All About Aloe: Introducing Tiny Pioneer Aloe Vera Products!
Continuing with our ‘All about Aloe’ series, in this post I want to formally introduce our range of aloe vera products! Some of these have already been on sale for a few months, but I have not yet written about them in detail. I don’t even think a lot of you even spotted them when they appeared, to be honest! A couple of newer products went on sale last month, so now seems like an opportune moment to finally introduce them all together.
Two questions that I have been asked several times over the years are:
- I really want to try aloe capsules, but I can’t afford them – can you give me a discount?
- I can’t take capsules – is it okay to empty them out into water instead?
My answer to the first question was always, “I’m sorry, no.” I know from personal experience how costly chronic health issues can be and what a struggle it is finding money for treatments and supplements. I used to wish I could give everyone who needed it a discount or a free trial, but we try to keep our prices fair for everyone, regardless of whether they are new customers, regular customers, can afford to bulk buy, or can only afford one month at a time. This leaves no room for discounts, which is why we don’t generally have special offers.
My answer to the second question was always, “Yes,” but I always used to think how great it would be to offer a powder product for people who don’t like capsules!
I am delighted to announce that we now have a range of aloe vera products that should suit every budget, in both capsule and powder form! Some of you might already have used our flow chart to help you choose the best product for you, but I thought it would be nice to write about each of them in more detail.
Regardless of which of our aloe products you choose, I’ll start by letting you know that they are all made from USDA NOP certified organically grown aloe vera powder. They are also all made from powders certified by the International Aloe Science Council, which is a not-for-profit trade organisation that helps to establish quality standards for aloe vera ingredients and products. I will be dedicating a blog post to the International Aloe Science Council at some point, as I think they do great work! I want to emphasise that our own finished products are not IASC certified, as this is a costly process and is not something we’re able to do yet. Maybe one day! However, the powders from which our finished products are made are all IASC certified and we will let you know if that ever has to change for any reason.
All of our aloe products have had anthraquinones, including aloin and aloe emodin, removed. This means they will not produce laxative effects and are suitable for long term use. Each product is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. With the exception of our Aloe 600 Capsules which contain a little silicon dioxide as a flow agent, all are free from fillers, binders and excipients. None of the aloe powders used in our products is tested on animals and nor do we test any of our finished products on animals.
We have had our Aloe 200 Capsules, our Aloe 600 Capsules and the aloe used in our powder products comprehensively analysed at a third party, independent laboratory. We did this because although we had done our research and believed we had chosen superior ingredients, we wanted to be absolutely certain of the ingredient quality for our own peace of mind. To our delight and relief, all powders surpassed our expectations!
Now that we have discussed the features shared by our whole aloe range, let’s take a look at what sets the products apart from each other!
First, our Aloe 200 Capsules. These are made with 200mg of 200:1 spray-dried aloe vera, but the aloe vera is grown in volcanic soil in Mexico and processed in a way that yields a minimum 10% polysaccharide content. This means that we are able to use less aloe powder per capsule without compromising too much on acemannan content. Using only 200mg of aloe powder per capsule allows us to offer this product at a much lower price than our Aloe 600 Capsules, making it a great choice for those who are on a budget or those who no longer require large amounts of aloe to keep their symptoms under control.
The acemannan content of our Aloe 200 Capsules is displayed on the product page – I won’t write it here, or else I’ll have to remember to update it every time we get a new test done and I don’t need that kind of responsibility in my life! It isn’t feasible for us to have such comprehensive testing done on every batch, but I do hope we will be able to get the acemannan content of occasional batches checked. Not only do I find it personally reassuring, but I think it’s a nice thing to display for customers.
If you are completely new to aloe vera products and have interstitial cystitis, we’d recommend starting with the Aloe 600 Capsules or a full daily serving one of our powder products if you can afford it. However, we understand that not everyone is in a position to do this and we hope our Aloe 200 Capsules will open up the opportunity to try concentrated aloe vera capsules to more people. The full serving of six capsules a day would be required to begin with and for several months, but it might eventually be possible to reduce the daily serving once symptoms are resolved making the product even more purse-friendly.
