Aloe Vera: Benefits, Side-Effects, Supplements, Uses, And Capsules

Aloe Vera, also known as Aloe Barbadensis, is a succulent plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. Of more than 350 aloe species that have been identified, about 30 of them show therapeutic properties in studies including Aloe spicata, Aloe perryi Baker, Aloe socotńna, Aloe africana Miller, Aloe chinensis, Aloe perfoliata and Aloe saponaria. Aloe vera’s top three benefits are treating skin problems, digestive issues, and even arthritis. Interestingly, aloe vera is also useful for diseases that affect the immune system. Aside from enhancing immune activity during acute illness, the plant also has an anti-inflammatory action that helps ward off excessive immune responses present in chronic diseases. 

Aloe vera is also used in the cosmetic, food, and medicinal industries in its various forms. Aloe vera latex, aloe vera gel, and aloe vera whole leaf are distinct forms in the cosmetic industry. In food, aloe vera is used for functional food like yogurt. Aloe Vera is also available in supplement form, and some people take it regularly to reap its health benefits. Its medicinal uses are in wound healing, anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and treatment for UV damaged burns or skin lesions.

However, with so many different uses and supplements available, it can be challenging to know whether or not Aloe Vera is right for you. The top supplement producers are Lily of the Desert, Forever Living Products (MLM company), Nature’s Way, and Terry Laboratories. 

Aloe vera’s top side effects are low blood sugar levels, diarrhea, and decreasing other medications’ absorption. These cautions are associated with taking the oral form. Topical aloe vera typically does not cause any harmful side effects.

In this article, we will explore the benefits, side effects, and supplements of Aloe Vera. We will also discuss how to use it safely and effectively.

What Are The Benefits Of Aloe Vera?

The benefits of aloe vera in humans are listed below:

  • Treats a variety of skin disorders like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, radiation-induced skin injury, herpes sores, acne, and anal fissures because of its skin healing capacity 
  • Treats burns due to their fungicidal, antimicrobial, and antiviral activities
  • Promotes fast wound healing because of its fibroblast-regenerating capacity
  • Aids in the reduction of dental plaque
  • Effective laxative when consumed orally
  • Relieves pain from canker sores
  • Hydrates the skin and prevents wrinkles formation
  • Adjunct medication for diabetes in lowering their blood sugar level
  • Helps treat gastroesophageal reflux

According to a review by Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple, the most studied benefits are improving skin integrity and wound healing. This effect is attributed to ingredients that have antiseptic properties.  Its laxative effects are due to a component called anthraquinone. It also contains acemannan, which can enhance the proliferation of new skin. Habtemariam, in his study, showed that the polysaccharides in aloe vera are also responsible for its glucose regulatory effect.

1. Acemannan

Acemannan is aloe vera’s main bioactive compound. It is a polysaccharide mainly composed of acetylated mannose units extracted from aloe vera’s gel and skin. Polysaccharides are also natural biopolymers frequently employed as materials for wound healing, medication delivery, and tissue engineering. 

A study by Liu, Cui, Pi, Cheng, Guo, & Qian notes that aloe vera’s immunoregulation, anti-cancer, anti-oxidation, wound healing, ability to build bone, neuroprotection, and intestinal health promotion actions are attributed to acemannan. In the immune system, acemannan stimulates blood cells called “macrophages” that take up and engulf bacteria and enhance the killing of the fungi Candida albicans. It is also reported to promote the three immune responses targeted against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It is also an anti-cancer by decreasing the number of tumor cell lines. 

In the same study, these polysaccharides in aloe vera prevent reactive oxygen (ROS) generation, lowering the damage caused by oxidative stress. Antioxidants scavenge or reduce free radical formation, protecting biological systems from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Acemannan in aloe vera also has a role in intestinal health promotion, according to research by Gullón, Gullón, Tavaria, Alonso, & Pintado. It helps probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species thrive in the colon, generating essential by-products. Beneficial fermentation products have been shown to lessen the risk of noncommunicable chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer.

Aloe vera’s acemannan content was found to be neuroprotective. According to Liu, Cui, Pi, Cheng, Guo, & Qian, this component increased cognitive performance in the middle-aged population. The findings also revealed that memory performance has improved.

There is no specific dosage for acemannan in aloe vera to achieve its health benefits, as studied by Liu, Cui, Pi, Cheng, Guo, & Qian. Instead, acemannan is safe as it is incorporated into medicinal products. First, antibacterial dressings are made out of it. Second, acemannan is used as an adjuvant in vaccines to help prevent viral infections in birds. Third, it could be used as a prebiotic in fermented milk, but the exact technique needs further research.

