your blood sugar level very closely, especially if you are taking insulin. Research using concentrated aloe vera in diabetics has shown that blood sugar can be reduced up to 55%. Insulin doses were either reduced or totally eliminated when study subjects added aloe vera in sufficient quantities to their daily diet. The mechanism is thought to be related to aloe vera's beta-cell protective effects, inhibitory effects on glucose-absortion speed, and a modulataion of liver enzymes. Read the research by clicking here.
Are there side effects when taking concentrated aloe vera?
A: Concentrated aloe vera with the anthraquinones removed (like our Desert Harvest products) have no negative side effects, unless you happen to be allergic to aloe vera. In that case, you would probably notice immediate hives, trouble breathing, swelling of the mouth and/or tongue, profuse diarrhea, and/or vomiting. Less than 1% of the general population can be allergic to aloe vera, just like any plant.
Why did I feel "crappy" during the first few weeks
of taking your concentrated aloe vera capsules?
A: In about 2% of our database of more than 50,000 people, we have recorded what is sometimes called a "die-off" reaction in the first few weeks of taking our concentrated aloe vera capsules. We are not doctors, but we can tell you about research conducted by doctors on this subject. Sometimes called a Die-Off Reaction, Cleansing Reaction, Detox Reaction, or Herxheimer Reaction, a healing crisis often occurs when your body tries to eliminate toxins at a faster rate than they can be properly disposed of. When you begin taking a dense nutritional supplement that provides your body with the building blocks it needs to heal, it will automatically begin making new, healthier cells. It must then dispose of the dead, replaced cells, or toxins.
The more toxic one's bodily systems are, the more severe the detoxification, or healing crisis. It is characterized by a temporary increase in symptoms during the cleansing or detox process which may be mild or severe. You may feel worse and therefore conclude that the food supplement is not working. But these reactions are instead signs that they are working and that your body is going through the process of cleaning itself of impurities, toxins, and imbalances.
Such reactions are temporary and can occur immediately or within several days, or even several weeks, of a detox. Symptoms usually pass within 1-3 days, but on rare occasions can last several weeks. If you are suffering from a major illness, the symptoms you experience during the healing crisis may be identical to the disease itself. Sometimes discomfort during the healing crisis is of greater intensity than when you were developing the chronic disease. This may explain why there may be a brief flare-up in one’s condition.
To help you feel better faster, drink plenty of fresh water (especially water), juices, and herbal teas. Some healthcare professionals recommend distilled water. Drink from 2 to 4 quarts per day. This will help flush the toxins out of your system. If you are feeling fatigued or sleepy, your body is talking to you, and telling you to rest. Be kind to yourself, and get the rest that you need. Symptoms frequently disappear immediately after a good bowel movement, so try Desert Harvest’s Magnesium Oxide supplement. Acupuncture or a good massage might be helpful. On rare occasions, a reduction of the dosage or temporary cessation may be required until you feel better.
It is important to get a thorough medical check up if your symptoms don’t subside quickly. You may not be in a healing crisis but may have a medical problem requiring attention by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
I've been taking Desert Harvest Aloe Vera Capsules for a while
now and my IC symptoms are nearly gone, but every now and
then I have a brief flare of my symptoms, usually associated
with eating some acidic foods. Can I take more capsules to
bring my symptoms back under control?
A: Absolutely! Many IC patients will take 3 to 6 capsules immediately when their symptoms flare and can experience relief within minutes to a few hours. You might have to maintain an escalated dose for a few days and then begin decreasing your dose by one capsule per day until you find a maintenance dose that keeps you symptom free most of the time. For more information about dosage recommendations, click here.
What do you feel is aloe vera's greatest contribution to good
health and is it a panacea for all disease?
A: Probably the best way to answer this is to quote what Dr. Terry Pulse said, "If you can hold the progress of disease in check and if you can stimulate and enhance one's own defense mechanism, which is your immune system, there are no diseases that your own body is not capable of conquering and aloe vera meets those principles." No, we would not go so far as to say that it is a panacea, but aloe has been around for 4000 years and has obviously had great benefits to the body or it would not still be used today.
Why didn't aloe vera help my condition?
