The true aloe can store large amounts of water. Is therefore perfectly adapted for hot locations with irregular water supply. Two fundamentally different products are obtained from the leaves of the aloe: The aloe gel for skin problems or for skin care and the aloe latex as a laxative. We now introduce you to this versatile medicinal plant in more detail.
Aloe vera : The most important at a glance
In the plant world, aloe vera (Aloe vera L. or synonymous Aloe barbadensis Mill.) a real miracle plant. It grows primarily in hot and dry areas of the earth and adapts perfectly to the difficult climatic conditions due to its immense water storage capacity. The popular
Aloe vera gel consists of the water-rich leaf interior of the plant. It is mainly used in the treatment of various Skin problems Such as inflammations, wounds, burns, frostbite or insect bites very popular. There are indications for the effectiveness in several recent clinical studies. Aloe vera is very well tolerated. Has hardly any side effects.
In other areas of application achieves the Aloe vera leaf bark a good effect. Aloe has long been used as a laxative for constipation. Since the aloin contained in it irritates the intestinal mucosa, use for longer than 1-2 weeks is to be warned against. There are different products on the market, at "Health Drinks" or other food supplements for internal use must be declared as "anthraquinone-free" to watch out for.
How well does Aloe vera help?
In the case of painful diseases in the area of the intestinal outlet (anal fires, anal thrombosis or hemorrhoids) and after surgery in the rectal area, a soft stool alleviates the discomfort. For one to two weeks, the use of laxative aloe products may be useful, because the effect is quite reliable. According to the stricter recommendation of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Medical products, however, aloe should not be used more than twice a week for a maximum of two weeks because of the risk of cancer.
Aloe vera juice
Liquid aloe vera preparations containing anthraquinones are traditionally drunk for numerous inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases. Initial (non-confirmatory) clinical studies are positive. In the case of "health drinks", care should be taken to ensure that the content of laxative anthranoids ("anthraquinones", z.B. aloin) is declared and the exact parent plant and galenic preparation are indicated.
Dietary supplements and cosmetics are prepared from the colorless, gelatinous leaf pulp, which contains few or no anthraquinones.
The external effect for wound healing is proven under certain circumstances. Accelerated wound healing in the sense of faster skin regeneration (epithelialization) has been demonstrated. Several clinical studies give evidence of efficacy of aloe vera gel products in inflammatory skin diseases, wounds, burns, frostbite and insect bites. The effect on sunburn and acne has not been proven beyond doubt. However, in the case of sunburn (dermatitis solaris) are nothing more than a slight burn and therefore an effect here is just as plausible.
Conclusion: The clinical studies on the efficacy of aloe vera products have been classified as low in terms of quality. However, the medicinal plant has been successfully used in folk medicine for thousands of years with
Visible acceleration of wound healing.
Anthroquinone-containing preparations (also from other Aloe species!):
– Ensures soft stool in anal fires, hemorrhoids, anal thrombosis
– Inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract – Diseases of the oral mucosa (aphthae, mucositis) – Gum inflammations, gingivitis, periodontitis – Frostbite – Skin diseases: Skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, burns, including sunburn, minor injuries (genital herpes)
ELEU CURARINA ® Drops.
Active ingredient: fluid extract of taiga root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) (1:1). Indications: Traditional herbal medicinal product for the treatment of states of exhaustion such as fatigue and weakness for adults and adolescents 12 years and older. The drug is a traditional medicine, registered exclusively on the basis of many years of experience for the field of application. If symptoms persist or if side effects other than those mentioned in the package leaflet occur, please consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional. Note: Contains 32 vol.-% ethanol.
For risks and side effects read the package insert and ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Botany: Appearance and origin
The genus Aloe consists of about 360 species, some of which cross among themselves. They all belong to the family of the Affodillgewachse. The natural distribution area is unknown, but since all other Aloe species are found in Africa, Aloe vera was probably originally native to Africa. Today it is found on the North African mainland, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula, but also in the Mediterranean region and Asia (especially India). In Central/South America, the aloe is now introduced and running wild.
