Aloe vera

Text-only Preview

Aloe Vera and It's Use in Herbal
Whatis Aloe Vera and HowisitUsedMedicinally
Peoplehavebeenusing Aloe Vera as a medicinal plantforoverfourthousandyears; there are records of its
use in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000BCE. TheGreeks, theRomans and theEgyptiansallknew of
itsamazinghealingproperties and its use continuestothepresentday. Manypeoplegrow a plant in
theirhouseorgardento use in firstaid. Themodern uses of Aloe Vera are usuallythought of in skincare
and thetreatment of burns, butitis a much more versatileplantthanthat. Itisused in herbal medicine
foritsactions as a digestivetonic, a laxative, ananthelmintic (worms), an anti-inflammatory and a
Aloe vera
Theplant has a distinctiveappearancewithfleshyspikes of uprightleaves and iscommon in manyparts of
theworld. The medicinal parts of theplant are itsleaves. They are treated in
differentwaystogivedifferentproduct. When a leafisfirstcutitoozes a yellowsubstanceorlatex,
thatisknown as Aloes, and has a bitter taste. Whentheleaves are splitthey excrete a clearsubstance,
known as the gel. Thedilution of thisgivesus Aloe Vera Extractor Aloe Vera juice. Thejuicemay be
filteredtogive a clearresult, orleftcloudy. Different uses are associatedwitheachpresentation.
Gel aloe vera
Aloe Vera gel ismainlywater, heldtogether in a gel formbypolysaccharides. These,
alongwithanthraquinonessuch as aloin, glycoproteins and novel anti-inflammatorycompounds are
responsibleformost of itsactivity. Aloe Vera alsocontainsVitamins A, C, E and B12, salicylicacid in
smallquantities, ligninfromtheplantcellwalls and a variety of minerals.
Theexactcompositionwillvaryaccordingtowheretheplantisgrown and itstreatment.
How to use aloe vera
Woundhealingisthemostcommonlyknownproperty of the gel. Legend has it Alexander the Great
eveninvadedanisland in theIndianOceantoobtainsupplies of itforhisarmy.
Differentchemicalconstituentshavebeenshowntoaidthe break down of damagedtissue and theformation
of new tissues, includingbloodvessels and skin. It reduces infectionrates. This has ledtoits use
onalltypes of wounds, fromminorscrapes and cutstodeeplypenetrating injuries such as burns. It has
beenusedwithsuccess in frostbite and tohealthe sores of genital herpes. In all cases
itisappliedtothewound, nottaken. Overall, itseemsthat Aloe Vera isveryeffective at healingwounds and
minorburns, reducinghealing time by up tohalf in manypatients. Itislessclearhowusefulitis in
sunburnalthoughanecdotalevidencesupportsits use. Studieslooking at its use
tohealsurgicalwoundshavehadmixedresults, itdoes reduce
infectionbutthewoundsdidn'tseemtohealanyfasteror more cleanlywhenitwasused.
Medical use aloe vera
Aloe Vera gel isveryeffectivefor Psoriasis. Patientsusingitreportedhigherclear up ratesfor plaques
thanwithtraditionaltreatments, and lesssideeffects.
Trialshaveshownthatit can be used in conjunctionwithotherwoundtreatmentssuccessfully. Forexampleit
can be used in conjunctionwithsteroidcreams. The gel reduces thesuppression of
woundhealingcausedbythesteroids and alsoaidsitspenetrationintothetissuesbyhydratingthewound.

Gastro-intestinal Uses
Aloe Vera extractiswidelyused as a laxative and as a digestivetonic. Theanthraquinonesfound in
cloudyextract and the aloe gum are responsibleforthisaction; itworks as a stimulantlaxative in
thesamewaysennadoes. Ittakesfromsixtotwelvehourstowork. As withallstimulantlaxativesitshouldnot be
Non-cloudyextractswork as a digestivetonic, soothing and calmingthebowel. Itiseffective in irritable
bowelsyndrome, particularly in patientswherediarrhoeapredominatereducingsymptoms in 40% of
patients in thisdifficulttotreatdisease. Ulcerative colitis patients can benefitfrom a smalldailydose as
well. It reduces relapserate and helpsshortenrelapseswhentheyoccur.
Other uses
Aloe Vera isalsoreported as beingused in asthma and diabetes. Thisisnotsomethingto try at home.
Theevidenceispoor and theconsequences of illcontrolleddisease can be fatal.
Whocan't use it?
Patientsusingitontheirskinhaveonoccasionreported dermatitis reactionstoit,
whichoccasionallyappearafterprolonged use.
Diabeticsshoulddrinkitwithcarebecause of itsreportedbloodsugarloweringcapacity.
Aloe willhaveanadditiveeffectwithotherlaxatives, and careshould be takenwhenusingcombinations.
Aloe Vera has beenreportedtosuppressthyroidfunction.
Ifsymptoms of a severe gastrointestinal problem are present, such as prolonged nausea, constipation,
diarrhoea, heartburnorbloodloss, patientsshouldsee a doctor beforestartingtotake Aloe Vera.
Aloe Vera is a multipurposeplantthatis ideal for use in home firstaid. Itiseasytogrow, enablingyouto use
fresh gel bysplitting open a leafwhenneeded. It can be usedtotreatallmanner of minorhousehold
injuries. Differentpreparationsworkwell as a laxativeordigestivehealer.