Aloe Vera

Jul 22, 2019 | 0 comments

Jul 22, 2019 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Herbal Therapies: Aloe Vera

Introduction

The Aloe Vera plant is also known as the Aloe Barbadensis is a herbal medicine that has been widely used for a thousand years ago (NCCIH, 2016). This herbal plant has been known to cure a variety of diseases (internal and external). The history of the Aloe Vera plant can be traced back to northern Africa -Egypt- but it is now being used all over the world for its health benefits. Aloe Vera has two different preparations; the clear mucilaginous gel from inside the leaves which are obtained by cutting the leaves and is used to prepare the remedy to a variety of external diseases; the thick and fleshy grey-green leaves which are mostly consumed orally (Grundmann, 2012 and Kumar et al, 2010). According to Kumar (2010), the Aloe Vera plant contains several essential materials that make it a reliable herbal treatment for diseases. These include acids, amino acids, enzymes, lectin, lipids, minerals such as potassium, lactates, phenolic, polysaccharides, urea, and vitamins.

Uses of Aloe Vera

The aloe Vera plant has several health benefits which can either be internal or external. In the external uses of aloe Vera, studies show that it can be used to heal burns and other types of wounds due to its soothing and healing effect which reduces the burning sensation. These effects of the herbal medicine increase the rate of healing and the firmness of the wound through penetration of the gel to the blood cells (Kumar et al, 2010). For the medicine to be effective, the gel should be applied to the wound/burn three times daily (Grundmann, 2012). Aloe Vera is widely known for restoring healthy skin which is also recommended by doctors. It is a solution to several skin problems such as skin rashes, fungus infection, any scalp infection, and many others. The anti-oxidants present in the plant have an anti-aging effect on the skin by reducing wrinkles through neutralizing free radicles. Aloe Vera can be used as a moisturizer since the plant aids in the circulatory system. Due to its ability to boost the circulatory system, this herbal plant is an ideal ingredient for maintaining healthy skin.

In the internal uses of Aloe Vera, the plant has numerous medicinal benefits to the human body. The anti-inflammatory fatty acids present enables the smooth functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This effectiveness is also contributed by the presence of enzymes and natural ingredients known as saponins which act as an antidote and flush out toxins from the digestive system (Kumar et al, 2010). Aloe Vera has a natural ingredient-pepsin- which prevents over-acidity hence reducing the effects of stomach ulcers. Consumption of Aloe Vera with food or drinks is known to control diabetes because it reduces blood sugar. Other medicinal benefits of Aloe Vera include reduction of cholesterol leading to a healthy heart, strengthening of the immune system, maintaining healthy joints preventing arthritis, and many others.

The Safety of Aloe Vera Use

Using topical Aloe Vera is considered generally safe for treating skin conditions. Appropriate doses should also be taken orally to avoid any complications. Medical conditions that are safe to use the aloe as a remedy have been mentioned earlier, however, people are warned against using aloe latex orally. Oral consumption of aloe latex is known to cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and kidney failure, or even cancer (NCCIH, 2016). The use of aloe Vera gel during pregnancy and breastfeeding is highly discouraged.

Evidence

Clinical reviews that have been done have proven the efficacy of aloe Vera use on the treatment of external health conditions such as burns and wounds, acne, herpes simplex virus, oral lichen, etc. Research on the use of Aloe Vera for the treatment of internal health conditions such as diabetes is inconclusive (Grundmann, 2012). A study done on the use of aloe vera gel to treat oral lichen, burns, dermatitis showed that it is more effective to the patient as compared to the use of the placebo.

Personal Narrative

Aloe vera is a treasure according to many communities around the world. Following its health benefits, I have witnessed people venturing into aloe vera farming for sale. From my experience, I have used aloe vera several times to strengthen my immune system. However, there is a myth that I doubted was true until when I have confirmed my doubts from this research; that people believe the medicine has been effective after oral ingestion when the user diarrheas!

References

Grundmann, O. (2012). Aloe Vera Gel Research Review. Natural Medicine Journal, 4(9). Retrieved from https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-09/aloe-vera-gel-research-review

Kumar, S., Bhowmik, D., Chiranjib, & Bishajit. (2010). Aloe Vera: A Potential Herb and its Medicinal importance. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2(1), 21-29. Retrieved from http://www.jocpr.com/articles/aloe-vera–a-potential-herb-and-its-medicinal-importance.pdf

NCCIH. (2016). Aloe Vera. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/aloevera