If you have been using concentrated oral aloe vera products for some time and require only a small daily serving to keep your symptoms at bay, the Aloe 200 Capsules would be a great choice for you too. After all, why pay more for extra acemannan that you don’t need when you can do just fine with a smaller amount?! You can always opt to keep a bottle of Aloe 600 Capsules on hand for unexpected flare ups, which every IC sufferer knows can happen from time to time!
Tiny Pioneer Aloe 600 Capsules are a more potent capsule option. At the time of writing, they are made with 600mg of 200:1 freeze-dried aloe vera powder, 20mg of calcium carbonate, and a little silicon dioxide, which acts as a flow agent. We’d like to remove the calcium carbonate and the silicon dioxide at some stage, but we are waiting to hear whether this will be possible. Aloe vera powders are quite sticky and not all capsule machines are able to process them without the addition of a flow agent. Both calcium carbonate and silicon dioxide are quite grainy and they make the aloe vera powder less sticky and easier to pour into capsule shells.
In case you are wondering, freeze-drying is a slightly gentler process than spray-drying, but it requires more steps and is thus often more costly. Freeze-drying yields a denser powder, which means that one cubic centimetre of freeze-dried aloe powder is heavier than one cubic centimetre of spray-dried powder. You can think of the spray-dried powder as being fluffier than freeze-dried, if that helps! The difference in density means that more freeze-dried powder can be squashed into a capsule, hence why we are able to get 600mg of freeze-dried powder into a capsule shell! Initially we had hoped to make a 600mg capsule with our spray-dried powder, because it has a higher percentage of polysaccharides, gram for gram. However, the spray-dried powder was too fluffy for this to be possible, so we decided to make the spray-dried powder into a budget capsule and to make a more potent, premium capsule with freeze-dried powder.
Freeze-drying is a way of preserving ingredients by removing moisture without damaging nutrients. All sorts of things can be freeze-dried – it is not unique to aloe vera! The ingredient is quickly frozen at very low temperatures, so that any water turns to ice and the resulting ice crystals are small. Longer freeze times would result in larger ice crystals, which might damage the ingredient. Pressure is then lowered to create a vacuum and the temperature is gently increased. Normally when ice melts it turns into liquid water. However, the creation of vacuum conditions means that as temperatures rise in the freeze-drying process, ice immediately turns from solid to gas in a process known as sublimation. Effectively, the ice is forced to quickly evaporate, leaving an ingredient with most of the moisture removed!
In spray-drying, liquid products are turned into fine droplets at the top of drying tower. As the droplets fall down the tower, they are exposed to hot air for less than two seconds, which dries them out. The aloe vera used in our Aloe 200 Capsules is spray-dried in a special way which allows more natural constituents to be retained than standard freeze-dry and spray-dry processes.
Our Aloe 600 Capsules deliver more acemannan than our Aloe 200 Capsules. You can view acemannan levels on the product page, as once again I don’t want to have to update this post every time we get a new test done! I would recommend the Aloe 600 Capsules for people who are new to oral aloe vera products, do not have their symptoms under control and are able to afford a more potent product. People whose symptoms are under control, but who require a higher serving size to maintain this might also like to choose Aloe 600 Capsules. Broadly speaking, if your maintenance serving size has been less than three capsules a day, Aloe 200 is probably the best fit for you. If your maintenance serving size has been 4-6 capsules a day, you can choose between Aloe 200 and Aloe 600. If you have been taking 6+ capsules a day, you should choose Aloe 600 Capsules if you can afford them.
Now we’ve talked about the capsules, let’s take a look at the aloe vera powders! Please note that the same amount of the same aloe vera powder is used in all three of our loose powder products. In other words, no matter which you choose, you will get the same amount of the same kind of aloe.
The aloe vera used in our loose powder products is a special 200:1 spray-dried powder, processed entirely without the use of heat or enzymes. I have to be honest, I don’t know exactly how this is achieved as I don’t do it personally myself and the lab keeps the exact process a little bit secret! This is because the process yields a balance of polysaccharides that most closely mimics those found in nature. Polysaccharide molecules come in various sizes and some sizes have different medicinal properties to others. Unprocessed aloe vera contains a good spread of sizes, but it is difficult to maintain this balance during freeze-drying, spray-drying, or other preservation methods. The aloe used in our loose powders is so gently processed that it retains a spread of polysaccharide sizes almost identical to those found in fresh aloe vera. The resulting ingredient is very fluffy indeed, which is not ideal for encapsulation, but presents no problem for loose powders!
Our loose powders provide the highest levels of acemannan of our aloe vera range. We would recommend them for people whose symptoms are quite severe and who do not mind using powder instead of capsules. Our Simply Aloe Powder can also be purchased and taken at a half serving size for an even cheaper alternative to our Aloe 200 Capsules. A half serving size would be similarly appropriate for people on a low maintenance serving size of aloe vera who dislike taking capsules and would prefer a loose powder.
The aloe used in our loose powder range has been tested in a small sample of patients with Crohn’s disease, where it performed favourably in all cases. I am hoping that all of our aloe products, especially our loose powders, will be of interest not only to bladder pain patients, but also to people with inflammatory bowel conditions including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Simply Aloe Powder is, as the name suggests, simply aloe vera powder! Nothing is added except a scoop for serving and a silica sachet to keep the aloe dry! Please note that aloe vera goes clumpy if it is exposed to moisture, so please keep your powder products sealed when not in use and don’t use a damp scoop or spoon to serve. We will not issue refunds for clumpy powders, so please take good care of your product after purchase!
Aloe Mallow Powder contains equal parts aloe vera and peeled marshmallow root. A good quality aloe vera powder feels slimy when you lick a little of it from your finger – this is because aloe vera is mucilaginous. This means it makes a slimy coating when it comes into contact with wet surfaces. Lots of herbs are mucilaginous and they can variously be used to address bowel irritation, urinary spasm, burns, ulcers, digestive and respiratory irritation, coughs and more. Like aloe vera, marshmallow root contains mucilage and although it has not been well studied for interstitial cystitis, it has a long history of use for bladder and bowel complaints in traditional medicine and there are plenty of anecdotes attesting to its efficacy. I am excited to be offering this loose powder duo – partly because it is unusual to see the two ingredients offered together in this way and partly because I like the name!
(Here is a fun, but gruesome fact for you. In the early days of my PGAD when I was trying to find effective remedies, one of the things I tried was picking fresh marshmallow leaves, chopping them up, pouring a little warm water on them, wrapping them in a handkerchief, and sticking them up my vagina. I used to have to dip the kerchief in a little lubricant or vitamin E oil to get it to go inside and I’d have to leave the corners poking out so that I could get the whole thing out safely again. I used to do something similar with sticks of cucumber, peeled and also wrapped in handkerchiefs. This actually worked quite well, but sometimes the corners of the cucumber sticks would dig in uncomfortably and once I discovered better remedies, there was no going back! So, when you read Tiny Tips for Dealing with a PGAD Flare in five minutes, spare a thought for the research that went into it and never let it be said that I did not suffer for my art!)
Finally, Tiny Pioneer Blend No. 3 Powder contains aloe vera, water-soluble palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) powder and Boswellia serrata extract, which you might also know as Indian frankincense. All three of these ingredients have proven anti-inflammatory effects and although I can’t find much evidence of Boswellia having been used in human interstitial cystitis before, it has been studied in Crohn’s disease. PEA has been well-studied in a host of chronic conditions, including interstitial cystitis and Crohn’s disease, and some of you might recognise it as a component of Bladder Builder. To my knowledge, Blend No. 3 is the first product to combine aloe vera, PEA and Boswellia, so I am very proud of it! It is a premium product, with good amounts of all three ingredients presented in high-quality forms. I think it will be of interest to people with all sorts of inflammatory conditions and I can’t wait to hear how you get on with it!
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to offer a range of Tiny Pioneer branded supplements. It was such a milestone for me last year when our Simply PEA Powder and Simply PEA Capsules went on sale. I certainly hadn’t planned to ever offer our own range of aloe vera products, but once it became clear that it would be necessary, I became very excited at the possibilities. I hope that our Aloe 200 Capsules will be welcome in the current economic climate; I hope our Aloe 600 Capsules will become a trusted staple; and I hope our loose powders will exceed the expectations of those adventurous enough to try them!
Right, I feel sure that I will have forgotten to include something important in this post, but that is all I can think of for now! Hopefully it has helped to clear up some confusion about which product is best for your own needs. In my next post, continuing the aloe theme, I think we will be learning how to interpret labels and compare different brands of aloe vera product, so stay tuned for that!
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