Aloe Vera is a popular ayurvedic medication revered for its strong medicinal properties, which help in the management of several diseases. It is primarily used as a natural skin care agent. It can help in relieving the symptoms of several skin diseases and keeps the skin soft and smooth. This herb is also used to treat burns, gingivitis, and constipation.
Indication, benefits & uses
The health benefits of Aloe Vera are as follows:
Aloe Vera is commonly used for the treatment of skin burns. It has the ability to treat the thermal and radiation burns and heal the affected skin in a shorter duration of time. This property of Aloe Vera has been proved scientifically during research.
The study included 18 patients with second-degree burns. After debridement, the patients were treated with gauze containing Aloe Vera or Silvadene ointment. It was found that the patients treated with Aloe Vera had a much lower mean healing time of about 13 days compared to the 16 days of healing time in the other group.
The outcomes were also assessed based on the other parameters such as the quality of healing, the epithelisation rate, the time to complete the epithelization, and the success rate of wound healing. The results of the study suggested that Aloe Vera could be used for the faster healing of the burn injuries.
It supported the process of epithelisation and improved the epithelization rate. It also reduced the healing time. The scarring of the affected tissues was also lesser in the patients treated with the Aloe Vera as compared to the other group. Hence, the topical use of Aloe Vera is highly recommended for the patients who have suffered skin burns.
Aloe Vera also protects the skin against the UV and gamma radiation. It produces a protective effect against the radiation damage by stimulating the production of an antioxidant protein called metallothionein in the skin.
This protein scavenges the hydroxyl radicals and inhibits the suppression of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the skin. It also reduces the synthesis of the keratinocyte-based immunosuppressive cytokines like interleukin-10 in the skin. This helps to prevent the UV-induced suppression of the delayed type hypersensitivity.
Aloe vera can be used to accelerate the healing of wounds. It is particularly beneficial for managing the surgical wounds. It has been found to reduce the recovery period of the patients by stimulating the regeneration of the skin cells from the edges of the surgical incision. It also helps to minimize the scarring at the site.
Aloe Vera can regulate the functions of the immune system. It can be used in the management of allergic diseases that occur due to the abnormal response of the immune system. It inhibits the calcium influx into the mast cells.
As a result, the antigen-antibody-induced release of leukotriene and histamine from the mast cells is inhibited. This helps to prevent the symptoms of allergic diseases.
Aloe Vera also improves the functions of the immune system. It enhances the action of the immune cells against the cancer cells. This effect of Aloe Vera was assessed during a study conducted on mice.
The study showed that Acemannan, a polysaccharide found in the Aloe Vera leaves, could stimulate the production and release of the tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 from the macrophages. As a result, an immune attack was initiated that led to the regression and necrosis of the cancer cells.
This action of Aloe Vera can be of benefit in the management of cancer. The study proved that this herb could modulate the immune response in a way to bring about the destruction of the cancer cells.
Aloe Vera is a traditionally used herb for the management of diabetes mellitus. There is evidence that suggests the ability of Aloe Vera in alleviating chronic hyperglycemia and imbalanced lipid profile both of which are the characteristic features of diabetes.
The hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic actions of this herb have been proved during a study. The study involved a long-term administration of Aloe Vera to 5000 patients. The patients had a history of atheromatous heart disease and 3167 patients among them suffered from noninsulin-dependent diabetes.
A marked reduction in the serum total lipid, cholesterol, and triglycerides levels was observed in these patients. An increase in the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was also noted.
The fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels of the patient with diabetes were within normal range. The oral hypoglycemic agents used by the diabetic patients prior to this study were also withdrawn by the end of 2 months. This proved the antidiabetic effect of Aloe Vera.
A regular use of this herb can help the diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar levels within normal range. It can also reduce their dependency on the oral hypoglycemic agents. It can help to prevent the complications of diabetes and also allow them to avoid the side effects of the oral hypoglycemic drugs.
The positive change in the lipid parameters proved that this herb could help to minimize the risk of cardiac complications in diabetic patients.
The anti-inflammatory action of Aloe Vera can be beneficial in the treatment of gingivitis. The use of Aloe Vera mouthwash can improve the symptoms of plaque-induced gingivitis. This action was proved during a study that involved forty-five patients suffering from this disease.
The patients were divided into three groups. The first group of patients was advised to use 10 ml of Aloe Vera mouthwash, 2 times a day, for 3 months. The second group was treated with scaling while the third group was treated with Aloe Vera mouthwash as well as scaling.
The results indicated a marked reduction in the gingival inflammation in the third group. This proved that the combined usage of Aloe Vera mouthwash and scaling could provide better results than using these therapies alone.
The anti-inflammatory action of Aloe Vera can also support the healing of the gingival tissues and allows for faster and better results. The wound healing action of this herb is attributed to the presence of mannose-6 phosphate in it.
Oral lichen planus
The use of Aloe Vera can help in relieving the symptoms of lichen planus. It is a condition that causes skin rashes following an abnormal stimulation of the immune system. The therapeutic effect of Aloe Vera in the management of this condition was proved in a randomized controlled trial study.
It was concluded that the topical use of this herb could induce symptomatic and clinical improvement in the patients suffering from this condition.
The regular use of Aloe Vera can be beneficial for the patients suffering from chronic constipation. It produces a laxative effect, which was proved during a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.
During the study, a preparation containing Aloe Vera was administered to the participants. An improvement in the constipation indicators such as consistency of stools, bowel movement frequency, and laxative dependence was observed at the end of 28 days.