TOTAL HEALTH – Aloe vera Series 10, Article 4
Welcome to the environmental health section of www.builtmag.com. Throughout our environmental series of articles we will address and learn to minimize exposure to hazardous biologicals in our everyday environment, and learn about healthy and therapeutic compounds and foods.
Aloe vera is a member of the Liliaceae (Lily Family). It is believed to have originated in Northern Africa and has been widely used in herbal medicines as well as a variety of food preparations. Products containing Aloe vera is available everywhere these days. Aloe vera plants were used medicinally for centuries as most herbal medicinal plants were. Among the topical uses include dermatologic conditions, burn injuries and surgical wound healing. Oral applications are also several, including treatment for hemorrhoids, Alzheimers disease, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, ulcers, gastrointestinal inflammation, constipation and varicose veins.
TOPICAL USES OF Aloe vera
Aloe vera was used for many topical uses including radiation burns, cuts and scrapes, sunburn numerous other dermatitis issues. The scientific literature to support these uses is generally inconclusive.
TEETH AND GUMS
A study published in General Dentistry reported that using Aloe vera in tooth gels were just as effective and sometimes more effective at controlling oral bacteria than toothpastes.
CONSUMING Aloe vera
The laxative effect of Aloe vera is well established in the literature. Some evidence suggests that Aloe vera is able to treat Diabetes Mellitus. Evidence of treating metastatic cancer also exists. Some evidence is also reported for treatment of ulcerative colitis.
A study conducted at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, wrote a study in the Journal Molecules. The authors conclusions indicated that Aloe vera extract from leaf skin and flowers can be a good natural antioxidant source.
Aloe vera may be useful in lowering high risk cholesterol and other risk factors associated with heart disease. When 60 patients received a daily dose of extract for 12 weeks, it was found that total serum cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins were reduced (Can et al, 2004).
Scientists at Kyung Hee University Global Campus, South Korea published an article in Phytotherapy Research which concluded “Our results suggest that baby aloe extract may potentially protect the skin from UVB induced damage more than adult shoot extract.
DEPRESSION, LEARNING MEMORY
A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that Aloe vera reduces depression and improves memory in mice.
Allergic reactions can occur in humans that have a known allergy to plants of the liliaceae family like onions, garlic and tulips. There maybe be adverse reaction is used during pregnancy. Prolonged use can cause issues related to laxatives including electrolyte imbalance. Also interactions with corticosteroids and some diuretics may alter electrolyte balance.
Based on the literature reviewed, it appears that Aloe vera , in it’s many forms and uses, can be a positive influence on total body health and as a topical treatment.
As with many evaluations of biophysiology of biologicals, the shear amount of variables and parameters in humans as well as the chemical make up of what you are ingesting is almost always complex. Always consult with your physicians when evaluating consumption of foods and biologicals.
Sven Pavlovics, Environmental Scientist