Aloe vera benefits?
Aloe vera (syn. A. barbadensis Mill., A. vulgaris Lam.) is a species of Aloe, native to northern Africa. It is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 80–100 cm tall, spreading by offsets and root sprouts.
Aloe Vera has a long history of cultivation throughout the drier tropical and subtropical regions of the world, both as an ornamental plant and for herbal medicine. For its herbal and medicinal uses, many of which are shared with related species. Even in ancient Egypt the most beautiful ruler Cleopatra has used Aloe vera. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs.
The present day
Nowadays there is even a marketing section for fully producing Aloe vera -products. Such as Aloa vera juices, Aloe vera gel, Aloe vera drink, Aloe vera cream et cetera. The infamous american company Forever Living Products are selling with direct marketing all the products you can imagine produced from the Aloe vera plant itself.
A vast research has been done on aloe vera and proved to be some effectiveness in the treatment of various ailments, skin disorders, hairs, cosmetics and beauty. This goes for the plant itself. At present day, there are no studies if the highly preservative used Aloe vera -products carry those vital elements anymore. Some researches have said that the plant carries the most effectiveness when it’s used fresh. Preserved for a long time no vitamins can survive. (Althought FLP has said it has found a formula to keep it long lasting but the formula is a “secret”).
Uses of Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera has been used to treat various skin conditions such as cuts, burns and eczema. It is alleged that sap from Aloe vera eases pain and reduces inflammation. Evidence on the effects of Aloe vera sap on wound healing, however, is contradictory. A study performed in the 1990s showed that the healing time of a moderate to severe burn was reduced when the wound was treated on a regular basis with Aloe vera gel, compared to the healing of the wound covered in a gauze bandage. In contrast, another study suggested wounds to which Aloe vera gel was applied were significantly slower to heal.
Aloe vera’s beneficial properties may be attributed to mucopolysaccharides present in the inner gel of the leaf, especially acemannan (acetylated mannans). An injectable form of acemannan manufactured and marketed by Carrington Laboratories as Acemannan Immunostimulant has been approved in the USA for treatment of fibrosarcoma (a type of cancer) in dogs and cats after clinical trials. It has not been approved for use by humans, and, although it is not a drug, its sale is controlled and it can only be obtained through a veterinary doctor.
Cosmetic companies add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions, though the effectiveness of Aloe vera in these products remains unknown. Aloe vera gel is also alleged to be useful for dry skin conditions, especially eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin.
The studies of aloe vera
- Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with various components of aloe (aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin) were at one time regulated by the FDA as oral over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the necessary safety data.
- Early studies show that topical aloe gel may help heal burns and abrasions. One study, however, showed that aloe gel inhibits healing of deep surgical wounds. Aloe gel does not prevent burns from radiation therapy.
- There is not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses.
Side Effects and Cautions
- Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with significant side effects.
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe vera.
- Diarrhea, caused by the laxative effect of oral aloe vera, can decrease the absorption of many drugs.
- People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe by mouth because preliminary studies suggest aloe may lower blood glucose levels.
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Use or not to use Aloe vera?
Whether or not it promotes wound healing is unknown, and even though there are some promising results, clinical effectiveness of oral or topical Aloe vera remains unclear at present.
Aloe vera juice may help some people with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Side effects can occur and consulting a doctor before ingesting any form of aloe vera, including aloe vera juice, is highly recommended.
- Wikipedia: Aloe vera