Aloe vera

and why it's great

Aloe vera, Liliaceae

Also know as The Burn Plant


Aloe vera Use

Aloe vera is used mainly for its gel inside of its leaves. Its main secondary chemicals are anthraquinone glycosides, referred to as aloin. Chrysophanic acid, another chemical, has the greatest topical healing effect of the plant’s compounds. Medicinally, it has been used as an anti-inflammatory, to heal skin and reduce scar tissue (not with major surgery) by stimulating cell growth and inhibiting bacterial and fungal infections. It can help against skin irritation and burning sensations. When consumed orally, the anthraquinones irritate the gastrointestinal tract, which act as a powerful laxative. It also contains curative properties for mouth ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, ring worm, athlete’s foot and poison ivy rashes. It has been widely used in cosmetics, such as skin creams, shampoos, sunscreen lotions and bath oils as a moisturizer.


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Origin and History

Aloe vera is originally from Africa and was first used in Africa and the Mediterranean. It has been cultivated since the 4th century BCE as it attracted the attention of Alexander the Great. His armies conquered the island of Socotra just to obtain and control a steady supply. Eventually it came to the Western Hemisphere and became quite popular with various indigenous groups. Today, there are large domestic Aloe plantations in Texas and Florida. It’s grown internationally in temperate climates, such as Central America, South America, China, India, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and Asia. There’s even a how to guide if you’d like to grow it yourself: http://www.iasc.org/pdfs/IASC_Aloe_vera_A_Scientific_Primer.pdf. It is used all over the world!

Cultivation and Processing

What the Evidence Says

A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in July of 2013 examined the effects of aloe vera on gingivitis. Group 1 (15 test subjects) who used 10ml of aloe vera mouth wash twice a day for 3 months went from a mean of 1.89 (SD 0.24) to 0.95 (SD 0.11) p. value <0.001. Group 3 (15 test subjects) received aloe vera and scaling. Their results went from 1.93 (SD 0.28) to 0.66 (SD 0.21) p. value <0.001. They also tracked their results on the Sulcus bleeding index. Group 1 went from 2.29 (SD 0.24) to 1.50 (SD 0.11) p. value <0.001. Group 3 went from 2.33 (SD 0.27) to 1.40 (SD 0.14) p. value <0.001


A study from the Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine set out to evaluate the efficacy of newly customized natural oral mucoadhesive gels. Ninety subjects were recruited from Oral Medicine Clinic, at Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, for this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Two new natural gels, containing aloe vera and myrrh, were prepared in a concentration, in addition to a plain mucoadhesive gel used as a placebo. Patients with fresh ulcers (within the last 48 hours) were instructed to apply either one of the three gels four times a day for a period of 5 days. Clinical efficacy was investigated in the form of changes in ulcer size, pain intensity, erythema, and exudation at days 4 and 6 of study entry. Participants were interviewed for the emergence of any side effects. 76.6% of patients using aloe gel showed complete ulcer healing, 86.7%, and 80% of them revealed subsidence of erythema and exudation, respectively, especially at day 6 visit, whereas 76.7% of myrrh-treated patients revealed almost absence of pain at day 6. No side effects were encountered with the use of any of the three gels.


References

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid=5286978 (photo #1)

Elabdellaoui, F. Aloe vera Health Benefits. http://aloevera-health-benefits.blogspot.com/ (photo #2)

Purple Plant. 21 June 2013. http://purpleplantblends.com/the-power-of-aloe-vera/ (photo #3)

Free Stock Photographs. http://free-images-etc.rb-d.com/?p=1941 (photo #4)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid=5284370 (photo #5)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid=5286982 (photo #6)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid= 5284374 (photo #7)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid= 5284403 (photo #8)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid=5284375 (photo #9)

Index Web About Aloe in Colombia. 9 May 2008. http://www.freewebs.com/anaprosar/apps/photos/photo?photoid=5284405 (photo #10)

Ajmera, N., Chatterjee, A., and Goyal, V. (2013 July-August). Aloe vera: It’s effect on gingivitis. 17(4): 435-438 Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology

Mansour, G., Ouda, S., Shaker, A. (2013 Oct 25.) Clinical efficacy of new aloe vera- and myrrh-based oral mucoadhesive gels in the management of minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled study. Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine.

Levetin, E. and McMahon, K. 2012. Plants and Society, 6th ed. McGraw Hill Publ., pp. 333-334