In Part 1 yesterday Alexandra Madej introduced us to the extraordinary properties of Aloe vera. Here she continues to tell us about the world’s earliest known medicinal plant and Aloe vera benefits and side effects.

E. Aloe Vera juice benefits

F. Preparations and dosages

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G. Side effects

E). Aloe Vera juice benefits

a) Helps digestion: Drinking Aloe Vera juice naturally allows the body to cleanse the digestive system. It encourages the bowels to move and helps with elimination if a person is constipated. And if you have diarrhoea, it will help slow it down.

b)  Increases energy levels: Our diets include many substances which can cause fatigue and exhaustion. Aloe vera juice ensures a greater feeling of well-being when taken regularly, allowing energy levels to increase and also helps maintain a healthy body weight.

c) Builds immunity: It is especially great for those who have chronic immune disorders like polysaccharides or fibromyalgia since the polysaccharides in Aloe vera juice stimulate macrophages – the white blood cells that fight viruses.

d) Detoxifies: Aloe Vera juice is a great natural aid to detox. With our stressful lives, the pollution around us and the junk foods we eat, we all need to cleanse our systems from time to time. Drinking Aloe vera juice provides a very rich cocktail of vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

F). Preparations and dosages

Aloe Vera juice/gel, 15–30 ml. 1–2 tablespoons are taken on an empty stomach or between meals 2 – 3 times a day. Externally the gel is applied to the affected area 2-3 times a day as needed. As a laxative, 50-300 mg aloe powder or a dry extract is taken in the evening for temporary constipation [3]

Aloe vera benefits and side effects_part2_2

G). Side Effects

Application of aloe to skin may increase the absorption of steroid creams such as hydrocortisone. It reduces the effectiveness and may increase the adverse effects of digoxin and digitoxin, due to its potassium lowering effect. Combined use of Aloe vera and furosemide may increase the risk of potassium depletion. It decreases the blood sugar levels and thus may interact with oral hypoglycemic drugs and insulin. Thus, though Aloe vera has a wide spectrum of the properties and uses, some of them could be myths and some of them could be real magic. In future, controlled studies are required to prove the effectiveness of Aloe vera under various conditions [1].

Occasionally the local application of aloe gel may cause an acute skin rash, redness, burning, stinging sensation and rarely generalized dermatitis in sensitive individuals, which usually soon disappears with continued use [ 2]

Allergic reactions are mostly due to anthraquinones [16], such as aloin and barbaloin. It is best to apply it to a small area first to test for possible allergic reaction. Other side effects include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, red urine, hepatitis, dependency or worsening of constipation.  Anthraquinones present in latex are a potent laxative.

It increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis [7].Laxative effect may cause electrolyte imbalances [low potassium levels). Oral aloe is not recommended during pregnancy due to theoretical stimulation of uterine contractions, and in breastfeeding mothers, it may sometimes cause gastrointestinal distress in the nursing infant.

References:

1.Sandeep Kumar and J.P . Yadav.” Ethnobotanical  and Pharmacological properties of Aloe Vera; A review” Department of Genetics  M. D University , Rohtak -124001, Haryana, India 2014

2. Juneby, H.B. Fytomedicin – en fickhandbok om medicinalväxter, Artaromaförlaget: Gamleby, Sweden 1999.

3. Bradley, P.R. British Herbal Compendium, British Herbal Medicine Association: Bournemouth, UK 1992.

4. Talmadge, J.; Chavez, J.; Jacobs, L.; Munger, C.; Chinnah, T.; Chow, J.T.; Williamson, D.; Yates, K. Fractionation of Aloe Vera L. inner gel, purification and molecular profiling of activity. Int. Immunopharmacol. 2004, 4, 1757-1773.

5. Schmidt, J.M. & Greenspoon, J.S. Aloe Vera dermal wound gel is associated with a delay in wound healing, Obstet Gynecol 1991, 78, 115-117.

6. Ni, Y.; Tizard, I.R. Analytical methodology: the gel-analysis of aloe pulp and its derivatives. In Aloes

7. Ishii Y, Tanizawa H, Takino Y. Studies of aloe. V: Mechanism of cathartic effect. Biol Pharm Bull.1994;17:651–3.

8. Chen, W. Drug absorption enhancing properties of Aloe Vera across the intestinal epithelium. D. Tech. Thesis, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, 2008.

9. Reynolds, T.; Dweck, A.C. Aloe Vera leaf gel: a review update. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999, 68, 3- 37.

10. Suvitayavat, W.; Sumrongkit, C.; Thirawarapan, S.S.; Bunyapraphatsara, N. Effects of Aloe preparation on the histamine-induced gastric secretion in rats. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 90, 239- 247.

11. Josias H. Hamman Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology 8 August 2008

12. The Genus Aloe; Reynolds, T., Ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, 2004; pp. 111-126.

13. Eshun, K.; He, Q. Aloe Vera: A valuable ingredient for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries – A review. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2004, 44, 91-96.

14. He, Q.; Changhong, L.; Kojo, E.; Tian, Z. Quality and safety assurance in the processing of Aloe Vera gel juice. Food Control. 2005, 16, 95-104.

15 Barcroft, Myskja.    Aloe vera: Nature’s Silent Healer. 2003.

16. Plant chemicals formed on anthracene (a triple benzene ring) skeleton. Used as short-term laxative. Extensive use can causeelectrolyte imbalance.

 

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