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Now don't get me wrong, I am a definite aloe vera convert. In India the plant grows wild and to huge sizes, literally as big as people. I have seen local people cut the stems of the plant and add them to cooking, use the inner gel on skin conditions like burns, and generally get a lot of use out of the plant. I have seen children chew it freshly picked and tried the same myself. The outside of the plant needs cooking to be edible, but the inside contains the valuable gel that has so many versatile uses. From what I have seen, hese people live in 'poor' villages on very basic diets, yet they are healthy with few allergies and skin problems. So I do think it's a great plant and natural remedy.
That is why, lacking access to wild aloe vera plants here in England, I decided to buy the Aloe Pura 'juice' when it was offer in my local Holland and Barrett store. I didn't think I'd take it long term but I thought I'd see whether it helped my dry skin at all, or eased digestion like the product claims to. The Aloe Pura juice is available in four flavours - pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, papaya. Being a blueberry fan, this is the one I decided to try. The juices are not pure aloe vera but a blend of aloe and other health products, including fennel, caraway, chamomile and burdock. Each blend is marketed as specific to an ailment, so there is liquid fibre juice that contains figs and is meant to help with bowel regularity, and there is also a detox juice made with pomegranate, to help cleanse your body.
I couldn't taste any of these in the juice though. My cranberry and blueberry concoction is meant to be soothing and high in antioxidants. Unfortunately, I could barely taste the blueberry, but this leads me to telling you what the juice tastes like, and that is impossible to fully describe due to the fact that it is so, so sour and has such a sharp tang to it. This could be the cranberry that is added but I am inclined to think that it is in fact the aloe itself as even cranberry juice is not that sharp.
I am not a fussy individual, I will try most foods and am always happy to explore new tastes and textures, especially if they might improve my health as I do get run down chasing after a toddler and working from home and, at present, carrying a new baby. But I just can't stand the taste of this juice. It is so, so bitter, and not in a nice gentle dandelion tea way. The flavour is simply too sharp for me.
So after taking a capful a day of it for a few days, and gagging every time I did so, I tried adding it to ordinary juice instead. I tried mango juice, orange juice, and smoothie blends with milk, but none of these could mask the harsh flavour and I gave up after a just a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the rest of the mixture ended up going in that bin as after being enticed to try one capful of it my husband declared that it tasted like pipe cleaner and to spill it down the sink, which I promptly did.
I can not say then that this product does not work at all, as I couldn't persist with it for long enough, but I will say that this is a really hard mixture to swallow, and you'd be better off buying aloe vera pills to experience the benefits of the plant or else growing the plant at home and adding it to cooking or to smoothies etc. Although this will only provide small doses of the plant, this is how they consume it in India so perhaps it really isn't meant for concentrated, high dose use, and that is why it tastes so awful no matter what you add to it to make the flavour bearable.
Aloe Pura aloe vera juice is available in 500ml and 1 litre plastic bottles. I spent £4.99 on a 500ml bottle when it was on offer and I consider this to have been a waste of money. You can also get a maximum strength juice that I will never ever dare to try, having tasted one of the attempts to improve the flavour a few too many times. I do not recommend this juice at all and I think they should call it concentrate or tonic rather than juice as that is more what it tastes like - it isn't sweet at all. You are meant to take 25ml a day which is just over a teaspoon - one and a half to be precise - and if you can manage that, good luck.