2. Antioxidant Benefits

The antioxidant benefit of aloe vera is utilized in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and food industries. These antioxidants extend foods’ shelf life and nutritional value. Aside from the body’s antioxidant reserves in humans, aloe vera can also stimulate inherent antioxidant enzyme systems. According to a review by Nejatzadeh-Barandozi, these antioxidant properties are crucial in preventing and controlling diseases like cancer and coronary artery disease and managing diabetes.

The antioxidant benefit in aloe vera was attributed to polyphenols, indoles, and alkaloids. These were found on the leaf’s skin, the flowers, and aloe gel. The availability of an antioxidant substance called “tannins” has also been isolated from aloe vera’s green rind.

In a study ​​by Hu, Xu, and Hu, the antioxidants in aloe vera work similarly to alpha-tocopherol. They scavenge oxygen by-products which in excess can harm the body. 

The exact dosage for this antioxidant benefit is difficult to quantify. The same study by Nejatzadeh-Barandozi says that safe doses of aloe vera leaf gel can relieve or prevent symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes.

3. Antibacterial Properties 

Aloe vera has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, according to the study by Christaki and Florou-Paneri. The antimicrobial capabilities of aloe vera have been attributed to the plant’s natural anthraquinones. The study by Liu, Cui, Pi, Cheng, Guo, & Qian also says that acemannan has antiviral properties. Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple also points that lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur are all antimicrobial substances found in aloe vera. They all inhibit fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

In studies by Nejatzadeh-Barandozishowed and Athiban, Borthakur, Ganesan, & Swathika, aloe vera can suppress bacteria and viruses. The microorganisms inhibited were Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Salmonella paratyphi, Mycobacterium TB, and Bacillus subtilis, viruses like cytomegalovirus, varicella zoster, influenza, pseudorabies, and herpes simplex virus Type I and Type II.

Aloe vera used in the same bacterial inhibition study above utilized 100% Aloe vera juice from the plant’s cold-pressed leaves. The dose was not stated. This type of aloe vera preparation was also virucidal, particularly against the herpes virus.

4. Fast Wound Healing

Aloe vera is used for ulcer prevention and healing improvement of broken skin. Its effects are studied in the management of burns, frostbite,  surgical wounds, herpetic ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, pressure sores, and other chronic wounds. Aloe vera is also used in wound dressings. In an investigation by Davood Hekmatpou, the healing of burn wounds using aloe vera outperformed petroleum jelly gauze dressings and creams with antibiotics. It also reduced redness and irritation while speeding up recovery time and reducing wound infection.

The study of Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple states that the role of aloe vera in wound healing is attributed to glucomannan and a growth hormone (gibberellin). As a growth hormone, it interacts with growth factors on fibroblasts to stimulate their activity and quantity and increase collagen synthesis after topical and oral aloe vera. In Fibroblasts, the structure that provides a framework for tissue formation, aloe gel increased the collagen content of the wound, changed collagen composition into a stronger one, and increased the degree of collagen cross-linking. It hastened wound contraction and improved the breaking strength of the ensuing scar tissue. Glucomannan can speed up healing, minimize pain, and have no side effects. 

Aloe vera also aids in wound healing by increasing blood supply by producing new blood vessels, which results in greater oxygenation. No studies standardize the amount of active aloe vera ingredients to have full benefit. In the study by  Davood Hekmatpou, aloe vera creams and gels come in various dosages. For some minor burns, 0.5 percent aloe vera is used. Others used to treat psoriasis may include up to 70% aloe vera. Fresh Aloe vera mucilage, gauze saturated with 85 percent aloe vera gel, aloe vera cream, and 1 percent Aloe vera powder wrapped in Vaseline gauze were all adequate aloe vera preparations. Applying aloe vera gel or cream to postoperative wounds three times a day for five to ten days could help with pain and recovery. Aloe vera (as a gel or cream) is beneficial in the treatment of chronic wounds (twice a day for 4-8 weeks), pressure ulcers (1-3 months), venous, diabetic, and herpes ulcers, as well as chronic anal fissures (2-3 weeks).

5. Reduces Dental Plaque

Aloe vera had already been utilized in dentistry to prevent dental plaque. It was used to treat recurrent oral ulcers, oral lichen planus, oral fungal infection, extraction socket overgrowth, and dental medicine. 

A review by Pressman, Clemens, and Hayes finds that aloe vera gel has antimicrobial efficacy against oral infections due to its active anthraquinones such as Aloin and Aloe-emodin. These substances stop protein synthesis in bacterial cells, increasing their antimicrobial effectiveness. 

Due to its unique antibacterial qualities, a study by Jain et al finds that aloe vera in toothpaste and dentifrices inhibits dental cavities and reduces plaque. It can even be a cost-effective herbal alternative to chlorhexidine. Regular use of aloe vera-containing preparations is needed to have this benefit.