Aloe vera has a very short stem with thick fleshy leaves attached to it. The leaf is ca. 40 to 50 cm long, is gray-green to red in color and has coarse teeth on the leaf edge. At the time of flowering, the plant sprouts a 60 to 90 cm high inflorescence, which bears dense, yellow to red flower clusters.
Today the plant is cultivated in large plantations. Pharmaceutical use is the fleshy interior of the leaves and the dried juice.
From aloe vera one harvests 2 different liquids: Aloe vera gel is made from the fleshy inside of the peeled leaves. It consists of 98.5% water and contains carbohydrate polymers such as glucomannans or pectic acid. The gel-like material is distributed in a stabilized form (z.B. Freeze-drying , heating or preservatives ).
To be distinguished from it is the collected juice from the leaf bark. It is called aloe latex (aloe juice), a bitter-tasting yellowish resin containing aloin. If the leaves are not peeled, antraquinones are also contained in the gel.
Healing properties of Aloe vera
The best known is the laxative effect of aloe. Most studies, however, deal with the effect on the skin, the mucous membrane or the mucous membrane. wound healing. Recent work addresses a completely new topic, namely the effectiveness of aloe gel on blood sugar and metabolism.
Effect on skin and wound healing
Aloe Vera Capsules
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Aloe vera gel increases fibroblast cell division (and thus wound closure) collagen production (and thus scar tensile strength) and new blood vessel formation (and thus wound bed supply). It also reduces inflammation and fights fungal and bacterial infections. Thus, there is a flood of studies that deal with its effectiveness on various skin diseases. The quality of the investigations is criticized however, so that the evaluating statement is still uncertain.
After the treatment of the school medicine with psoriasis is often not satisfying, the concerning look increasingly for refuge with alternative therapies and welfare plants. Aloe vera is one of the well studied medicinal plants in psoriasis.
In a clinical study (placebo-controlled, double-blind) with 40 patients, aloe vera gel was applied twice a day for four weeks. Redness and scaling of the skin decreased by 72.5%, with the placebo by 82.5. Thus, in this case, the aloe treatment was slightly worse than the placebo . Only the regular application of gel was sufficient for an improvement of the complaints.
A Swedish study was conducted with another product (placebo-controlled, double-blind): Here, not the gel, but 0.5% aloe vera extract in a cream was tested. 60 people with moderate psoriasis participated (3 times a day, for a maximum of 4 weeks). The condition of the patients was also followed during the following 12 months. The aloe vera product persistently improved the findings in 25 out of 30 patients, while in the placebo group only two out of 30 people were free of symptoms.
Unfortunately, the treatment with aloe vera was not always effective, so that no safe response can be promised.
Inflammation and wound healing
There are laboratory reports showing that isolated ingredients have quite different properties: They were able to both reduce and increase inflammatory processes (stimulating the activity of immune cells).
The studies on wound healing properties of aloe vera do not come to a unified conclusion:
Aloe did not improve wound healing in 30 elderly patients with sore sites and in 21 women with gynecological wounds (with impaired healing). In healing after removal of the top layer of skin on the face (dermabrasion), healing was 3 days faster in the aloe-treated half of the face, compared to the untreated half of the face, a significant plus.
Acne is a persistent condition that results from a combination of numerous causes, including infection , inflammation, hormones , stress and sebum buildup. Because of its complexity, the disease is not easy to treat, so new approaches are needed.
In the clinical trial aloe was not effective against acne .
The combination with the anti-acne active ingredient tretinoin is different. Aloe vera with the active ingredient had significantly more effect than the drug alone in subjects with mild to moderately severe acne . Both inflammatory and non-inflammatory skin damage had improved.
There are reasonable hopes that the wound-healing activity may be a significant part of the effect against acne.
