A century ago, the medicinal properties of Aloe Vera were recognized. The term Aloe derived from “Alloeh”, an Aerobic word, which means shining bitter substance, whereas Vera is a Latin term, which means true. The medicinal property of Aloe Vera was recognized by different civilizations, like almost 2000 years ago Greek medicinal scientist considered Aloe Vera as a universal panacea, similarly, Egyptians considered Aloe is “the plant of immortality.”
How health benefits of Aloe Vera were discovered?
Aloe Vera achieved a position as an herbal medicinal ingredient in the traditional medicine of Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican civilization. Aloe Vera was a routine royal beauty regimen. Aloe Vera is the secret of the beauty of Cleopatra. But Aloe Vera is not only used as aesthetic purpose, but King Alexander and Christopher Columbus also recommended Aloe Vera to treat wounds of their soldiers. In A.D. 1655, Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica referred Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera abundantly grows in the dry regions of Africa, Europe, America, and Asia.
In early 1800, American medicinal experts recognized the laxative property of Aloe Vera, but in mid of the 1930s, the skin benefits of Aloe Vera got the recognition when this herbal ingredient successfully treat chronic skin conditions as well as radiation-induced dermatitis. In the present century, Aloe Vera become a common herbal ingredient in dermatological products.
Scientifically Aloe Vera is known as Aloe barbadensis miller, which belongs to the Asphodelaceae family.
Each and every phytochemical present in Aloe Vera follow a certain mechanism of action to prevent and cure diseases.
•Vitamins present in Aloe Vera have antioxidant properties, which reduces the free radicals burden in tissue labels.
•Bradykinase enzyme has significant anti-inflammatory properties and topical applications able to reduce skin inflammation. However, other enzyme contents involved in the sugar and fat metabolism process. This contributes to the benefits of aloe Vera benefits for the skin.
•Every mineral plays an important role in different enzyme systems, metabolic pathways and some acts as antioxidants.
•Alprogen a glycoprotein present in Aloe Vera has anti-allergic property. C-glucosyl chromone is a sugar moiety that has an anti-inflammatory property.
•Anthraquinones are phenolic compounds have laxative property, whereas aloin and emodin have analgesic, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
•All steroid compounds present in Aloe Vera have an anti-inflammatory effect. The fatty acid content, lupeol also has antiseptic and analgesic properties.
•Auxins and gibberellins are two hormones have wound healing property, but also imparts anti-inflammatory property.
•Salicylic acid present in Aloe Vera has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Saponins exert anti-septic and cleansing properties.
Altogether Aloe Vera able to stimulates cellular proliferation and collagen production by activating growth factors, which accelerate wound healing activities. In addition, Aloe Vera not only increased collagen content in scar tissue but also alter the collagen composition and the degree of collagen cross-linking.
Administration of Aloe Vera preparation generates antioxidant protein, metallothionein in skin tissue, which has antioxidant properties and provides protection against UV radiation in exposure to sun rays. Aloe Vera also reduces the release of immunosuppressive cytokines derived from skin keratinocyte. Thus, it prevents hypersensitivity reaction, another one of the benefits of aloe Vera on skin. Application of Aloe Vera reduces prostaglandin E2 synthesis from arachidonic acid by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase pathway.
Aloe Vera enhances the mucus secretion, increases water content in the intestinal products and stimulates intestinal peristalsis. All these mechanisms act as a laxative.
Aloe Vera suppresses mast cell activation by inhibiting the antigen-antibody-mediated histamine and leukotriene release. In addition, the antioxidant property of Aloe Vera also reduces free radicals burden. Thus, this herb has a direct impact on the immune system.
Anthraquinone present in Aloe Vera inactivates certain viral growth including herpes simplex and influenza. Animal research showed Aloe gel has a chemo-preventive effect and also has anti-tumor activity by preventing the formation of potentially cancer-initiating benzopyrene-DNA adducts.
Mucopolysaccharides present in Aloe Vera helps to prevent loss of moisture from skin tissue and also helps to bind the natural moisture content in the skin. The cohesive effect of Aloe Vera gel also softens the skin. Zinc and amino acid content tighten skin pores, acts as astringent. Overall, the application of Aloe Vera reduces skin wrinkle formation by improving skin integrity.
Traditional uses of Aloe Vera include bacterial and fungal dermatological infections, alopecia, chronic wound healing, arthritis, parasitic infections, and systemic lupus erythematosus. These uses are mainly theoretical, no study reference available to support these uses. However, some clinical and preclinical trial showed the efficacy of Aloe Vera in the following conditions:
Aloe Vera side effects on skin: Topical application of aloe Vera gel usually safe, but the hypersensitive patient should check by applying in a small area. Some sensitive individuals may experience Aloe Vera gel side effects like burning or stinging sensation and redness. It rarely causes generalized dermatitis.
Aloe Vera juice side effects: Oral administration may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, red urination. Prolong administration may cause dependency, electrolyte imbalances. Oral intake of Aloe Vera is not recommended during pregnancy and lactating women to avoid uterine contractions and gastrointestinal distress in nursing infants respectively. There are some aloe Vera side effects on the liver like hepatitis.
Hypersensitive individuals having an allergic tendency in exposure to Liliaceae family plant should avoid aloe Vera containing products.
Aloe Vera should not be used with the following medications: