Aloe Vera is a wonder plant. The ancient Egyptians dubbed this plant as ‘plant of immortality’. Aloe Vera is known for its numerous healing properties. The plant is known to have numerous active components that are essential for human body. Some of these components include polysaccharide, fatty acids, enzymes, amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Let us take a look at some of the healing properties and health benefits of Aloe Vera:
Aloe Vera and Cancer: A study was conducted by University of Belgrade School of Medicine in 2012 where it was found that Aloe-emodin found in Aloe Vera inhibits the growth of cancerous cells in human skin after the cells are exposed to radiation. During the study, keratinocytes (human skin cells) were first exposed to radiations and it was found that the keratinocytes proliferated and formed tumor. When Aloe-emodin was applied, the proliferation was significantly inhibited . In 2010, China Medical University researchers found that in addition to Aloe-emodin, Rhein and Emodin found in Aloe Vera also inhibited the growth of cancer cells and also caused cell death among the tumor cells .
Applying Aloe Vera on Skin: The Aloe Vera gel can be extracted by peeling off the skin of Aloe leaf. It can then be rubbed on skin after sun exposure.
Aloe Vera and Skin: A study conducted by Department of Surgery, Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne shows that Aloe gel helps in improvement of genital herpes symptoms and also helps in fighting different skin disorders like psoriasis . The research found that the anti-inflammatory effects of the Aloe gel is greater than placebo gel or 1% hydrocortisone cream. It was also found that the gel can be effectively used treating conditions such as erythema induced by ultra-violet rays.
Aloe Vera and Diabetes: Research has shown that Aloe Vera juice is effective in improving the glucose levels in the blood and hence, it can be used for treatment of diabetes . Studies have also revealed that fat molecules or lipids in blood for Type 2 diabetes patients are decreased using Aloe Vera juice. Complications that result from diabetes such as ulcers and leg wounds. Aloe Vera helps in faster healing of these complications and reduces swelling .
What Makes Aloe Vera Effective Against Diabetes? It is believed in the medical world that compounds like anthraquinones, mannans and lectins are responsible for the healing effects of this medicinal plant against diabetes.
Aloe Vera against Free Radicals: Free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced in our body by the process of oxidation and also by the effects of several external agents. Research has shown that these free radicals can be notorious and can lead to numerous health problems. Two excellent resources on free radicals and their effects on human body can found here and here. A study conducted in 2010  shows that Aloe Vera extracts have strong antioxidant properties and can effectively scavenge free radicals within the body and thereby preventing episodes of various health problems including Heart disorders, Cerebrovascular disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Emphysema, Behcet’s disease, Cataracts, Osteoporosis, Arteriosclerosis, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Premature aging and more.
Aloe Vera against Aging: Aloe Vera is found to improve elastin and collagen fiber production through stimulation on fibroblast. This makes the skin less wrinkled and more elastic. The amino acids present in Aloe Vera softens the skin cells that become hard. Skin pores are tightened by the astringent effect of Zinc found in Aloe Vera. Mucopolysaccharides found in Aloe Vera help to moisturize skin and helps to decrease erythema and fine wrinkles .
Precautions to be taken: Aloe Vera is a time-tested herb but it can have side effects and can have interactions with medications, supplements and other herbs. So, it is always advised to use Aloe Vera under medical supervision. Here are some possible side effects of Aloe Vera:
- Allergic reaction causing skin rash.
- Diarrhea and intestinal cramps may occur when Aloe Vera latex is taken orally to deal with constipation.
- Pregnant women must avoid Aloe Vera latex under all circumstances because it can trigger miscarriage through uterine contraction.
- Lactating mother must avoid Aloe Vera latex because the effects on infants are not known.
 Popadic D, Savic E, Ramic Z, Djordjevic V, Trajkovic V, Medenica L, Popadic S. Aloe-emodin inhibits proliferation of adult human keratinocytes in vitro. J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Sep-Oct;63(5):297-302.
 Chen YY, Chiang SY, Lin JG, Yang JS, Ma YS, Liao CL, Lai TY, Tang NY, Chung JG. Emodin, aloe-emodin and rhein induced DNA damage and inhibited DNA repair gene expression in SCC-4 human tongue cancer cells. Anticancer Res. 2010 Mar;30(3):945-51.
 Mantle D, Gok MA, Lennard TW. Adverse and beneficial effects of plant extracts on skin and skin disorders. Adverse Drug React Toxicol Rev. 2001;20(2):89-103.
 Antidiabetic activity of Aloe vera L juice. I. Clinical trial in new cases of diabetes mellitus. Yongchaiyudha S, Rungpitarangsi V, Bunyapraphatsara N, Chokechaijaroenporn O (1996). Phytomedicine 3: 241–243.
 Antidiabetic activity of Aloe vera L juice. II. Clinical trial in diabetes mellitus patients in combination with glibenclamide. Bunyapraphatsara N, Yongchaiyudha S, Rungpitarangsi V, Chokechaijaroenporn O (1996). Phytomedicine 3: 245–248.
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