Synonyms: Aloe vera; Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract; extract of the flowers of the aloe, aloe barbadensis, liliaceae; aloe vera flower extract
Aloe vera is a natural product that is now a day frequently used in the field of cosmetology. Though there are various indications for its use, controlled trials are needed to determine its real efficacy.
Aloe vera; Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract; extract of the flowers of the aloe, aloe barbadensis, liliaceae; aloe vera flower extract; aloe barbadensis var. chinensis flower extract; aloe chinensis flower extract; barbados aloe flower extract; curacao aloe flower extract; medicinal aloe flower extract; true aloe flower extract; aloe perfoliata var. vera flower extract; aloe vera flower extract; aloe vera var. chinensis flower extract; aloe vulgaris flower extract; urguentine- cactus flower extract; chirukattali flower extract; extract of the flowers of the aloe, aloe barbadensis, liliaceae cas no:85507-69-3; aloe vera özü; aloe vera özütü; aloe vera ekstatı; aloe vera ekstrası; extrait d'aloe vera; extrait aloe vera ; экстракт алоэ вера; алоэ вера
ALOE VERA EXTRACT
Aloe vera is a natural product that is now a day frequently used in the field of cosmetology. Though there are various indications for its use, controlled trials are needed to determine its real efficacy. The aloe vera plant, its properties, mechanism of action and clinical uses are briefly reviewed here.
Aloe vera flower inset.png
Plant with flower detail inset
Species: A. vera
Aloe barbadensis Mill.
Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis Haw.
Aloe chinensis (Haw.) Baker
Aloe elongata Murray
Aloe flava Pers.
Aloe indica Royle
Aloe lanzae Tod.
Aloe maculata Forssk. (illegitimate)
Aloe perfoliata var. vera L.
Aloe rubescens DC.
Aloe variegata Forssk. (illegitimate)
Aloe vera Mill. (illegitimate)
Aloe vera var. chinensis (Haw.) A. Berger
Aloe vera var. lanzae Baker
Aloe vera var. littoralis J.Koenig ex Baker
Aloe vulgaris Lam.
Seeds Muséum de Toulouse (MHNT)
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe. An evergreen perennial, it originates from the Arabian Peninsula, but grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world. It is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses. The species is also used for decorative purposes and grows successfully indoors as a potted plant.
It is found in many consumer products including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics, ointments or in the form of gel for minor burns and sunburns. There is little clinical evidence for the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera extract as a cosmetic or medicine.
Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.
Aloe vera leaves contain phytochemicals under study for possible bioactivity, such as acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones, and other anthraquinones, such as emodin and various lectins.
Taxonomy and etymology
Spotted forms, also named Aloe vera var. chinensis
Historical image from Acta Eruditorum, 1688
The species has a number of synonyms: A. barbadensis Mill., Aloe indica Royle, Aloe perfoliata L. var. vera and A. vulgaris Lam. Common names include Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant. The species epithet vera means "true" or "genuine". Some literature identifies the white-spotted form of Aloe vera as Aloe vera var. chinensis; and it has been suggested that the spotted form of Aloe vera may be conspecific with A. massawana. The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 as Aloe perfoliata var. vera, and was described again in 1768 by Nicolaas Laurens Burman as Aloe vera in Flora Indica on 6 April and by Philip Miller as Aloe barbadensis some ten days after Burman in the Gardener's Dictionary.
Techniques based on DNA comparison suggest Aloe vera is relatively closely related to Aloe perryi, a species endemic to Yemen. Similar techniques, using chloroplast DNA sequence comparison and ISSR profiling have also suggested it is closely related to Aloe forbesii, Aloe inermis, Aloe scobinifolia, Aloe sinkatana, and Aloe striata. With the exception of the South African species A. striata, these Aloe species are native to Socotra (Yemen), Somalia, and Sudan. The lack of obvious natural populations of the species has led some authors to suggest Aloe vera may be of hybrid origin.
Aloe vera is considered to be native only to the south-east Arabian Peninsula in the Al-Hajar mountains in north-eastern Oman. However, it has been widely cultivated around the world, and has become naturalized in North Africa, as well as Sudan and neighboring countries, along with the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. It has also naturalized in the Algarve region of Portugal, and in wild areas across southern Spain, especially in the region of Murcia.