In animal experiments with rats and guinea pigs, treatment with aloe vera accelerated the healing of burns. Blood circulation was improved. The inflammatory processes subsided more rapidly. A substance from aloe vera (β-sitosterol) showed a stimulating effect on the formation of blood vessels. Similar to the antibacterial powder silver sulfadiazine, aloe gel decreased bacterial growth.
In a clinical study of 27 patients with burn wounds, significantly faster healing was found with aloe gel (with aloe gel ca. 12 days, with Vaseline gauze approx. 18 days).
Aloe vera gel also performed better in comparison with the active ingredient nitrofurazone (used against superficially infected wounds).
The question of whether aloe vera can combat sunburn cannot yet be answered unequivocally, as the studies are not unanimous in this respect. First to second degree burns. Therefore an effect is to be amed here just the same.
In an experiment with 20 volunteers, the protection of Aloe vera cream (70%) against sunburn was tested. The product did not protect against sunburn, nor could it accelerate the resolution of redness.
This result is contradicted by another study from the University of Freiburg. In this particular trial, an anti-inflammatory effect was found when the back was irradiated with a light dose of UV light, which just causes sunburn.
Experiments with rabbits and mice show a positive influence of aloe on the healing of frost damage in ties (24% of damaged ties survived with aloe, compared to 6% in the control). Aloe vera was found to be equal to the blood circulation stimulating drug pentoxifylline (24% with aloe to 20% with pentoxifylline).
Aloe: gastrointestinal use
The upper leaf layer of aloe leaves contains so-called anthraquinones. They have a strong laxative effect. Are contained in laxatives available in pharmacies. The efficacy is obvious, clear and reliable. That is why there is a lack of clinical studies on the subject. However, the careless application is not completely harmless.
Attention: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified laxative aloe products as unsafe since 2002 because they have been associated with mutagenicity, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. Evidence that aloe products containing anthraquinones are safe has not yet been provided. Therefore, the application should be limited in time. Prolonged use leads to blackening of the intestinal mucosa (Melanosis coli), which allows colonoscopy to detect patients with many years of abuse. Here the risk of colon cancer is probably increased.
As a bowel-irritating laxative, aloe vera (similar to senna leaves) should only be used if it can be relieved by a change in diet, sufficient exercise, adequate fluid intake, abdominal massage, relaxation measures or by taking swelling agents such as psyllium, flaxseed, agar etc. no sufficient therapeutic effect can be achieved.
inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract
With its anti-inflammatory effect, Aloe vera gel (without anthraquinones!) an interesting candidate for various inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract. preclinical data suggest that it may help with gastric ulcers. A clinical study directly indicates an alleviating effect on the symptoms of reflux, and a slight efficacy may also be amed for irritable bowel syndrome, as well as for the colon:
In a clinical study, the effect of Aloe vera gel on Inflammation of the mucous membrane in the colon studied (double-blind, placebo -controlled). For this purpose, 30 patients were treated with 100 ml of aloe vera gel twice a day for a period of 4 weeks. 30 people in the aloe group experienced a 30-47% improvement; of the 14 people in the placebo group, 3 experienced a 7-14% reduction in inflammation. The histological findings were improved, but the blood values (inflammation values) did not differ.
Mouth and teeth
Inflammation of the oral mucosa
Inflammations of the oral mucosa can have quite different reasons. They range from irritation (injuries, "burning mouth syndrome," dry mouth), damage (such as radiotherapy), infection en (such as Candida) to viral/bacterial inflammatory/autoimmune/vitamin/iron deficiency-related disorders (lichen ruber planus, aphthae). In Ayurvedic medicine, remedies containing Aloe vera have long been a popular therapy for diseases of the oral mucosa. This can now be confirmed with initial data. In the most recent studies, the clinical pictures responded positively to the medicinal plant. This is very positive. Now controlled studies must provide evidence.