A: That's a hard question to answer. A lot depends on what brand of aloe vera you used. If the brand contained too small a quantity of aloe and its active ingredients, there could be little if any benefit. Then you must be consistent and take the product every day. Also, aloe is not a drug. It is a natural modality that helps supply you with your daily nutritional needs to keep your body defensive and able to fight against the invasion of disease and to support id your body's own defenses to fight any disease already present. Your body heals itself if it has the right defense weapons. We believe aloe is one of those weapons. In clinical studies using aloe vera, you will never see a 100% response rate.
HOW TO USE ALOE VERA...
Can I take aloe along with other vitamins, medicines, and
supplements? Does it make a difference if I take your aloe
vera with or without food?
A: Yes, you can take whatever medications and food supplements you are currently taking without a problem. As a matter of fact, most people report back that their other products work better when taken with aloe. Although you can take your aloe vera either with or without food and it won't effect the way it works, you may actually increase the blood levels of certain nutrients if you take your aloe vera with food. Recent research by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) has linked aloe vera to the bioavailability of vitamins C and E. According to the research, aloe vera increases levels of vitamins C and E in the bloodstream by more than 200% when consumed while taking both vitamins. In addition, levels of these vitamins remained elevated for 48 hours, providing a natural time-release effect. The study also concluded that aloe vera can enhance the bioavailability of both water- and fat-soluble vitamins.
How much aloe should I take?
A: First, you must know the polysaccharide count in the brand you are taking. Then you should take an amount that is equal to the need. Most people who are in perfect health tell us they use 400 to 1200 milligrams of polysaccharides per day (that is 2 to 6 capsules per day of the Desert Harvest Super-Strength Aloe Vera). Those people with serious problems take 1200 to 4200 milligrams daily (6 to 18 capsules per day). You don't fight a forest fire with a garden hose. It is better to take more than less, especially when you are trying to recover from a disease or other medical problem. I have never heard of a reaction from taking too much. You can always titrate your dose down once you start noticing changes.
Q: Can I take concentrated aloe vera while I am pregnant or nursing?
A: Because our aloe vera concentrates haven't been studied specifically in pregnant women, the FDA doesn't allow us to recommend them during pregnancy. However, I can tell you that aloe vera concentrates with the anthraquinones removed (like our products) can be taken safely by babies and very young children with no problems. The primary ingredient in the aloe plant is a long-chain sugar called a polysaccharide. There are more than 200 individual ingredients in the aloe plant, most of which are nutritional, but there are ingredients that are unidentifiable. The anthraquinones that occur naturally in the aloe plant cause uterine contractions, so it is critical that pregnant women not take aloe vera products that have not filtered out 100% of those chemicals.
My bottle of Desert Harvest Aloe Vera Capsules has expired.
Are they still okay to take?
A: Yes, they are perfectly safe to take if they have been kept at room temperature or below without being exposed to excessive heat and humidity for long periods of time. Our shelf-life tests indicate that all of our Desert Harvest food supplements containing our super-concentrated aloe vera are still bioactive five years from the manufacturing date. We chose to use a three-year shelf life while we continue to study archived samples to see how many more years they will last, but indications are that they are good indefinitely as long as they aren't exposed to excessive heat or moisture for long periods of time (like a car's glove compartment for months during the summer in Arizona, or open without a lid on a humid bathroom shelf).
TYPES OF ALOE VERA PRODUCTS...
Which is better, concentrate or regular 1X aloe?
A: If you have a quality brand of aloe vera in the bottle, a 1X (single strength) is as good as a 15X (fifteen times stronger than 1X). The difference is that you need to take 15 times more of the 1X to achieve the same amount of the potentially beneficial active ingredients. One ounce of 15X is equal to 15 ounces of 1X. Cold processed concentrates had percentages of the water removed via a single-stage evaporator, resulting in less bulk, making it easier to store and more convenient for travel. Aloe is not known for its good taste, but you can mask the taste to suit your own taste buds by adding the concentrate to your favorite beverage. Concentrate costs less to ship because 1 bottle of 15X would equal 15 1X bottles. Desert Harvest Super-concentrated, Freeze-dried Aloe Vera Capsules are even better because 100% of the water and fiber have been removed. Because they are cold processed, all of the ingredients are bioactive, just like the liquid forms of aloe vera.
Are all aloe vera concentrates the same?
A: No. Many concentrates have had heat applied as part of their process. One company, whose product we recently tested, processes their aloe using a high-heat evaporation and stabilization process which caramelizes the sugars and also breaks down the large chains which science believes contribute so valuably to healing. It also had extremely high levels of Aloin (one of the anthraquinones. Many companies are labeling their products "concentrated" when, in fact, testing reveals very little of the active ingredients in their products. In other words, their labels are misleading in that the amount of concentrate stated is grossly inaccurate.