6. Helps With Canker Sores

Aloe vera has been utilized as a wound healing, anti-infection, and anti-inflammatory agent in treating Recurrent Aphthous Ulcers. Aloe vera can be used successfully to treat mouth ulcers and those caused by herpes simplex. 

The component in aloe vera called acemannan is found to hasten the healing of aphthous ulcers while also lowering pain, as pointed out by the study of Babaee. Aloe vera also contains allantoin and silicon dioxide, decreasing the number and duration of aphthous ulcers, the interval between ulcers, ulcer size, and ulcer discomfort. Some polysaccharides like flavonoids, saponins, sterols, terpenoids, having anti-inflammatory properties, also contribute to this benefit. Polysaccharides also contribute to the process of wound recovery.

In the same study by Babaee, when applied thrice daily for a week, a topical patch containing 0.5 percent acemannan effectively reduces the size of oral aphthous ulceration. Aloe vera gel can even decrease inflammation, accompanying pain, and hasten its healing.

The usefulness of Aloe vera in treating oral lichen planus, another cause of mouth pain, has also been studied by Sajjad and Sajjad. An aloe vera therapy to a lichen planus patient for three months, drinking two ounces of stabilized aloe vera juice every day, and applying aloe vera lip balm all provided a reduction in pain.

 

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7. Reduces Constipation 

The aloe vera plant has been used as a laxative ingredient for many years. The German Commission E governmental regulatory agency has certified aloe vera laxative formulations as second-line therapy in the treatment of constipation. 

Aloin, a latex material derived from aloe vera, is an essential laxative ingredient. But, this aloe latex is no longer recognized as an over-the-counter drug in the United States. This withdrawal is due to insufficient data to show its safety for use as a laxative.

Anthraquinones in aloe latex are potent laxatives, according to a study by Ahlawat & Khatkar. It accomplishes this by increasing intestinal water content, stimulating mucus secretion, and increasing intestinal peristalsis. This is assumed to be due to aloe vera’s ability to open tight cell junctions, the activity of polysaccharides precipitated in aloe vera gel. As these anthraquinones travel down the colonic mucosa, they activate into aloin, aloe-emodin, and emodin. After ingestion, colonic flora converts aloin, which is contained in gel, to reactive aloe-emodin, which has purgative properties.

For the treatment of constipation, researchers recommend the daily intake of 100-200 milligrams of aloe juice or 50 milligrams of aloe extract.

8. Improves Skin

Aloe vera also can improve skin tissue integrity. Aloe vera and its components have qualities that can help to maintain skin moisture and continuity according to Surjushe, Vasani, and Saple. The Aloe gel functions as a humectant, attracting water from the dermis below and assisting in its retention in the stratum corneum. Aloe vera gel can even reduce fine wrinkle appearance, reduce erythema, and has an anti-acne impact.

Aloe gel’s anti-inflammatory, healing, moisturizing, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties are attributed to various gel ingredients, including salicylates, magnesium lactate, bradykinin or thromboxane, and polysaccharides.

Polysaccharides work by retaining moisture in the skin. The biologically active, dominating polysaccharide in aloe is acemannan. According to Surjushe, Vasani, and Saple, this ingredient can boost collagen production, possibly stimulating macrophages. Aloe also hastens the production of elastin fibers, making the skin more elastic and wrinkle-free. It also has a cohesive action on the surface-peeling epidermal cells, which softens the skin by sticking them together. The immune-protective function occurs by decreasing DNA damage and repair. It also has amino acids that soften tough skin cells and the mineral zinc that works as an astringent to close pores. Its moisturizing properties are tested to treat dry skin caused by occupational exposure.

The study by Sánchez, González-Burgos, Iglesias, and Gómez-Serranillos finds that that the oral intake of 40 µg of Aloe sterol (cycloartenol and lophenol) daily for at least 12 weeks improved the appearance of wrinkles in Japanese women.

9. Prevents Wrinkles

Aside from improving skin elasticity, aloe vera can also prevent wrinkles. The anti-inflammatory and other skin-protective effects of aloe vera are improved skin hydration and suppleness, 

Aloe vera prevents wrinkling of skin by creating collagen and elastin fibers, according to Gao, Kuok, Jin, & Wang. They state that the main reason for this is the plant’s ability to enhance the synthesis of cells that support the dermis called human fibroblast cells six to eight times faster than standard cell creation. In a study by Cho, Lee, Lee, Lee, Won, Kim, & Chung, aloe vera has also improved fibroblast cell shape and sped up collagen production. In addition, aloe vera juice contains gibberellins, which are plant growth hormones. These hormones decrease MMP or matrix metalloproteinases, which can eventually degrade collagen and lead to skin wrinkling. 