The species was introduced to China and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. It is widely naturalized elsewhere, occurring in arid, temperate, and tropical regions of temperate continents. The current distribution may be the result of cultivation.
As an ornamental plant
Aloe vera has been widely grown as an ornamental plant. The species is popular with modern gardeners as a putatively medicinal plant and for its interesting flowers, form, and succulence. This succulence enables the species to survive in areas of low natural rainfall, making it ideal for rockeries and other low water-use gardens. The species is hardy in zones 8–11, and is intolerant of heavy frost and snow. The species is relatively resistant to most insect pests, though spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and aphid species may cause a decline in plant health. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
In pots, the species requires well-drained, sandy potting soil and bright, sunny conditions. Aloe plants can burn under too much sun or shrivel when the pot does not drain water. The use of a good-quality commercial propagation mix or packaged "cacti and succulent mix" is recommended, as they allow good drainage. Terra cotta pots are preferable as they are porous. Potted plants should be allowed to completely dry before rewatering. When potted, aloes can become crowded with "pups" growing from the sides of the "mother plant". Plants that have become crowded should be divided and repotted to allow room for further growth and help prevent pest infestations. During winter, Aloe vera may become dormant, during which little moisture is required. In areas that receive frost or snow, the species is best kept indoors or in heated glasshouses.
There is large-scale agricultural production of Aloe vera in Australia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, India, Jamaica, Spain, where it grows even well inland, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, along with the USA to supply the cosmetics industry.
Two substances from Aloe vera – a clear gel and its yellow latex – are used to manufacture commercial products. Aloe gel typically is used to make topical medications for skin conditions, such as burns, wounds, frostbite, rashes, psoriasis, cold sores, or dry skin. Aloe latex is used individually or manufactured as a product with other ingredients to be ingested for relief of constipation.
There is conflicting evidence regarding whether Aloe vera is effective as a treatment for wounds or burns. There is some evidence that topical use of aloe products might relieve symptoms of certain skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, or rashes.
Aloe vera gel is used commercially as an ingredient in yogurts, beverages, and some desserts, but at certain high doses, its toxic properties could be severe when taken orally. Use of topical aloe vera in small amounts is likely to be safe.
Topical medication and potential side effects
Aloe vera may be prepared as a lotion, gel, soap or cosmetics product for use on skin as a topical medication. For people with allergies to Aloe vera, skin reactions may include contact dermatitis with mild redness and itching, difficulty with breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Aloin, a compound found in the semi-liquid latex of some Aloe species, was the common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative products in the United States until 2002 when the Food and Drug Administration banned it because manufacturers failed to provide the necessary safety data. Aloe vera has potential toxicity, with side effects occurring at some dose levels both when ingested and when applied topically. Although toxicity may be less when aloin is removed by processing, Aloe vera ingested in high amounts may induce side effects, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or hepatitis. Chronic ingestion of aloe (dose of 1 gram per day) may cause adverse effects, including hematuria, weight loss, and cardiac or kidney disorders.
Aloe vera juice is marketed to support the health of the digestive system, but there is neither scientific evidence nor regulatory approval to support this claim. The extracts and quantities typically used for such purposes appear to be dose-dependent for toxic effects.
Aloe vera is used in traditional medicine as a skin treatment. Early records of Aloe vera use appear in the Ebers Papyrus from the 16th century BC,:18 and in Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's Natural History – both written in the mid-first century AD.:20 It is also written of in the Juliana Anicia Codex of 512 AD.:9
Aloe vera is used on facial tissues where it is promoted as a moisturizer and anti-irritant to reduce chafing of the nose. Cosmetic companies commonly add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream, or shampoos. A review of academic literature notes that its inclusion in many hygiene products is due to its "moisturizing emollient effect".
Orally ingested non-decolorized aloe vera leaf extract was listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, along with goldenseal, among "chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity".
Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with significant side effects. Oral ingestion of aloe vera is potentially toxic, and may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea which in turn can decrease the absorption of drugs.
Interactions with prescribed drugs
Ingested aloe products may have adverse interactions with prescription drugs, such as those used to treat blood clots, diabetes, heart disease and potassium-lowering agents (such as Digoxin), and diuretics, among others
The Aloe vera plant has been known and used for centuries for its health, beauty, medicinal and skin care properties. The name Aloe vera derives from the Arabic word “Alloeh” meaning “shining bitter substance,” while “vera” in Latin means “true.” 2000 years ago, the Greek scientists regarded Aloe vera as the universal panacea. The Egyptians called Aloe “the plant of immortality.” Today, the Aloe vera plant has been used for various purposes in dermatology.