Are the super-strength capsules as effective as the liquid aloe
A: According to the people that are using both the capsules and liquid, they are achieving the same results. People with interstitial cystitis (IC) shouldn't take liquid aloe vera because they are usually preserved with citric acid or other additives to lower their pH. This can cause IC symptoms to flare.
Why does the color and taste of aloe vera vary so greatly?
A: That is a good, observant question and one of the most frequently asked. If you harvest the leaves after a long, dry period (no rain), it will reflect both a darker color and a much stronger taste. It also varies from season to season (summer vs. winter) therefore, variations in color, taste, and smell are very normal and should be expected.
Can I beneficially take aloe directly from the aloe vera plant?
A: Of course, but there are some things you need to be aware of. Both the inner and the outer skin have many of the important ingredients in them, but just under the skin is a yellowish sap filled with anthraquinones. These substances are very strong, irritative laxatives. They need to be removed with patented filtration processes. If you use aloe vera directly from the plant, you should only use the centermost part of the leaf, the clear gel. Even though Desert Harvest believes in the synergy of the whole plant, it is nearly impossible for home users to remove the anthraquinones and insoluble fiber, so we recommend just slicing out the clear gel. The plant loses most of its active, beneficial ingredients during its flowering period and should not be used at that time. Make certain that the aloe is freshly cut and used immediately. Without processing and preservatives, aloe loses important properties within the first six hours after harvest. The natural enzymes begin to "eat" the active ingredients, which are long-chain sugars. Finally, make certain that you really have an aloe vera plant. Some plants are very similar but have few, if any, beneficial properties. There are over 200 species of aloe vera. You should use the Barbadensis Miller plant. Really, in most all instances, it's easier to purchase a commercially prepared, super-strength aloe vera concentrate that has been cold processed and tested for its MPS content.
Can I raise my own aloe vera?
A: You should be able to. However, if you live in a cold climate where it freezes in the winter, the plant should be grown indoors. It is hardy and takes very little care. Don't overwater it. Give it some occasional natural plant food and lots of sun. Having said that, though, please read the previous question and its answer.
What effect does using heat have when processing aloe vera?
A: Heat can caramelize the sugars and break down the large polysaccharide chains which science believes contribute so valuably to healing.
How can I tell if a topical lotion or ointment has enough
aloe vera in it to be of any benefit?
A: Look at the label. The contents should be listed in percentage of volume. In most lotions and ointments, aloe is listed last or very near the end of ingredients. This tells you that the product has very little aloe in it and is of little or no worth. Aloe should be listed as the first ingredient on the label if you want to receive the maximum healing, soothing, and skin care benefits from aloe. One word of caution -- buy from a reputable supplier of products. There are some dishonest ones in the industry that list aloe not in the order of its percentage of volume.
One supplier indicates that only their aloe product contains
acemannan. Is this true?
A: All aloe vera has acemannan in it. Acemannan is a brand name for the mannose (the long-chain polysaccharides), which comes from aloe vera. The U.S. Adopted Names Council assigned the generic name Acemannan to a long-chain sugar linked, acetylated polymannose found in aloe vera and first identified by Dr. Bill McAnalley.
How can I determine what is a good brand of aloe vera to purchase?
A: There are two ways, one is to rely on testing from a reliable, independent laboratory. Another is to perform the testing yourself. It is possible to buy inexpensive test kits, but beware. Some fraudulent companies are becoming more sophisticated. They are adding cheap ingredients which are of no medical value but which fool the simple tests. The more complex tests which can detect these additions as well as determine the presence and quantities of aloe are expensive, usually running between $700 and $1,000 per test. Click here to see the latest lab tests on Desert Harvest's aloe vera.
ALOE VERA AND THE FDA...
Is aloe vera a drug?
A: No. It is no more a drug than carrots or potatoes or peaches. It is a natural food. But just as science is beginning to recognize the value of grains, vegetables, and fruits to our health, so aloe vera contributes to health.
Why doesn't the government approve the use of aloe vera as
A: They would, but to get registered as a drug would take several years and costs would be between $100 and $150 million. When registration is granted, the research company that spent all the money would not have any proprietary interest since aloe vera is protected from patent.
