What is Aloe vera, uses, benefits, side effects, precautions –

What is Aloe vera?

  • Aloe vera is a medicinal plant used for a wide variety of health conditions.
  • It has a long history of use, with written records dated 1750 BC. 
  • You can get the gel from the Aloe leaf.
  • The mucilaginous gel that is most widely associated with aloe vera comes from the inner part of the leaf. 
  • It is separated from the pericyclic tubules, specialized cells that are under the epidermis of the leaf. 
  • Aloe vera gel is used for conditions like wound healing – both internal and external. 
  • It is known to speed the healing of many skin injuries, including ulcers, burns, frostbite, and abrasions. 
  • While used in juice form it relieves constipation because it can cause painful cramping, it should not be often used as gentler herbal laxatives. 
  • Lower doses of aloe can be effective in preventing kidney stone formation or reducing their size. 
  • Aloe vera is also known to be helpful in conditions like piles, where it can be effective as a stool softener.
  • Aloe vera juice also improves digestion by destroying many bacteria that cause infection.
  • As of now, you can find many commercial products using aloe in shampoos, conditioners & skin care.

What are the uses of Aloe vera?

Herbal uses of aloe vera

  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anesthetic
  • Used to prevent or reduce fever
  • Relieve itching
  • Moisturizer
  • Prevent muscles from tightening
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Used to destroy parasitic worms
  • Used in cleansing
  • Digestion 
  • Relieves inflammation
  • Act as a Laxative (stool softener)

Medical uses of aloe vera 

  • Burns (due to radiation, sunburn, and other causes)
  • Headaches
  • dry skin
  • rashes (due to dermatitis, poison ivy, or insect bites)
  • kidney stones
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hives
  • Constipation
  • wound healing
  • peptic ulcers
  • immune system enhancement
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma

What are the benefits of Aloe vera?

Vitamins & minerals

  • Aloe vera is known to be a great source of vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin E, which are all important for wound healing. 

Inflammation & Pain reliever

  • Glycoproteins in aloe gel inhibit and break down bradykinin, a mediator of pain and inflammation. 
  • Aloe gel also inhibits thromboxane, which also causes inflammation.

Healing properties 

  • Aloe gel works by stimulating fibroblast and connective tissue formation, resulting in skin growth stimulation and repair as well. 
  • It also increases blood flow to burned tissue, which helps it heal.

Lower blood sugar

  • Along with other wound healing properties, Aloe gel is effective in healing diabetic leg ulcers.
  • Aloe also benefits by lowering blood sugar levels.


  • It has antiseptic properties used regularly in the treatment of burns. 
  • Extract from Aloe leaf also kills antibacterial and antifungal germs.

Aloe extract is also effective in treating the following –

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Citrobacter species
  • Enterobacter cloacae
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli
  • Streptococcus faecalis
  • Candida albicans

Kidney stone prevention

  • Aloe has an active component called anthraquinones, known to prevent kidney stone formation. 
  • It works by binding calcium in the urinary tract and reducing the growth rate of urinary calcium crystals, resulting in less kidney stone formation.

Peptic ulcers

  • Aloe juice heals peptic ulcers by inhibiting pepsin when the stomach is empty, releasing it only to digest food. 
  • It also heals and prevents other irritants from reaching the ulcer. 
  • Aloe juice aids the digestive process by increasing gastric pH, reducing yeast infections, and improving water retention.

Strong immunity

  • Aloe has an antiviral compound named Acemannan. 
  • Also known as a powerful immune system stimulant. 
  • It enhances macrophage activity, the function of T cells, and interferon production.

What is amount of Aloe vera should be taken?

  • The dosage for dry aloe extract is very small (50 to 200 mg).
  • General use – dosage of gel or juice 2 tbsp 
  • Kidney stone prevention – 2 to 3 tbsp daily
  • Laxative purposes – 500 to 1,000 mg daily (care should be taken that laxative doses of aloe are accompanied by carminative herbs to prevent griping)
  • Burns or wound healing, topically – aloe vera gel applied liberally (fresh gel from aloe plant is best)
  • Hemorrhoids – as a stool softener dry aloe extract, 0.05 to 0.2 g
  • Constipation – 20 to 30 mg 

What are the side effects of aloe vera?

  • Aloe gel is safe for external use unless it causes a rare allergic reaction.
  • If you are using aloe vera for the first time you can check the reaction on your skin, by applying a small amount of topical aloe on your forearm.
  • Keeping it there for at least 2 hours will give you an idea about allergic reactions.
  • Discontinue aloe if it irritates the skin. 
  • Aloe is not useful for the treatment of deep, vertical wounds (e.g. cesarean incision). 
  • Its latex use may cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhea.

What are the precautions to be taken with the use of aloe vera?

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should not consume aloe without a doctor’s consultation. 
  • It may cause uterine contractions and trigger miscarriage. 
  • Contraindicated for gastrointestinal illness, intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, and abdominal pain of unknown origin. 
  • May aggravate ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome
  • If taken over a long time, it can cause dependence or disturbance of electrolyte balance. 
  • May cause urine to turn a harmless red color. 
  • Should not be used for children under 12.

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