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes in several cultures for millennia: Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan and China.1 Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their regular beauty regimes. Alexander the Great, and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers’ wounds. The first reference to Aloe vera in English was a translation by John Goodyew in A.D. 1655 of Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica.2 By the early 1800s, Aloe vera was in use as a laxative in the United States, but in the mid-1930s, a turning point occurred when it was successfully used to treat chronic and severe radiation dermatitis.2
The botanical name of Aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis miller. It belongs to Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family, and is a shrubby or arborescent, perennial, xerophytic, succulent, pea- green color plant. It grows mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America. In India, it is found in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Aloe vera belongs to the family Liliaceae commonly known as Ghrit Kumari, is the ever known oldest and the most applied medicinal plant worldwide. Aloe Vera is used for vigor, wellness and medicinal purposes since rigvedic times. Health benefits of Aloe vera include its application in wound healing, treating burns, minimizing frost bite damage, protection against skin damage from x-rays, lung cancer, intestinal problems, increasing high density lipoprotein (HDL), reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL), reducing blood sugar in diabetics, fighting against acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS), allergies and improving immune system. Phytochemistry of Aloe vera gel has revealed the presence of more than 200 bioactive chemicals. Commercially, aloe can be found in pills, sprays, ointments, lotions, liquids, drinks, jellies, and creams, to name a few of the thousands of products available. In the present scenario, the aloe industry is blooming but the consumers are misguided leading to unfavorable outcome due to reasons like unawareness about its proper and adequate medicinal and health value, improper marketing and unavailability of processing units at farmer’s level, misleading hyped advertisement in cosmetic and health products. So, there is a burning need to educate about the importance of Aloe vera for human race and popularize it for greater interest.
Aloe vera is a species of Aloe that is particularly popular for its medicinal properties. The name Aloe vera derives from the Arabic word “Alloeh” meaning shining bitter substance, while Vera in Latin means true. 2000 years ago, the Greek scientists regarded Aloe vera as the universal panacea. The Egyptians called Aloe “the plant of immortality.” Today, the Aloe vera plant has been used for various purposes in dermatology 1.
There are over 550 species of aloe grown around the world. However, only two species are grown today commercially, with Aloe barbadensis Miller and Aloe aborescens Miller being the most popular.
Aloe can be found in Mexico, the Pacific Rim countries, India, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Australia and Africa 2. The leaves of the Aloe plant grow from the base in the rosette pattern. Mature plants can grow as tall as 2 and a half inches to 4 feet with the average being around 28 to 36 inches in length. Each plant usually has 12 - 16 leaves that, when mature, may weigh up to three pounds. Each leaf is composed of three layers: An inner clear gel that contains 99% water and rest is made of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and Vitamins.
The middle layer of latex which is the bitter yellow sap and contains anthraquinones and glycosides. The outer thick layer of 15 - 20 cells called as rind which has protective function and synthesizes carbohydrates and proteins 3, 4. The plants can be harvested every 6 to 8 weeks by removing 3 to 4 leaves per plant.
Taxonomical Position of Aloe vera:
Kingdom : Plantae
Order : Asparagales
Division : Spermatophyta
Subdivision : Angiospermae
Class : Monocotyledoneae
Family : Liliaceae
Genus : Aloe
Species : barbadesis Mill
Active Constitutes of Aloe vera: The Aloe vera leaf gel contains about 98% water 6. The total solid content of Aloe vera gel is 0.66% and soluble solids are 0.56% with some seasonal fluctuation. On dry matter basis aloe gel consists of polysaccharides (53%), sugars (17%), minerals (16%), proteins (7%), lipids (5%) and phenolic compounds (2%) (Fig. 2). Aloe vera contains 200 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids, which are responsible for the multifunctional activity of Aloe 7 - 9.
Vitamins: It contains Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains Vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxy-peptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans / polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. Recently, a glycoprotein with anti-allergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera.
Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, anti-bacterials and anti-virals.
Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
Aloe vera gel is widely known to relieve sunburn and help heal wounds. But did you know that your favorite potted plant can be used for much more than sunburn relief and household décor?