Oral aloe gel supplementation dose is still being investigated. The study by Sánchez, González-Burgos, Iglesias, and Gómez-Serranillos notes that the oral intake of 40 µg of Aloe sterol (cycloartenol and lophenol) daily for at least 12 weeks improved skin elasticity in men.

10. Lowers Blood Sugar Level

Aloe vera juice can lower fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HBA1C) levels, as pointed out by the study of Suksomboon, Poolsup, & Punthanitisarn. 

Some inorganic elements like vanadium, manganese, copper, and especially the polysaccharides in aloe vera have a significant role in lowering blood sugar. In a study by Habtemariam, polysaccharides found in aloe vera plants protect the pancreatic beta cells or the insulin-producing organ against oxidative damage. They are also antidiabetic because they raise insulin levels and have hypoglycemic effects. In a study by Tanaka et al., phytosterols have also been shown to have anti-diabetes and anti-obesity properties. An additive cardioprotective and antioxidant reduction was also observed.

In the study by Sánchez, González-Burgos, Iglesias, and Gómez-Serranillos, 300mg of Aloe vera twice day for 4 weeks decreased fasting blood glucose in their subjects.

11. Relieves Heartburn

Aloe vera significantly alleviates the symptoms of acid reflux, just like several established heartburn medications. In the study by Panahi, Khedmat, Valizadegan, Mohtashami, & Sahebkar, aloe vera juice is more effective than the standard treatment. According to this research, aloe vera may lower acid production and serve as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Aloe vera extract has prebiotic potential. It alleviates gastrointestinal distress by enhancing pepsin production and mucus secretion while lowering HCl acid generation. Overall, the plant has been found to have an anti-secretory effect on the stomach and may protect the gastrointestinal mucosa from harmful substances. Also, according to Gullón, Gullón, Tavaria, Alonso, & Pintado, the glycans in aloe act as prebiotic fuel for both probiotic and intestinal commensal microbes, creating a neutral environment for acid production.

Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and these actions may contribute to its benefits for GERD symptoms. A study by Dunbar et al. proposed that reflux esophagitis’s pathogenesis may be due to inflammation rather than the chemical injury caused by gastric acid, implicating inflammation and oxidative stress in GERD. 

The dose of aloe vera for heartburn symptoms is 10ml of aloe vera juice per day given for 2-4 weeks, according to a recent study by Panahi, Khedmat, Valizadegan, Mohtashami, & Sahebkar.

What Are The Risks (Side-Effects) Of Aloe Vera?

The risks of aloe vera are associated with its oral intake, according to Ahlawat and Khatkar. Overuse of aloe vera can cause excess diarrhea, leading to low potassium levels. Low potassium is hazardous because it can cause irregular heartbeat and even death. According to Foster, Hunter, and SammanIt, side effects can worsen during intake of diuretics or laxatives. Other side effects are abdominal cramps, red urine, aloe-induced hepatitis, dependency, or worsening of constipation. There are also reports that prolonged use of aloe vera increases the risk of colorectal cancer. 

People with diabetes should not consume aloe vera juice without first seeing their doctor. Because aloe vera juice can enhance the effects of diabetes medication, it can cause hypoglycemia. In very low sugar levels, coma may ensue. 

Pregnant women should not consume aloe vera juice because of its potential to cause a miscarriage.

A study summarized by Foster, Hunter, and Samir Samman recently showed aloe vera’s teratogenic potential. Thus, aloe vera is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen.

The topical use of aloe vera is without side effects, according to Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple. Should it occur, it may cause redness, burning, stinging sensation. In very sensitive persons, generalized dermatitis can occur. These allergic reactions are due to anthraquinones, such as aloin and barbaloin. 

How Does Aloe Vera Work Within The Human Body?

The dosage of aloe vera will depend on the condition being treated and the method of use. Generally, there are two methods of using aloe vera: internal and external. Based on usage purpose, different dosages should be given.

How Do You Determine The Correct Aloe Vera Dosage?

According to Foster, Hunter, and Samman, there is no precise dosage with aloe vera use. Determining the correct aloe vera dosage depends on age, weight, method of taking it, present health, and the onset of side effects.

  • Age. Aloe vera intake is contraindicated for children less than 12 years old.
  • Weight. For an adult who is 60 kg, the recommended daily intake was 33.3 mg/kg body weight.
  • Method of taking it.  For topical preparations, three to five applications of gel a day; for oral preparations, one 50- to 200-mg capsule a day. Long-term use of oral aloe latex or aloe whole-leaf extract by mouth is potentially dangerous, according to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration likely harmful.
  • Present health. The minimum dosages should be used to avoid side effects. Persons with inflammatory bowel disease, the elderly with intestinal obstruction, women in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and those taking cardiac medications should avoid its intake.

