Joy Fernandes, Aloe Vera evangelist

When I first heard about the magical properties of Aloe Vera, I was unprepared for the absolute bitter taste of the product which wouldn’t leave my mouth for at least 15 mins! I went ahead and swallowed it anyway, telling myself it is medicinal and good for so many of my medical problems.

I am so glad I stuck with it. Today after one year of taking 50 ml of Aloe Vera on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, I can vouch for it. My aches and pains are reduced considerably, my skin is glowing and my hair is glossier and thicker than it ever was.

Aloe Vera. Pic: Snehalatha Naidu.

I was introduced to this wonder drink by a friend who directed me to Joy Fernandes who sells the Aloe from his residence in Da Costa Layout.

Joy Dereck Fernandes heard about Aloe from his brother-in-law and decided to plant around 5000 saplings in 1997. He was convinced about the healing properties of the plant and having a granite industry in Tumkur with a lot of land to spare, he decided to go ahead with Aloe cultivation. He would sell the leaves initially and when his customers told him that it was too difficult for them to process and take the juice from the leaf, decided to take out the thick raw extract, bottle it and then sell it to the people who came to his door. Today he has 20000 thousand plants in his farm.

When one of his workers was burnt in a fire at the granite plant at night, he was in a quandary as to how to take care of the man who had major burns in his chest and upper body. While waiting for the ambulances to arrive he was approached by an old man who told him not to worry and use the cut leaves of Aloe on the man’s burns. Doing as instructed, Fernandes cut the Aloe leaves lengthwise and put them on the man’s chest and upper body covering the burnt area completely with the Aloe.

The next morning, he was surprised to see that the burns had healed totally and the skin had shrunk, something that happens only after weeks of second degree burns. Convinced that he had a miracle plant in his backyard, he started serious marketing of the Aloe Vera juice.

Pic courtesy: Joy Fernandes.

Today Fernandes has many satisfied customers and sells the Aloe at a very nominal price. "I had to put a price on the product as when I was giving it away free I noticed that people would misuse the product or take it for granted," says Fernandes with a smile. "I also do not want to sell the Aloe commercially. Mine is more of a social service and the more people who benefit by it, the happier I will be."

"Everyone should grow Aloe in their homes. I need to create awareness of this magical plant," says Fernandes. "It is my dream to ensure that everyone benefits from this plant, like the Egyptians who benefited from it thousands of years ago. They called it the miracle plant or the immortal plant. I want it to be as household a name as Tulsi in India."

Aloe Vera, also known as the true or medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe that is believed to have originated in the Sudan. Aloe Vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India, and other arid areas. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine. Many scientific studies of the use of extracts of Aloe Vera have been undertaken, some of them conflicting. Despite these limitations, there is some preliminary evidence that Aloe Vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of wound and burn healing, minor skin infections, sebaceous cystdiabetes, and elevated blood lipids in humans.  These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as polysaccharidesmannans, anthraquinones and lectins.

The Aloe Vera leaf gel contains most of the minerals and vitamins, 18 amino acids, enzymes and 200 active plant compounds. The benefits of Aloe are many fold. It halts the growth of cancer tumours, lowers high cholesterol, boosts the oxygenation of blood, cures asthma and allergies, detoxifies the whole body, stabilises blood sugars and boosts physical exertion, cardiovascular performance and anti aging, just to name a few, say some of the studies. It is nature’s own ‘sports drink’ for electrolyte balance.

Mahatma Gandhi was asked to reveal the secret of his strength and energy, after his Dandi March in 1930. "My unshakable faith in God, my simple and frugal life and my daily intake of Aloe Vera which I discovered in South Africa," he said.

Fernandes and his wife are the only ones who are allowed to take the gel out of the Aloe since it requires careful and hygienic processing. Using no preservatives, chemicals, stabilisers or artificial flavours or thickeners, their Aloe is available in 500 ml bottles which are recycled and reused by them when the customers return the bottles after use.

Do’s and Don’ts about Aloe Vera Gel:

  • Always keep under refrigeration. The shelf life of their Aloe is 15 days since it is completely natural and 3 months under frozen conditions.
  • Start your day with 50 ml on an empty stomach and follow with your usual routine after 15 mins. Drink a lot of water all day.
  • Do not consume the gel straight from the fridge but wait for it to reach room temperature.
  • Always shake the bottle vigorously before using the gel to get a uniform amount in the cup.
  • Do not consume more than 50 ml per day.
  • Children below the ages of 8 should not have this gel. Also pregnant and nursing ladies should avoid the use of this gel.
  • Aloe can be taken with honey or fruit juice if unpalatable.

As I got ready to leave, Fernandes showed me his prized Aloe plant in a huge pot. The plant had enormous leaves and looked very healthy. "Grown in ideal conditions, every Aloe plant will look like this,” he said. "Water the plant only in summer and give it a lot of sunshine. It’s as simple as that,” said Fernandes, adding, “Aloe can guarantee you lifelong good health and vitality,” as a parting shot.

All of the above is related from personal experience. The internet has a lot of information about Aloe Vera for anyone who wishes to learn more about it; Kindly check with your doctor before taking Aloe Vera juice to avoid any complications.

Joy Fernandes: Ph: 9343348000; jdgranites at hotmail.com

About Snehalatha Naidu 0 Articles
Snehalatha Naidu is Editor, Richards Town Residents Association newsletter and a corporate trainer.

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