The succulent has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, dating back to ancient Egypt. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands. Today, aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to potentially slowing the spread of breast cancer, researchers are just beginning to unlock the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in heartburn. A 2010 review suggested that consuming 1 to 3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD. It may also ease other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.
Keeping produce fresh
A 2014 study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.
An alternative to mouthwash
In a 2014 studyTrusted Source published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.
A natural laxative
Aloe vera is considered a natural laxative. A handful of studies have looked into the benefits of the succulent to aid digestion. The results appear to be mixed.
A team of Nigerian scientists conducted a study on rats and found that gel made from typical aloe vera houseplants was able to relieve constipation. But another study by the National Institutes of Health looked at the consumption of aloe vera whole-leave extract. Those findings revealed tumor growth in the large intestines of laboratory rats.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that all over-the-counter aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or be reformulated.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that aloe vera can be used to relieve constipation, but sparingly. They advise that a dose of 0.04 to 0.17 grams of dried juice is sufficient.
If you have Crohn’s disease, colitis, or hemorrhoids you shouldn’t consume aloe vera. It can cause severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. You should stop taking aloe vera if you’re taking other medications. It may decrease your body’s ability to absorb the drugs.
What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a medicinal plant that’s been used to treat various health conditions for thousands of years. It’s usually safe to use also vera directly from the plant or you can buy it in gel form.
Aloe vera creams, gels, and ointments contain the clear gel found in aloe veraleaves. These products can be applied topically to treat various skin conditions. Aloe is sold in capsule or liquid form to take internally to promote health and well-being.
Read on to learn how to use aloe vera and the potential benefits and risks.
How to use fresh aloe gel
You can apply fresh aloe gel directly to your skin or follow a recipe to make a homemade beauty product. It can also be added to food, smoothies, and drinks.
To make aloe juice, use 1 cup of liquid for every 2 tablespoons of aloe gel. Include any other ingredients, like fruit, and use a blender or food processor to mix up your drink.
If you’re planning to consume the fresh slices of aloe gel, it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, but its best to consume it as quickly as possible. You can always store aloe vera gel in the freezer if you’re not ready to use it right away.
What is aloe vera juice?
The aloe vera plant is a succulent plant species from the genus Aloe. It grows abundantly in tropical climates and has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant.
Aloe vera juice is a gooey, thick liquid made from the flesh of the aloe vera plant leaf. It’s commonly known to treat sunburns. But drinking this healthy elixir in juice form provides you with a number of other health benefits.
Aloe vera juice is made by crushing or grinding the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant, followed by various steps to purify and filter the liquid. With a mild, tolerable flavor, the juice mixes easily into smoothies and shakes. This makes aloe vera juice a practical whole food supplement.
What are the health benefits of drinking aloe vera juice?
Here are eight reasons to drink pure, uncolored, low anthraquinone aloe vera juice.
The aloe plant is very water-dense, so it’s an ideal way to prevent or treat dehydration. Staying hydrated helps your body detox by providing a way for you to purge and flush out impurities. The juice also packs a hefty punch of nutrients that optimize your body’s organ output.
This is crucial, because your kidneys and liver are largely responsible for the task of detoxifying your blood and producing urine. For this reason, you need to keep them healthy.
Recovery from heavy exercise also requires rehydration through the intake of extra fluids. Your body requires more fluids in order to flush and rid itself of the lactic acid buildup from exercising. Try aloe vera juice instead of coconut water after your next hard workout.
2. Liver function
When it comes to detoxing, healthy liver function is key.
Aloe vera juice is an excellent way to keep your liver healthy. That’s because the liver functions best when the body is adequately nourished and hydrated. Aloe vera juice is ideal for the liver because it’s hydrating and rich in phytonutrients.
3. For constipation
Drinking aloe vera juice helps increase the water content in your intestines. Research has shown a relationship between increasing the intestinal water content and the stimulation of peristalsis, which helps you pass stool normally.
If you’re constipated or have problems with frequent constipation, try incorporating aloe vera juice into your daily routine. Aloe also helps normalize the healthy bacteria in your gut, keeping your healthy intestinal flora balanced.
4. For clear skin
Hydrating aloe vera juice may help reduce the frequency and appearance of acne. It may also help reduce skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis.
Aloe vera is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that may help protect your skin.