What Are The Facts About Aloe Vera?

Facts about the medicinal benefit found in this succulent plant are vast. They can improve human life and health in various ways, making them essential in everyday living.

It not only soothes a wide range of skin conditions but is also a “miracle plant” for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera is unquestionably nature’s gift to humanity in terms of cosmetic, burn, and therapeutic uses.

Aloes can survive in areas with minimal or no water. These plants are characterized by maintaining significant water volumes in their tissue. This is why aloe vera consists of 99.5% water, making it a good moisturizer, hydration adjunct, and humectant. 

The remaining 0.5% of solid portions are known to have the most active nutrients, according to Pressman, Clemens, and Hayes. When we come to think of it, it’s a small portion. But these active ingredients do not lack in advantages as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, an ingredient in wound healing, and so many more. 

Another interesting fact is that Cleopatra included aloe vera as part of her beauty routine. According to Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple, the gel can penetrate the skin’s three epidermal layers. Aloe vera gel may help other botanical herbs and vitamins absorb better. 

Also, the best-known quality of aloe vera is its cooling properties similar to menthol. It is widely used to soothe and heal sunburns, minor kitchen burns, scrapes, and itchy insect bites.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Aloe Vera?

The research by Ahlawat and Khatkar lists aloe vera’s functional elements in the form of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, salicylic acids, lignin, saponins, and some amino acids. Antioxidants vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E, Vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline for brain function are all present. A 100g serving of aloe vera juice contains 10 mg vitamin C or 11% of the daily value. Enzymes like aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase are found in aloe vera. They minimize excessive inflammation and aid in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. 

Minerals include calcium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. They are also antioxidants, important for cell processing, structure, and nerve transmission. A 100g serving of aloe vera juice can provide 13mg of calcium or 1% of the daily value, 130mg of potassium or 3% of the daily value. Both monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides are present in aloe vera. Recent studies have shown aloe vera gel yields an antiallergic glycoprotein called alprogen and an anti-inflammatory chemical named C-glucosyl chromone. These carbohydrates in 100g of aloe vera juice provide 5% of a person’s daily value.  It also contains 20 of the 22 amino acids and seven of the eight essential amino acids. Salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, is also present. An inert material called lignin also helps the other components penetrate deeper into the skin. Saponins, or soapy chemicals, makeup roughly 3% of the gel and have antibacterial and cleaning qualities.

How Is Aloe Vera Processed?

Aloe vera juice is processed through crushing, grinding, or pressing the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant to form a liquid, which is then filtered and stabilized by a series of procedures as narrated by the study of Liu, Cui, Pi, Cheng, Guo, & Qian. It includes preserving the biological integrity of the active ingredient to exert the reported physiological effect upon ingestion or topical application. The resultant juice is also used to make a medicinal, cosmetic, or food product by combining it with additional ingredients.

The first stage is the process is the reception of raw material. After harvesting, the aloe vera leaves are transported from the field to the processing plant in refrigerated vans. To ensure full concentration of active ingredients, the leaves must be sound, undamaged, mold-free, and mature for about 3–4 years. Then, the green rind of the leaf is separated from its parenchymatous tissue in a process called filleting. The green fillet is then crushed and ground. The next step is filtration and deaeration, which removes fibrous debris. To stabilize the aloe vera juice, it is mixed with vitamin C and citric acid. Deaeration aims to prevent ascorbic acid from oxidizing, improving aloe vera juice’s flavor. Hot and cold processing of aloe vera comes next. Sterilization is performed in hot processing by heating the aloe liquid with activated carbon at a high temperature. Then, the entire processing process is completed in the cold processing procedure. Enzymes such as glucose oxidase and catalase are used to prevent the growth of aerobic organisms within aloe vera gel, effectively sterilizing it. The addition of preservatives and stabilizers for storage is the last step of aloe vera processing. 

Today, the aloe vera industry is thriving, and a considerable benefit is seen with its production. The aloe raw material market is projected to be worth 125 million dollars, while those for finished aloe vera products are estimated to be worth over 110 billion dollars. This monetary benefit for the economy also equates to that of health. According to a review by Ahlawat and Khatkar, Americans spent about $40 billion in 2008 on functional meals, drinks, and supplements to improve their appearance and obtain additional nutrients to manage health conditions such as hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. Aside from this, aloe vera is a widely used product for medicinal purposes. 

 

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What Are The Supplement Forms Of Aloe Vera?

