Aloe Vera has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for beauty, health, and a medicinal cure for many ailments. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) is a shrubby green plant. It grows in the dry regions of America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Forms of Aloe Vera Gel: You can apply Aloe Vera gel onto the skin to help reduce inflammation, clear skin, and heal wounds. Juice and Supplements (capsules): You can take Aloe Vera orally via supplements or juice to stop constipation, boost the immune system, or reduce diabetes symptoms
Constituents Aloe Vera leaves have three layers Rind (outer layer), Latex (middle), Gel (inside) – It contains water, sugar, amino acids, fat, and vitamins. The latex and gel contain most of aloe Vera’s active compounds. Aloe Vera’s vitamins and anthraquinones have antioxidant properties. Its enzymes, glycoproteins, fatty acids, and hormones are anti-inflammatory.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera revealed by Scientific Research
1) Aloe Vera Is Anti-Inflammatory In a study using topical aloe Vera gel application on the subject’s backs, UV-ray induced inflammation (Sunburn) was reduced with more effectiveness than hydro-cortisone cream.
In human colon cells, Aloe Vera gel inhibited inflammation showing it’s potential in treating inflammatory bowel disease. Aloe Vera gel also suppressed inflammatory markers in human immune cells. In mice, topical aloe Vera application on their ears also reduced inflammation (that was caused by an irritant). 2) Aloe Vera Is Antimicrobial Scientific studies showed that Aloe Vera mouthwash was as effective as antibacterial chemicals in removing plaque. After thirty days, the Aloe Vera group also had healthier gums and less plaque compared to the controls.Herpes simplex is a virus that can cause cold sores and other diseases in the mouth. Aloe Vera gel can kill herpes simplex virus without being toxic to other cells. Aloin (extracted from aloe Vera) inactivated several viruses (influenza, herpes simplex, and varicella zoster). Purified Aloe Vera protein also inhibited fungal growth (Candida paraprilosis, C. krusei, and C. albicans). Aloe Vera contains antimicrobial compounds (phenols, sulfur, salicylic acid, lupeol, urea nitrogen, and cinnamonic acid), which inhibits viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Aloe Vera breaks bacterial cells to stop their growth.
3) Aloe Vera Boosts the Immune System
Aloe Vera contains many antioxidants – Vitamin C and E, flavonoids, tannins, and carotenoids. By stopping oxidative damage, the antioxidants can protect the immune system. In guinea pigs, alprogen (an aloe Vera constituent), inhibited mast cell formation. Mast cells are white blood cells that may cause inflammation and hypersensitivity or allergic reactions. When alprogen inhibited mast cell formation, it prevented histamine and leukotriene release and prevented allergic reactions. Aloe Vera extract also caused mice’s white blood cells to release interleukin-1 and tumour necrosis factor, which stimulates the immune system. Aloeride, a sugar from aloe Vera juice, activates white blood cells (macrophages), which also stimulates immune system function.
4) Aloe Vera Is Anti-Cancer
Various Aloe Vera polyphenols stopped cancer growth in human cells. Both aloe-emodin and emodin inhibited skin cancer cell growth. Also, combining aloe-emodin with chemotherapy drugs enhanced their effects. Polysaccharides from aloe gel extract prevent carcinogens from forming. Various Aloe Vera constituents (Emodin, Aloin, and Anthracene) inactivate cancer molecular pathways.
5) Aloe Vera Improves Diabetes Symptoms
In a study of type 2 diabetic patients (with high cholesterol), aloe gel capsule supplementation helped control diabetes. Taking 300 mg of aloe gel capsules twice daily for two months lowered blood sugar, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. It also lowered HBA1c, a long-term measure of blood sugar. A review showed that diabetic patients had the most improvement in blood sugar after taking aloe compared to healthy patients. In human cells, an aloe Vera compound (aloe-emodin glycosides) increased glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis. This reduces glucose levels and helps stop insulin resistance.
6) Aloe Vera Heals Wounds.
In a study of 30 burn patients, Aloe Vera gel helped treat burn wounds better than Nitrofurazone, an antibacterial ointment used to treat wounds. The aloe gel helped regrow new skin faster than the antibiotic ointment in patients with second-degree burns. In a study of 18 facial scarring patients, topical Aloe Vera gel helped heal skin more quickly. The treatment also reduced pain from their wounds better than antibacterial ointment. Aloe Vera’s constituents, glucomannan (sugar) and gibberellin (a growth hormone), interact with growth factors, which stimulates skin cell activity and growth. Additionally, Aloe Vera improved collagen composition, which helps heal wounds faster.
7) Aloe Vera Improves Skin Health.
In a study of 30 participants with dry hands, Aloe Vera gel (by wearing a glove for 8 hours a day) improved dry skin after about 4 days. There was a significant improvement after 10 days in skin strength, wrinkling, and reddening. In a study of 41 psoriasis patients, Aloe Vera gel decreased redness, peeling, and pain by 72.5%. Sugars from Aloe Vera help moisturize the skin by stimulating skin cells. The increase in collagen and Elastin also soften the skin, makes it more elastic, and reduces wrinkles.
8) Aloe Vera Acts as a Laxative.
Aloe Vera helps relieve constipation. In a study of 35 chronic constipation patients, Aloe Vera and fiber pills helped reduce constipation more than the control pills. The patients experienced more frequent bowel movements, softer stools, and took laxatives less often. Phenolic compounds from the latex of the Aloe Vera plant stimulate the intestine, increase intestinal water, and stimulates contractions.
9) Aloe Vera Gel Treats Canker Sores.
In a study of 40 patients with canker sores, Aloe Vera gel decreased healing time. It reduced pain and wound size. In another study of 90 patients, Aloe Vera gel fully healed 76% of the patients’ canker sores. It was especially efficient at decreasing ulcer size, redness, and oozing.
10) Aloe Vera Eases Heartburn. In a pilot study of 79 acid reflux patients, Aloe Vera was effective in relieving heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, gas, vomiting and nausea.
11) Aloe Vera Protects Hair.
UV radiation can cause hair to become dull, turn rough, and break easily. Aloe juice treatment on hair samples showed protective effects against UV ray damage and kept the hair shiny and smooth.
Possible Side Effects of Aloe Vera.
Because there are not many human trials available, caution should be taken while using Aloe Vera for its health benefits. Side Effects reported in various case studies include: Skin rashes, burning and stinging, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and constipation. High oral doses of Aloe Vera caused kidney failure, hepatitis, liver dysfunction, and even hyperthyroidism.
Contraindications. People who are allergic to Liliaceae plants (onions, garlic, tulips, etc.) should avoid using Aloe Vera. Pregnant women are also advised to not take Aloe Vera. It can have toxic effects on their embryo and foetus. People with heart or kidney problems should be careful taking Aloe Vera as it can create an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes and cause potassium deficiency
Topically, Aloe Vera can be applied liberally on the skin to prevent dryness, soften skin, and reduce wrinkles.
When using to treat constipation, 0.04–0.17 grams of dried Aloe Vera juice is recommended.
To treat diabetes, drink 5–15 ml of Aloe Vera juice twice daily.