Cancer therapy-induced skin inflammation
Still the measures in the oncology are afflicted with many side effects.
Patients who are irradiated in the head area often suffer not only from painful inflammation of the oral mucosa. Candida fungal infections are also frequently found under these circumstances. Aloe vera should also be effective here, according to expectations. First studies give hope. In comparison with an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent (benzydamine), aloe vera performed equally well.
In the Radiation dermatitis the signs are rather undecided. Some studies were negative, others positive. In these encouraging studies the aloe vera gel has already been preventive applied. It is thought that the preventive use of a moisturizing skin care approach matters more than the medicinal plants incorporated into the products.
Because of the already known properties, the gel of aloe is used in dentistry. This is how the medicinal plant becomes mouthwash. Antibacterial toothpastes processed. In addition, the effect on inflammations caused by tooth extractions, gingivitis, periodontitis is being investigated. In one study, 8% of cases (47 out of 587 patients) occurred after tooth extraction. treatment with antibiotics complications arise (bone inflammation – alveolar ostitis). The next 958 patients were then treated with an Aloe vera product (Acemannan hydrogel wound dressing). The complication rate was significantly lower (1.1 %). However, this study lacked a parallel control group.
At gum inflammations aloe vera helps best when, parallel to its use (3 times a day), a professional ultrasonic dental cleaning is performed every six months to remove the soft and hard parts of the tartar (above and, if necessary, below the gums). Then aloe soothes inflammation. Accelerates wound healing.
The tenor of the research is encouraging, larger studies have yet to confirm the results.
The preliminary laboratory tests gave hope: Aloe vera gel showed an antiviral effect against herpes viruses in cell cultures. Also the practice reports first successes:
120 male patients with genital herpes were treated with either aloe vera gel (0.5% extract ), aloe vera cream or placebo 3 times daily for 12 weeks. Aloe vera cream worked best (4-8 days, 70% of subjects cured). Healing took longer with the aloe vera gel (7 days, 45% healed) and the placebo (14 days, 7.5% healed). Aloe vera is considered in the Arabic region. In Africa as a traditional remedy for diabetes. This has also encouraged research into human studies:
A first meta-analysis of all clinical studies conducted to date concludes that there may well be an effect on the metabolism of people in the early stages of diabetes ("metabolic syndrome") and in early diabetes. Aloe should positively influence the fat values (triglyceride e and bad cholesterol lower, good cholesterol raise). Also about the sugar values can be reported positively: The sugar values under fasting were lower, by the way also the value for the long-term blood sugar adjustment (HbA1c).
However, the authors point out that there is not yet data to support the findings with sufficient certainty. The study quality was not sufficiently high to allow the findings to be taken as evidence.
Image link to conditions where aloe vera can help sec.
Image link to conditions where aloe vera can help from experience
Side effects and contraindications
There are frequent warnings of allergic reactions.
The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices recommends that laxatives containing aloe vera be used no more than twice a week, as the anthraquinones are potentially carcinogenic and mutagenic.
As a result of treatment, a harmless red coloration of the urine may occur.
Pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions and hemorrhoids should avoid these laxatives altogether.
When used as a laxative, the electrolyte balance can be disturbed – especially the potassium balance. Chronic use (abuse) can interfere with the action of cardiac drugs (cardiac glycosides, antiarryhthmic drugs). Potassium deficiency is also exacerbated by the use of dehydrating drugs (thiazide diuretics), adrenal steroids and licorice root.
Practical application: Products& Home remedy
The aloe vera product range includes, for example, juices, drinking gels, powders or dry extracts in capsule form, ointments, and skin gels.
A distinction should be made between anthraquinone-containing and anthraquinone-free preparations. Anthraquinone-containing preparations are used as laxatives. If you buy skin care products, "health drinks" or preparations to promote wound healing, you should make sure that they do not contain anthraquinones. More modern processes can provide anthranoid-free gel products.