The supplement forms of the aloe vera plant are derived from its two medicinally valuable components. First, a plant-derived gel can be applied to the skin to treat burns and other skin problems or ingested orally in liquid or capsule form. Second is oral aloe latex, demonstrated to have laxative qualities and is commonly used to treat constipation orally. The aloe vera forms are as follows:

  • Aloe vera extract
  • Aloe vera supplement
  • Aloe vera pills and capsules
  • Raw aloe vera
  • Processed aloe vera

1. Aloe Vera Extract

An aloe vera extract is made from the whole aloe leaf. The aqueous extract of the whole leaf of aloe vera is also known as whole leaf aloe vera juice, aloe juice extract, or non-decolorized whole leaf extract. It is comprised of lignified fibers extracted from the entire leaf. It is therefore beneficial because it is rich in aloe latex. It also contains isolated compounds like anthraquinone, C-glycosides, aloin A, aloin B, aloesin, and aloeresin.

According to Foster, Hunter, and SammanIt, aloe vera extract is primarily useful as a laxative. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Externally, the whole leaf can also be utilized to nourish the skin and soothe it after sun exposure because of its exterior soothing effects. 

Its side effects from excessive use are diarrhea, electrolyte problems, and even death from arrhythmias. Because it’s more potent, careful dosing should be employed.

2. Aloe Vera Supplement

Aloe vera, a supplement that can be in the form of aloe gel or aloe juice, is used in traditional medicine because of its ability to maintain or enhance health. It is beneficial because it is more bioavailable due to its processing. But because there isn’t enough study on these types of aloe vera’s safety, no determined dose is given. It is useful as an antioxidant, in gastrointestinal health and its antidiabetic roles.

However, in a study by Habtemariam investigating Holland and Barrett Juices, they found out that the therapeutic potential of aloe vera supplements may not be robust for diabetes. Consequently, although phenolic compounds in medicinal plants have been linked to antioxidant and anti-diabetic mechanisms of action, current Aloe vera medicine/food supplement formulations appear to have lost these natural components. For example, anthraquinones have demonstrated anti-diabetic properties. Aloin has anti-inflammatory properties in both cellular and animal models. These natural phenolic compounds are absent from aloe food supplements because of industrial processing techniques that efficiently eliminate them.

Gastrointestinal distress, hypoglycemia, liver toxicity, kidney problems, and allergic reactions are side effects. Habtemariam, in his study, recommends that while aloe supplements are utilized for gastrointestinal benefits, their relevance to diabetes requires additional scientific data.

3. Aloe Vera Pills And Capsules

Aloe vera pills and capsules are usually derived from the whole leaf and then freeze-dried into capsules. According to Hamman, This product contains a higher concentration of aloe vera. Its uses are the same as aloe vera gel: its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It is also beneficial because it does not require refrigeration and is portable. However, Ahlawat and Khatkar say that because there isn’t enough research on the safety of aloe vera, it’s also difficult to recommend a dosage. Most studies have indicated that taking 100-500mg daily is beneficial. Like aloe vera supplements, its side effects are gastrointestinal distress, hypoglycemia, liver toxicity, kidney problems, and allergic reactions. 

4. Raw Aloe Vera

Raw aloe vera is aloe vera that does not require any artificial processing. The fresh aloe gel is applied directly to the skin or made into a product like food, smoothies, and drinks by following a recipe.

Because it is unprocessed, this ensures a higher concentration of the active ingredients. A person may still have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, skin healing effects. However, it may come with more precautions because of its lack of processing. It should not be used internally for hemorrhoids, kidney conditions, cardiac conditions, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, intestinal obstruction, and diabetes because its side effects can cause more severe symptoms. Aloe vera latex’s laxative impact can produce diarrhea and stomach discomfort. This laxative side effect may also affect the efficiency of oral medications by inhibiting their absorption.

People can safely use aloe vera topically for minor skin concerns. Although skin irritations and allergic reactions are possible, it is generally well-tolerated. Aloe vera should never be used on severe cuts or burns.

5. Processed Aloe Vera

Processing aloe vera requires activating carbon treatment of the aloe vera whole leaf extract. The process removes the bitter taste and color caused by anthraquinone components. This results in a product termed “decolorized whole leaf extract” that has quite different properties from the whole leaf extract. Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract is also referred to as “whole leaf aloe vera gel.”  Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract losses 19-23% of the polysaccharide content compared to aloe vera gel because of processing.

Processed aloe vera is used in functional foods, particularly in preparing non-laxative health drinks. It is also found in milk, ice cream, and confectionery, among other foods. In several meals, aloe vera gel is utilized for flavor and preservation. Its side effects are diarrhea, pseudomelanosis coli, kidney failure, hypersensitivity, and phototoxicity.

What Is The Etymology Of The Aloe Vera?

