Aloe vera health benefits and side effects
Aloe vera is an approved remedy for constipation, which should not be taken too long. In addition, aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice are applied externally for wound healing. Aloe vera is still given a healing effect in many other areas.
What is the healing power of aloe vera and other aloe species?
First of all, two aloe species are used medically. These are Aloe barbadensis and Aloe ferox.
The bitter-tasting dry extract of the outer leaf layers of both aloe species is used in the case of clogging. This effect is recognized in medicine.
The non-bitter-tasting plant juice of Aloe vera and A. Ferox are said to be used externally for the healing of the wound. So far, there are not enough high-quality studies to prove this effect.
According to reports, products from Aloe vera and A. ferox can alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases such as psoriasis when used externally.
Aloe vera is often also advertised as a “miracle agent” for the treatment of various ailments up to the healing of cancer. The medical proof is missing for these diseases.
Aloe extract of the outer leaf layers
The outer layers of aloe vera and A. ferox provide the well-known dry extract (Extractum aloes), which contains so-called anthranoids (including aloin) as the most effective ingredients.
Anthranoids have a laxative and stimulating effect on the muscle activity of the intestine. Therefore, the dry extracts in the form of finished drug preparations are very well suited for the treatment of constipation. They are also used in diseases where a slight bowel movement is desired.
This is the case, for example, in anal fissures and hemorrhoids as well as after surgical interventions in the area of the rectum.
How is Aloe vera used?
In case of constipation, do not take aloe preparations until the source and a dietary change could not eliminate the intestinal inertia. Then preferably use finished medicines such as tablets, pills or tinctures from your pharmacy. They are carefully prepared and contain a standardized concentration of the extract.
On the other hand, the aloe vera juice effect is too weak for a digestive stimulus. Aloe vera drinks and gels contain too little laxative ingredients and are not suitable as a laxative for constipation.
The juice from the freshly cut leaves of the plant (also from Aloe capensis) can help the first wound care in cutting wounds, 1st degree burns and sunburn. Cut the leaves for this and let the juice drip directly to the appropriate place. Alternatively, ointments based on medicinal plants from the pharmacy help.
What side effects may Aloe vera cause?
There are reports of cramp-like gastrointestinal discomfort in the internal use of aloe vera and aloe ferox products. Then reduce the dose. A slight red coloration of urine during treatment with aloe is harmless.
Diabetics taking antihypertensive medicines should be careful: oral aloe vera and A. ferox preparations can also lower blood glucose levels.
The dry extracts irritate the intestinal mucosa and should not be taken for more than one to a maximum of two weeks. In addition, the body loses many important salts (electrolytes) during long-term use of laxatives, which can lead to disturbances of the heart function and to muscle weakness.
The external application of Aloe vera and A. ferox appears to be safe.
What you should consider when using Aloe vera?
Aloe Preparations for internal use should not be used for more than two weeks, as there is a risk that the intestinal mucosa will be overwrought and the intestinal inertia may reappear or intensify.
The additional intake of effective medicines can dangerously increase the loss of mineral salts. Therefore, discuss the combined use in advance with your doctor.
Aloe preparations should not be taken with certain diseases. These include:
- Intestinal occlusion
- awel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Abdominal pain of unexplained cause
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, aloe preparations should not be taken for safety. Children under 12 years of age are not recommended.
How to get Aloe vera and Aloe vera products?
For the treatment of constipation or wounds, use pre-filled medicines from the pharmacy: They are carefully prepared and contain a standardized extract. Take the preparations of Aloe vera and A. ferox as indicated in the respective package leaflet. For safe use, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Food supplements as well as cosmetic products with aloe (such as aloe vera face cream or aloe vera oil for skin care) are available in drugstore stores and health care centers.
Worth knowing about aloe vera and other aloe species
Aloe is a genus of the asphodelaceae, of which there are wildly over 200 species in Africa, India and the Mediterranean region. Known species are aloe vera and aloe ferox, both of which are used for the preparation of medicinal preparations.
Aloe vera is an ancient cultivated plant, originally from North Africa or the Arabian Peninsula. Today it is cultivated in many tropical subtropical regions. The approximately 40 to 50 centimeters tall plant forms one or more rosettes from fleshy, not bedorned leaves. From these stand upright to 90 centimeters high inflorescences with yellow flowers from May to June.
The botanically correct name of Aloe vera is actually Aloe barbadensis MILLER. Manufacturers often offer preparations with A. barbadensis MILLER under the name “Aloe vera” (for example, as an aloe vera gel) to circumvent the drug law, which the A. barbadensis acknowledges only for the treatment of constipation. The declaration of other effects is therefore prohibited.
With an altitude of up to three meters (sometimes six meters) the aloe ferox excels the aloe vera clearly. This height reaches the plant through its upright trunk, where the leaves fall from the bottom to the top. At the top she wears a stately crown of burnished, lanceolate leaves. On the underside of the leaves are prickles – in contrast to the leaves of Aloe vera. From May to June, A. ferox carries long, roller-shaped flowers with numerous pale-red flowers.