Aloe vera – Benefits and Uses

Aloe plant and its derivative products have played a role in medicine and health care. Aloe is a genus of plants belonging to the Asphodelaceae family, and is related to onions and asparagus. Aloe is a lily-like, green, and sometimes spiny shrub with very little, if any, stem. The Aloe genus appears naturally in Africa, although many members of the genus are popular houseplants and can be found around the world. The most famous member of the genus is Aloe Vera, known for its medicinal uses and applications. Aloe Vera can be used to heal both internally and externally. It greatly speeds the healing of many skin injuries, including ulcerations, burns, hives and poison ivy and also acts as a laxative. The juice from aloe can be dried into a dark powder composed of yellowish granules that are quite bitter to taste. Internal use of Aloe is marketed as a treatment for coughs, ulcers, muscle pain, headaches, and even cancer and HIV. The only proven Aloe Vera benefit in internal use is the relief of constipation. Additionally, even in this use, internal use of the plant has a number of side effects, can cause nausea, and should not be taken by women who may be pregnant. Aloe Vera is a cellular regenerator and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects.

Aloe Vera leaves are smooth and rubbery in touching from interior and exterior. The more used part of the aloe plants are their leaves and in particular their internal transparent gel. Aloe vera is a plant that has wonderful healing and softening properties. Aloe vera contains numerous vitamins and minerals, enzymes, amino acids, natural sugars and agents which may be anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. The combination and balance of the plant’s ingredients are what purportedly gives it its healing properties. Aloe vera is a source of energy containing over 200 nutrients, including 18 amino acids and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Aloe vera gel consists primarily of water and polysaccharides (pectins, hemicelluloses, glucomannan, acemannan, and mannose derivatives). Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that stimulates skin growth and repair. It also contains amino acids, lipids, sterols (lupeol, campesterol, and beta-sitosterol), tannins, enzymes. Mannose 6-phosphate is a major sugar component. Aloe latex contains compounds known as anthraquinones that stimulate the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. The anthraquinones include the hydroxyanthracene derivatives, aloins A and B, barbaloin, isobarbaloin, aloectic acid, and emodin.

Aloe vera is one of the most widely used substances in the world for the treatment of bruises and burns. Aloe Vera has been used medicinally for over 6,000 years. Aloe gel is available commercially in a stabilized gel form, incorporated into ointments, creams, and lotions. Aloe latex is available in a powdered form or in 500 mg capsules for use as a laxative. Aloe gel speeds the healing of burns (from fire, sun or radiation) and insect bites, and relieves itching and dandruff. Aloe vera heals third degree burns up to six times faster than traditional medical treatments. The aloe vera plant is intentionally a natural herb which is used for both internal and external problems like ulcers, skin rashes, burns etc.One can also have kidney problems or severe diarrhea in case of overdose of aloe vera. Aloe vera contains burn healing effects, anti-inflammatory properties, scar reducing properties and woundsOne can experience irregular heart beats because of reduction of potassium in the blood. Other side effects of aloe vera include its internal usage turns the urine pink or red. One should take the advice of a health care professional before drinking the juice of aloe vera. Overdose of aloe vera can result into dehydration, stomach cramps or intestinal spasms, so one should follow the instructions for dosage while purchasing the product.