According to Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple, the name aloe vera is derived from “Alloeh,” which pertains to a  “shining bitter substance,” and “vera,” which means “truth”. The whole processed leaf’s juice is bitter. Oral users report that the inner fillet of the leaf’s gel has a significantly gentler and more pleasant taste. 

What Place Does Aloe Vera Have In Society And Culture?

For millennia, aloe vera has been utilized for therapeutic purposes in Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan, and China. Aloe vera was thought to be the universal panacea by Greek doctors 2000 years ago. Egyptian princess Nefertiti and Cleopatra employed it as their regular beautification regimens. It was used to cure soldiers’ wounds by Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus. ​​The Aloe vera plant is mentioned in length in Dioscorides’ Greek Herbal (about 70 AD), and its use for wound healing, hair loss, genital ulcers, and hemorrhoids.

By the early 1800s, Aloe vera was being used as a laxative in the United States. Still, it wasn’t until the mid-1930s that it was successfully utilized to treat chronic and severe radiation dermatitis. The United States Pharmacopoeia recognized aloe vera as a purgative and skin protectant in 1820. Many countries, including China, India, the West Indies, South Africa, and Japan, still use aloe in traditional medicine.

What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Aloe Vera?

Some food recipes that make use of aloe vera are:

  • Smoothie
  • Cocktail
  • Popsicle
  • Salad
  • Ice cream
  • Aloe vera drink with coconut water

What Are The Aloe Vera Parts?

The aloe vera plant is made of these parts: triangular, fleshy leaves with serrated edges, yellow tubular blooms, and fruits with many seeds. According to Foster, Duncan Hunter, and Samman, each leaf is made up of three layers: 

  • The clear inner gel is 99 percent water, with the remaining glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins
  • There is a yellow sap in the middle layer of latex, which is abundant in anthraquinones and glycosides
  • The outer rind comprises 15–20 cells and serves as a protective covering and a source of carbohydrates and proteins. Vascular bundles are found inside the rind and are responsible for transporting chemicals.

What Is The History Of Aloe Vera?

The history of this succulent dates back to an Egyptian papyrus from 3500 BC. Aloe vera was first used for health by the Egyptians to treat tuberculosis. It was Aristotle who contributed to the written literature about the medicinal effects of Aloe vera. There are also references found in the Bible.

Egyptians, Assyrians, Mediterranean civilizations, and Biblical ages employed aloe extensively. A Mesopotamian clay tablet dated around 2100 BCE is the first reliable reference of Aloe as a plant having therapeutic powers. The Papyrus Ebers, an Egyptian document dating around 1550 BCE that lists several aloe-containing concoctions for treating external and interior illnesses, is the first detailed representation of the plant’s therapeutic significance.

What Are The Other Plants That Are Called Aloe Vera From Time To Time?

The other plants synonymously called aloe vera are:

  • Aloe barbadensis Mill.
  • Aloe ferox
  • Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis Haw.
  • Aloe lanzae Tod.
  • Aloe flava Pers.
  • Aloe chinensis (Haw.) Baker
  • Aloe elongata Murray
  • Aloe indica Royle
  • Aloe rubescens DC.
  • Aloe maculata Forssk. (illegitimate)
  • Aloe vera var. lanzae Baker
  • Aloe vera Mill. (illegitimate)
  • Aloe perfoliata var. vera L.
  • Aloe vera var. chinensis (Haw.) A. Berger
  • Aloe variegata Forssk. (illegitimate)
  • Aloe vulgaris Lam.
  • Aloe vera var. littoralis J.Koenig ex Baker
  • Burn plant

What Are The Most Common Questions For Aloe Vera Usage?

The most common questions on the use of aloe vera focus on:

  • Aloe vera dosage; whether FDA approved, off-label use, and required duration to produce intended effects
  • Aloe vera’s potential health benefits, especially in skincare
  • Aloe vera’s safety profile; in humans and pets

Are Aloe Vera Supplements Approved By The Authorities?

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved aloe vera as a flavoring agent. Aloe vera is a nutritional supplement, not a controlled substance. Thus, these supplements are not guaranteed sufficient strength, purity, or safety.

Can You Take Aloe Vera At Night?

Yes, aloe vera can be taken at night. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that specifies the time to take aloe vera. Taking aloe vera at night has been used by those trying to lose weight as an effective method to shed pounds. However, this has not yet been proven by studies. A current research by Abdollahnejad showed evidence for aloe vera’s sedative and hypnotic effects. It also tried to investigate the calming effects of aloe vera on sleeplessness, but more studies need to validate these results.

Can You Take Aloe Vera After Meal?

Yes, aloe vera may be taken after a meal. But, this is not the best way to benefit from it. After a meal, the intake of aloe vera supplements competes with the absorption of food, making it less bioavailable.

