Aloe Vera: Cultivation, Benefits and Medical Uses

Edited by Irfan Khan, Sharingknowledge, Jen Moreau, SarMal

Aloe Vera plant is a species of the genus Aloe. It is normally stemless or has a very short stem, and usually only 60 to 100 cm tall. The leaves of Aloe Vera are fleshy, thick and green in color. The outer margin of the leaves also has small white teeth. Aloe Vera leaves are succulent and erect. Gel obtained from its leaves is used for multiple purposes in many products including skin lotions, cosmetics, ointments, food supplements, herbal remedies and for medicinal purposes. When grown for ornamental purposed, the Aloe Vera plant is used for indoor decoration.

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Aloe Vera plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands and grows in wild tropical areas. The succulent nature of its leaves allows the plant to survive in areas which have low natural rainfall. It can be grown easily in rocky areas or other gardens where water usage is comparatively low.

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Aloe Vera: Health Benefits and Medical Uses

Ancient Egyptians and the Ancient Chinese favored Aloe vera for its medicinal properties. There is proof that Aloe Vera was used by these ancient civilizations to treat minor cuts and burns and reduce fevers, while Cleopatra used Aloe Vera in her beauty regime. Aloe Vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally occurring constituents including polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that promote nutrient absorption, digestive health, a healthy immune system, and a reduction of nitrates[1]. In recent years, scientific studies have studied the therapeutic and medicinal properties of Aloe Vera. The list below outlines popular health and medicinal benefits of Aloe Vera.

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  1. 1
    Teeth and gums
    A study published in General Dentistry reported that the addition of Aloe Vera as toothpaste is as effective as conventional toothpaste in fighting against cavities. The germ-fighting capability of an Aloe Vera tooth gel was weighed against the same capability of two popular kinds of toothpaste. Researchers found that the ability of Aloe Vera tooth gel for fighting against oral bacteria which causes cavities is even better in some cases than the commercial kinds of toothpaste available in the market. Researchers explained that the anthraquinones compounds which are present in Aloe Vera gel play an active role in healing and reducing the pain through its anti-inflammatory properties. However, researchers also warned that Aloe Vera gel must be extracted from the center of the plant as that part of the plant contains the stabilized gel. .
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  2. 2
    Commission E (German Agency for Regulating Herbs) has approved the use of Aloe Vera for the treatment of constipation. Regular dosages of 50 200 mg of Aloe Latex can be taken in liquid form or in a capsule to treat constipation.
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  3. 3
    Antioxidant and possible antimicrobial properties
    A study carried out at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was published in the journal Molecules. A team was formed with the purpose of finding out the beneficial effects of methanol extracted from the leaves and flowers of Aloe Vera plant. Scientists studied the antioxidant and anti mycoplasmic properties of extracts from Aloe Vera leaves and flowers and discovered that the amazing anti mycoplasmic substances present in Aloe Vera extract destroy Mycoplasma. Mycoplasma is a bacteria which lacks a cell wall and is unaffected by various common antibiotics.The team then reported that extracts from Aloe Vera leaves and flowers contain antioxidant properties.
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  4. 4
    Protection from skin damage after radiation therapy
    In a study carried out at the Italian University of Naples, five different creams were tested to see the effectiveness protecting from radiation therapy in protecting the skin of patients suffering from breast cancer. Only one of these five tested creams contained Aloe Vera. A sample of 100 people was gathered, which were then divided into five groups with 20 people in each group. Each group was directed to apply the cream twice a day, starting 15 days before the radiation therapy and continued to apply it for 1 month after the therapy. During the 6 week period, skin assessments of all the patients were scheduled weekly. Scientists reported that all the moisturizing creams employed in this case study, including Aloe Vera cream performed equally well in the treatment of skin damage in the women caused by radiation therapy..
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  5. 5
    Aloe Vera for Hair Loss
    Proteolytic enzymes are used for repairing the dead skin cells of the human scalp. Studies have shown that Aloe Vera gel contains these enzymes, and is beneficial to promote hair growth. Application of Aloe Vera gel on a human scalp further reduces itching on the scalp, treats dandruff and leaves hair smooth and shiny. It is a common knowledge that Keratin is the primary protein of hair. It is composed of amino acids, Oxygen, Carbon, and small amounts of Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Sulphur. The composition of Aloe Vera is much similar to that of keratin and prevents the breakage of hair.
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Categories : Medicine

Recent edits by: Jen Moreau, Sharingknowledge, Irfan Khan

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