Aloe veraAloe vera is known to many people as an ingredient in cosmetic products for skin care. Many body lotions, creams and shower baths, for example, are enriched with aloe. Aloe vera is said to moisturize the skin. How to improve the appearance of the skin.
Many people know aloe or aloe vera as a component of cosmetic products for skin care. Many body lotions, creams and shower baths, for example, are enriched with aloe vera. Aloe is said to moisturize the skin. To improve the appearance of the skin. Less known is the strong laxative effect of aloe in herbal medicines for internal use. Many experts advise that aloe should only be used as a laxative for a short time, if at all. This is due to the numerous side effects, interactions and possible symptoms of poisoning. Other herbal laxatives such as psyllium or flaxseed are much better tolerated and easier to handle.
Medicinal plant Aloe vera in brief
– skin care (external use), laxative for constipation (internal use) – do not use laxatives for long periods without medical advice. – do not use in case of intestinal obstruction, inflammatory bowel diseases or abdominal pain of unknown cause, during pregnancy and lactation as well as in children under twelve years of age – interactions with drainage agents, heart-strengthening drugs and cortisone-containing drugs possible – in case of overdose symptoms of poisoning with severe diarrhea – up to loss of fluid damaging to the kidneys – drink plenty of water while taking – areas of application: cosmetic and therapeutic skin care for conditions such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis, constipation.
Laxatives should only be used for a short time
According to the unanimous opinion of the experts, laxatives should only be used for short periods of time. The reason: misuse of laxatives is by far the most common cause of chronic constipation. The recurrent use of laxatives weakens the intestines. This can lead to persistent intestinal sluggishness. Once chronic constipation has developed, treatment is usually lengthy – and of uncertain outcome.
Recurrent constipation should be clarified by a doctor as soon as possible. The earlier a targeted treatment begins, the easier it is to avoid chronic constipation. In addition, constipation can be a symptom of a disease or a side effect of medication.
Active ingredients and mode of action
The leaves of the aloe contain a milky juice. For external use, this milky juice is usually processed into a gel. Added to the appropriate skin care products. For internal use, extracts are obtained from the milky sap and leaves of the aloe. The main active ingredient in aloe is aloin, which belongs to the group of anthranoids. In addition, aloe contains a resin with various long-chain sugars. A variety of vitamins, bitter substances and trace elements as well as essential oil are other components.
The laxative effect of aloe is due to the interaction of aloin and sugar compounds. Aloin and its transformation products make the intestinal mucosa impermeable to water. This causes saline water to accumulate in the intestines, liquefying the stool, stimulating reflexes in the intestines and thus accelerating bowel evacuation.
Skin care with aloe vera
The milk juice of aloe contains a variety of vitamins and trace elements. Whether and how aloe actually moisturizes the skin has not been sufficiently investigated. In any case, the skin dries out just as quickly after the administration of aloe as after the administration of other moisturizing cosmetics. Aloe gel evaporates to a certain extent after application. Develops a cooling effect. That is why aloe gel is used in after-sun lotions. Used as a natural skin care product for sunburn.
An effect of aloe against inflammatory skin diseases such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis is not sufficiently proven.
Use of aloe vera
External use of aloe preparations is completely harmless. However, this does not apply to internal use as a laxative. A whole series of instructions must be observed here. Prohibitions on the use of aloe as a laxative
Laxatives must not be used in cases of appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. This also applies to gastrointestinal complaints without a clearly identifiable harmless cause as well as severe dehydration due to lack of fluids. Children under 12 years of age, pregnant women and nursing mothers should also not be treated with aloe laxatives.
Carefully read the package insert of laxatives containing aloe. An overdose can have dangerous consequences. Studies have occasionally reported kidney inflammation. Signs of an overdose are cramping abdominal pain and persistent diarrhea.
Prolonged severe diarrhea can result in life-threatening loss of water and electrolytes. If diarrhea does not subside within a few hours, you should consult a doctor.
Observe duration of use
Basically, aloe should not be taken for longer than a maximum of 2 weeks. If taken for a longer period of time, problems with the water and electrolyte balance may occur in addition to the intestinal sluggishness already described. A potassium deficiency, for example, can cause cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, protein and blood excretion through the urine is possible. While taking aloe as a laxative, drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or electrolyte mixtures. Herbal teas with chamomile or fennel are also a good choice.
Aloe can influence the action of a number of medications. This applies, among other things, to diuretics, cardiac stimulants (cardiac glycosides), antiarrhythmics and cortisone preparations.
Rarely, gastrointestinal complaints, which manifest themselves in the form of cramps, occur after taking proper dosages. An occasional temporary red coloration of the urine is not dangerous.