Aloe vera

aloe

Natural Histroy Museum (n.d.). Seeds of Trade. Retrieved from: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/seeds-of-trade/page.dsml?section=crops&ref=aloe

beauty-benefits-of-aloe-vera

Isslieb, A. (2014). Aloe Vera Juice. Retrieved from: http://simplyhealthjh.com/?page_id=225

Botanical Name: Aloe vera
Common name: Aloe
Family: Asphodeliaceae (Heinrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2012, p. 286)
Parts used: Leaf and its exudate gel (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 192)

Constituents

  • Polysaccharides including: Mannose-6- phosphate
  • Gluco-mannans: also referred to as “acemannan” and marketed as “Carrisyn”
  • Glycoproteins: including Alprogen, a glycoprotein with anti-allergic properties
  • C-glucoyl chromone: anti-inflammatory compound
  • Ligans
  • Saponins
  • Salicyclic acid
  • Sterols (including beta-sitosterol)
  • Triterpenoids
  • Anthraquinones

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 192)

Actions

  • Wound healing
  1. Glycoprotein fraction: found to increase proliferation of human keratinocytes and increase epidermal growth factor in vitro (Braun & Cohen, 2010, pp. 192-193)
  2. b-sitosterol: appears to improve wound healing by stimulating angiogenesis and neovascularisation in vivo. (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 193)
  3. Allantonin has shown to stimulate epithelialisation (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195)
  4. Acemannan has shown to stimulate machrophahe production of IL-1 And TNF associated with wound healing (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195).
  • Anti-oxidant

Two dihydroisocoumarines have been identified demonstrating ontioxidant properties (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 193)

  • Immunostimulant (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 193)

In one study 400-800mg of acemannan/day significantly increased circulating monocytes in patients with HIV (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 197).

  • Anti-inflammatory

Gel has shown to reduce oxidation of arachidonic acid, prostaglandin synthesis and inflammation. One study in vivo found aloe to reduced leukocyte adhesion in a burn injury, thus reducing inflammation (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 194)

  • Laxative

Anthraquinone constituent found in aloe latex is known to stimulate laxative activity however long term use of aloe latex has seen negative results and thus alternatives are preferred (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 194).

  • Anti-ulcer (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 194)
  • Hypoglycaemic

Glucomannans slow carbohydrate absorption and postprandial insulin response up to 50% (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195).

Antimicrobial (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195)

  • Anti viral

Anti viral activity is due to aloe’s potential to interfere with DNA synthesis (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195).

Polysaccharide fractions of aloe have shown to inhibit binding of benzopyrene in an animal study conducted on rat hepatocytes and preventing the formation of potential cancer-initiating benzopyrene-DNA adductions.

  • Potential anti-cancer activity (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 197)

 

Indications

Various skin conditions including burns, wounds, radiation burns, ulcers, frostbite. Psoriasis and genital herpes (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 195).

Gastro-intestinal conditionals such as: irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and some colonic bacterial activity (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 197).

 

Preparation & Dosage

Fresh plant gel prepared as a succus (internal use): 0.1-0.3g (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 175).

Gel: Gel is scraped and applied topically to afflicted area (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 175; Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 198).

 

Cautions

Used as a laxative aloe may induce “gripping” pains and is contradicted for indication as a laxative in children (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 198).

 

Contradictions

Known hypersensitivity (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 198).

As a strong laxative aloe latex is contraindicated in pregnancy (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 198).

Not to be administed orally during lactation (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 175).

 

Interactions

In one preliminary clinical trial, active constituent acemannan may enhance activity of the anti HIV medication AZT (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 197).

REFERENCE

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence based Guide (3rd ed.). Chatswood NSW: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., & Williamson, E. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

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