Most people know why aloe vera is beneficial for overall health and wellbeing – you may even have a little pot plant on your kitchen window ledge just in case you need to get to its soothing inner leaf gel in a cooking emergency – but what you may not realise is that not every aloe plant is equal, and not every ‘aloe’ product contains the aloe percentage or purity needed to deliver the benefits you’re after.
Let’s look at purity of aloe vera
Out of the 400 or so species, it’s the Aloe Barbadensis Miller variety that carries the properties most beneficial to humans, and it is the pure inner leaf gel of this plant that houses the nutrients many of us desire.
It’s likely that you already have a rough idea as to why people love this succulent, especially since it’s colloquially referred to as the ‘burn plant’ or ‘miracle plant’, but aloe is also believed to benefit your skin, hair and nails, your digestive health, and it can support immunity. That said, it’s not as simple as rubbing the leaf over your skin – that would actually be quite prickly and uncomfortable – it’s about extracting the right part of the plant and in many cases, mixing this magical element with other ingredients that elevate its power to deliver effective results.
The structure of an aloe leaf is made up of rind, sap, mucilage and parenchyma gel. The rind is a waxy outer layer that acts as protection and just inside the rind is a fluid called sap, this is pretty bitter in taste. Below the sap is mucilage containing acemannan – acemannan carries beneficial properties relating to immune health – and this layer is usually filleted to reveal inner gel known as the parenchyma, a clear, gel-like substance. Scientists have identified more than 75 active nutrients in the gel and these compounds work synergistically to provide soothing and therapeutic benefits. These compounds include amino acids, enzymes, saponins, minerals, vitamins and fatty acids, and it is this pure inner leaf gel that’s responsible for aloe’s glowing reputation.
The farming process of aloe vera
There are plenty of aloe farms around the world but not many companies that produce aloe products own the physical ground where the aloe grows. Forever Living does own its own farms, and this means it can control the entire aloe process. As well as the farms, Forever also owns the factory where the aloe is processed, the laboratories that create the formulas and the warehouses that house the finished products. With such involvement in the life of every aloe plant, Forever can carefully monitor what’s going on and ensure every single succulent is properly nurtured and treated in a way that preserves high quality.
In total, 6,500 acres of Aloe Barbadensis Miller hug the soil across Forever’s farms. Goats, sheep and cattle roam the fields to help with weed control and to provide natural fertiliser, and once an aloe plant has matured the outer leaves are carefully handpicked to check the condition and to ensure the younger leaves are not damaged. Once picked, the nutrient-rich leaves are transported to an onsite facility to be washed and hand filleted. Local farmers are skilled at removing the outer-most part of the leaf to ensure only the pure inner leaf gel remains, and it is this part of the aloe that continues on the rest of the journey. Minutes after filleting, the gel is stabilised in a process that’s unique to Forever Living; this guarantees that the aloe gel remains as pure and as potent as possible.
Every aloe leaf is processed within six hours of its harvest to minimise deterioration. All raw materials are thoroughly tested to make sure there are no traces of microbes, fungus or heavy metals, and these raw materials are tested again throughout the manufacturing process. As a company, Forever Living performs over 1.4 million quality tests per year to assure customers that its aloe remains the purest and highest quality available on the market.
Let’s look at percentage of aloe vera
Once Forever Living’s aloe vera gel reaches the manufacturing facility, scientists add other unique ingredients, botanicals and natural oils in order to create new and effective products, including personal care products, skincare and aloe-based drinks. Forever prides itself on producing products that boast a high percentage of aloe alongside other ingredients; while other brands would just add aloe as an additional ingredient, Forever always starts with pure, inner leaf aloe.
Be warned that many aloe products on the market do not contain pure inner leaf gel but a mix of sap and various other less favourable parts of the leaf. If you are ever unsure about the integrity of a product containing aloe, check the packaging displays the International Aloe Science Council’s (IASC) seal of approval. IASC only approves aloe products that meet their stringent standards for quantity and quality. Despite the lack of quality stamp, many companies still choose to compromise the aloe recipe since removing the unpleasant parts of aloe and extracting just the inner-most gel is a time-consuming and costly process. Unfortunately, poor quality aloe also means poor health benefits and the product is less likely to work in the way you hope. Thankfully, Forever Living has mastered and patented extracting the inner leaf gel to ensure its products contain the purest and highest quality aloe possible in today’s market.
Since aloe vera is good for the immune system and as a digestive aid, you’re going to want to consume an aloe drink that carries a high percentage; a higher percentage means a more powerful result. There’s no point drinking aloe if it’s not going to provide the benefits you need! Forever Aloe Vera Gel is almost as pure as drinking aloe directly from the leaf at 99.7% pure, and Forever Aloe Berry Nectar and Forever Aloe Peaches follow close behind at 90.7% and 84.3%. These percentages really are impressive, but it just keeps getting better and better: each flavour also contains vitamin C, is free from preservatives and additives, and is housed in recyclable packaging that’s vacuum sealed to keep all the pure goodness inside.
And it’s not just the drinks that boast a high aloe percentage. Aloe vera is great for skin, hair and nails; it’s hydrating, purifying and contains natural moisturising properties that are going to benefit you in so many ways. Many of Forever’s topical skincare products also contain a high aloe percentage, and since aloe is a revered skincare ingredient known for its beauty benefits, these are the kind of aloe-based products you want to choose. Add Aloe Activator to your skincare routine and you’ll be getting 98.9% aloe (this product can be used as a cleanser, toner and moisturiser), spritz your hair with Aloe First for 80% aloe that soothes skin and protects hair from the damaging effects of the sun, and coat your body in Aloe Propolis Creme for a 74% aloe-experience that leaves skin feeling smooth and pampered!
If you’re looking for quality aloe products you can trust, you need to think about purity, you need to think about percentage, and you need to choose Forever.
by Kate Hodge – Forever UK