Why doesn't the FDA stop those in the aloe vera industry who
are misrepresenting their product?
A: If you take a 10,000 gallon vat and put one gallon of aloe vera juice in it and then add 9,999 gallons of water, you can advertise that it contains 100 percent pure stabilized aloe vera. That has been the position of FDA to date. One FDA representative said, "It's not our responsibility to say how much water is in a tomato, an orange, or in aloe vera." This position, of course, allows the unscrupulous to dilute the aloe as much as they want. There is no labeling requirement to list how much water and how much aloe is in a beverage.
I am really upset about the frauds in the aloe vera industry.
What can I do?
A: There are several things you can do. First, refuse to buy aloe vera products that haven't been tested by an independent laboratory for sufficient aloe content. Insist that the producer of the product furnish you with a copy of the independent testing results. If they won't supply the results, don't buy it. Second, educate your local health food stores and request that they carry only the best, tested aloe vera products. And third, inform your friends and associates about the problem in the industry and tell them how they can determine what products are good.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ORDER...
What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Desert Harvest accepts cash, checks, money orders, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. International customers can even use a wire transfer if they prefer (see below). It is our policy to request the three-digit security code located on the back of your credit card on the signature line (except for American Express, which prints a four-digit code on the front of the card, located just above the last four digits of your account number). That way, we protect your credit card information from fraud because only you have that code.
How do you protect my credit card information?
A: Our ordering system utilizes the highest level of data encryption legally allowed in the United States, and we are PCI compliant. This means that you can trust that all orders and credit card numbers are secure in the transmission from your computer to our server.
Do you ship internationally?
A: Yes. In fact, we have clients in more than 42 countries. Unfortunately, we do not have translators on staff at the present time, so all transactions much be completed in English. If you do not speak English, we recommend that you find a friend in your town who can translate for you when placing your order either by telephone or through our secure website at www.desertharvest.com.
Even though we have clients all over the world, we do have difficulty shipping to certain countries, including Brazil, Germany, and many African countries. If your country's customs department returns a package to us, we cannot refund the shipping charges.
There are two ways we can handle international orders without a credit card. One is to place your order over the Internet and in the place of the credit card, indicate that you want to pay with a cashier's check or money order in US dollars from your bank. We will email you back with the exact total of your order with shipping (in US dollars) and you can take that to your local bank and request a cashier check or money order. You will simply airmail that check to Desert Harvest, PO Box 1412, Hillsborough, NC, 27278, USA. When we receive the check, we will immediately ship your order.
The second option is a wire transfer from your bank to ours, which happens immediately and your order can be shipped the same day. There is an additional $7.50 fee at our end for this option and your bank may charge you something extra as well. If you choose this option, simply write "wire transfer" in the comment space on the Internet order form and we will email you with your order total and the instructions your bank will need for the wire transfer.
How can I check the status of my order?
A: To check the status of your order, log into your Desert Harvest account at https://www.desertharvest.com/shop/ and click on "Order History", or give us a call at 1-800-222-3901 (U.S. and Canada) or 1-719-592-0223 (International).
Can I talk to a live person?
A: Absolutely! Please feel free to call us anytime (Monday through Friday) between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM mountain time at 1-800-222-3901 (toll free to U.S. and Canada) or 1-719-592-0223 (for all other countries). We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and all major U.S. holidays.
Can I return or exchange an item?
A: You may return any of our products for a full refund of the unused portion, no questions asked (up to 6 months after purchase). Simply box up the bottle(s), enclose a copy of your invoice (or simply write your name and telephone number on a piece of paper), and return them to:
PO Box 1412
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Unopened bottles are refunded at the full price you paid for the product (without shipping) up to 6 months after purchase. Autoship customers will be charged a minimum $6.00 restocking fee for any items returned.
We go one step further and even take back opened bottles. We count the capsules, throw them away, and give you a refund for the portion you didn't use. Most manufacturers of nutritional supplements won't refund used products, but we like to provide exceptional customer service that exceeds your expectations.
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© Desert Harvest 1993-2017. All Rights Reserved.Desert Harvest does not make any health claims regarding any of its products. Even though we are committed to scientific research, we are not healthcare professionals. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any good health measures, it is important for an individual to be under the routine care of a physician and to follow the directions of qualified healthcare professionals. The suggestions, statements, and products on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.