Can You Take Aloe Vera Every Day?

Yes, aloe vera can be consumed daily when taken for a short period, according to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. A particular gel (Aloe QDM complex Univera Inc) has been successfully used for up to 8 weeks at a dose of roughly 600 mg daily. There is no exact dosage threshold for daily use for aloe latex or aloe whole-leaf extract.

Can A Child Take Aloe Vera?

In children, taking aloe vera orally does not have clear benefits. When consumed by mouth, aloe latex and aloe whole leaf extracts are contraindicated. Stomach ache, cramps, and diarrhea are common side effects for children under 12. Topical application of aloe gel is likely safe. 

Can Your Pet Consume Aloe Vera?

The Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products only advocates for the topical use of aloe vera gel and whole leaf aloe vera extract for animals or pets.

Which Plant Produces The Aloe Vera?

According to Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple, Aloe barbadensis miller is the botanical name of the plant that produces aloe vera. It is has lived for many years as a shrub that adapts to drylands and belongs to the Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family.

What Are The Current Top Scientific Research Topics For Aloe Vera?

The current top research topics on aloe vera as it appears on pubmed.gov are:

  • The biological, medical, and physical science associated with aloe vera
  • The toxic and adverse effects of aloe vera
  • A review of the pharmacological profile and major active components in aloe vera
  • A discussion of aloe vera as a natural source of antioxidants
  • The effects of aloe vera in the skin and on wound healing at a cellular level
  • The components and applications of aloe vera leaf gel to certain conditions
  • A review of published research on aloe vera’s clinical effectiveness

What Is The Best Form Of Aloe Vera Supplement For The Skin?

Topical application in gels, creams, or as a component of wound dressings is the best form of aloe vera for the skin. This is because of the vast wealth of research performed on topical aloe vera for skin healing, such as Gao, Kuok, Jin, & Wang. 

 

Aloe Vera Benefits Content Image 3

 

What Are The Skin Benefits Of Consuming Aloe Vera?

Aloe vera provides increased moisture into the skin. It also provides treatment of dry skin through its moisturizing properties. Surjushe, Vasani, & Saple find that it improves skin integrity, reduces acne, wrinkle appearance, and reduces erythema. The amino acids in aloe vera can soften the damaged and hardened skin tissues. It contains seven essential amino acids and is high in antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, creating a more vibrant skin. The mineral zinc helps to tighten pores and works as an astringent. It also can treat acne lesions when combined with tretinoin cream. Aside from this, it has an anti-aging ability derived potentially from increased collagen production. 

What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice?

Aloe vera juice, the extract from aloe vera, can also heal stomach ulcers, according to research by Gullón, Gullón, Tavaria, Alonso, & Pintado. The extract that can be consumed solely as juice or mixed with food assists in reducing inflammation and provide a cure for the stomach’s lining. Aloe vera has been used to aid in the smooth working of the gastrointestinal tract, assist digestion, boost blood and lymphatic circulation, and enhance kidney, liver, and gall bladder functions. 

Aloe vera contains at least three anti-inflammatory fatty acids, which help the stomach, small intestines, and colon to function well. It can alkalize digestive secretions and avoid over-acidity. Essential enzymes found in aloe vera juice concentrates help to enhance digestion and liver function. It also helps keep the acids in the stomach in balance, which has a relaxing effect on the stomach. It is used in Irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, Crohn’s disease, indigestion, heartburn, and a variety of other stomach illnesses. 

Is Aloe Vera More Beneficial Internal Or External Use?

The internal use of aloe vera is more beneficial as it can provide cures for various diseases. However,  Ahlawat and Khatkar state that several discussions regarding its safety are also the issue. An important factor that raises concern is its side effects when taken orally. In combination with antidiabetic, diuretic, or laxative medications, sevoflurane, or digoxin, aloe vera gel intake is contraindicated because it may be lethal. On the other hand, the external use of aloe vera gel is generally considered safe.

Which Is Better Aloe Vera Gel Or Aloe Vera Juice?

The aloe vera juice is a better form than aloe vera gel. Aloe Vera gel is intended for topical use and offers a broad range of skin-health benefits. Unlike gel, aloe vera juice is treated and filtered to remove natural chemicals that irritate the digestive system. Aloe Vera juice is a source of vitamins and minerals and is colorless and watery. Vitamins A, C, and E and B complex vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12 are all present in aloe vera juice. It’s also a good source of folic acids, iron, copper, zinc, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and chromium in varying amounts.

It will depend on what ailment or purpose the user wants to get out of it to provide benefit. The gel may be preferable for external application and reap its hydrating and moisturizing properties, whereas juice is better for gastric and internal health.

Resources

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