The important compounds in aloe vera have also been shown to neutralize the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, repair your skin from existing UV damage, and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Nutritious boost
Aloe vera juice is jam-packed with nutrients. Drinking it is an excellent way to make sure you don’t become deficient. It contains important vitamins and minerals like vitamins B, C, E, and folic acid.
It also contains small amounts of:
Aloe vera is one of the only plant sources of vitamin B-12, too. This is excellent news for vegetarians and vegans.
Keeping your food and drink intake nutrient-rich is key in combating most preventable diseases.
6. Heartburn relief
Drinking aloe vera juice may give you relief when heartburn attacks. The compounds present in aloe vera juice help control secretion of acid in your stomach. The effects have even been shown to combat gastric ulcers and keep them from getting larger.
7. Digestive benefits
Aloe vera contains several enzymes known to help in the breakdown of sugars and fats and to keep your digestion running smoothly.
If your digestive system isn’t operating optimally, you won’t absorb all of the nutrients from the food you’re eating. You have to keep your internal engine healthy in order to reap the benefits from your diet.
Aloe vera may help decrease irritation in the stomach and intestines. The juice may also help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory disorders of the intestines.
One 2013 study of 33 IBS patients found that aloe vera juice helped reduce the pain and discomfort of IBS. The studyTrusted Source was not placebo-controlled, so more research is needed.
Aloe vera was also beneficial to people suffering from ulcerative colitis in an earlier double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
8. Beauty hacks
Keeping aloe vera juice on hand can also be good for a number of beauty and health needs.
Try using it for the following:
makeup primer (apply before foundation)
treatment for irritated scalp (mix in a few drops of peppermint oil)
Common Names: aloe
Latin Names: Aloe vera, Aloe africana, Aloe arborescens, Aloe barbadensis
Aloe is a cactus-like plant that grows in hot, dry climates. It is cultivated in subtropical regions around the world, including the southern border areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Historically, aloe has been used for skin conditions and was thought to improve baldness and promote wound healing.
Aloe is used topically (applied to the skin) and orally. Topical use of aloe is promoted for acne, lichen planus (a very itchy rash on the skin or in the mouth), oral submucous fibrosis, burning mouth syndrome, burns, and radiation-induced skin toxicity. Oral use of aloe is promoted for weight loss, diabetes, hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (a group of conditions caused by gut inflammation that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a ruling that required manufacturers to remove aloe from over-the-counter laxative products because of a lack of safety data.
How Much Do We Know?
A number of studies have investigated the usefulness of aloe as a dietary supplement or a topical product for health purposes in people.
What Have We Learned?
Clinical research suggests that topical application of an aloe-based gel twice daily (along with medical soap and tretinoin gel) may improve acne.
Clinical research suggests topical application of aloe gel may speed burn healing. There also is evidence that treatment with aloe vera may reduce pain from burns.
Research suggests topical use of aloe also may help people with herpes simplex, lichen planus, or psoriasis.
Three trials (with a total of 236 adult participants) have evaluated the use of oral doses of aloe vera for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Results from one trial showed a benefit; the other two trials showed no benefit of aloe vera over placebo.
In a small European study, 44 adults with ulcerative colitis were randomly assigned to receive aloe vera gel or a placebo twice daily for a month. Almost half of the people treated with aloe vera responded to the treatment whereas 14 percent of those treated with placebo responded.
Aloe vera has been studied in clinical (human) trials for diabetic foot ulcers and dental plaque, but there’s not enough scientific evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for these conditions. A 2009 review article examined data from a mix of laboratory, animal, and clinical trials and concluded that more research is necessary to explore aloe’s clinical effectiveness for a number of different skin conditions.
What Do We Know About Safety?
Topical use of aloe gel is generally well tolerated. However, there have been occasional reports of burning, itching, and eczema with topical use of aloe gel. Oral use of aloe latex can cause abdominal pain and cramps. Oral consumption of aloe leaf extracts (for as little as 3 weeks and as long as 5 years) has been related to cases of acute hepatitis.
Animal studies have noted an association between aloe vera leaf extract taken orally and gastrointestinal cancer in rats and mice; however, concerns were expressed about the differences in the product used in that study and those commonly used by consumers. Thus, more research is needed to assess the relevance to human health.
Overuse of aloe latex may increase the risk of adverse effects from the drug digoxin, used for some heart problems.
Aloe—both in gel and latex form—when taken by mouth may be unsafe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Keep in Mind
Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.