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Aloe Vera has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. It’s mentioned in the bible, by King Solomon, in the Ebers Papyrus, by Hippocrates, Socrates, in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and more. It is one of the oldest recorded medicines used by mankind, with its medicinal use first documented over 6000 years ago. Just as its famed healing abilities have been documented in a huge variety of countries across the globe, it also has a huge variety of uses. We separate these into internal and external uses.
We all know that aloe works wonders on a sunburn, but that’s just one of dozens of health benefits. Aloe vera contains over 200 biologically active constituents including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. Because of its rich mineral profile, it strengthens the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It contains vitamin A, C, and E which are antioxidants. Because of its rich nutritional profile, it boosts the immune system and aids the body in fighting infections, viruses, and inflammation.
It also contains vitamin B-12, which a large portion of the population is deficient in. Doctors recommend upping your B-12 intake by consuming more dairy and animal products, which are highly inflammatory, so it is much better to consume aloe to up your B-12. Aloe vera contains the minerals calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc, which are essential to the functioning of the body. It provides 20 of the 22 required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
Aloe is rich in salicylic acid which possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is an antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial. Because of these properties, aloe can be used to treat superficial acne, rashes, burns, skin irritation, frostbite, cold sores, eczema, psoriasis and dry skin. Studies have shown that the gel of the aloe prevents and repairs UV damage. It contains 4 natural steroids, which explains it’s use in Hawaii instead of cortisone cream. Aloe dramatically increases collagen and hyaluronic acid which speeds up wound healing and minimizes scarring. A study conducted in 2016 found that treatment of oral herpes with aloe vera significantly reduced symptoms.
In a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of Aloe vera or placebo cream in 60 patients with chronic psoriasis, the cure rate in the Aloe vera group was 83% (with no relapses at 12 months of follow-up) compared to only 7% in the placebo group. A study done in 2018 found that a topical mixture of aloe, propolis, and tea tree oil was far more effective than erythromycin, a topical antibiotic in the treatment of acne vulgaris. These dramatic figures show how powerful natural remedies can be in treating chronic conditions
One of aloe vera’s active ingredients is called aloin. Aloin the slightly yellow sap/latex that separates the green outer rind from the clear internal gel. Aloin is a powe4rful natural laxative and cleanses the digestive system. It’s a great treatment for constipation, and the user should notice almost immediate results. If you want to gain the other health benefits of aloe vera but with minimally laxative effects, cut off the base of the leaf, as this is where the highest concentration of aloin is. Aloin has been proven to inhibit the growth of colorectal and liver cancer cells. In a study done this year, it was found that aloin (used in conjunction with metformin) can alter the structure of the DNA in cancer cells, and trigger them to destroy themselves, while leaving healthy cells intact. This major medical breakthrough should change the way the medical profession treat cancer.
Interestingly, in 2002, the FDA banned products containing aloin because it is ‘too bitter’ and has laxative effects. For this reason, you will not get the desired health benefits of aloe from aloe product from or bought in the USA. This unfortunate law didn’t affect Europe, but in April 2020 the European Union set to ban the use of aloe extracts in food Products and herbal Supplements. We hope this law does not get passed, but for the time being, you can still buy aloe capsules with all the active compounds in our store.
Another powerful active ingredient in aloe, is anthraquinone. Anthraquinone is a potent aromatic compound that offers a broad range of therapeutic benefits such as inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, reducing inflammation, reliving constipation, easing bowl movements and more. Anthraquinones have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, insecticidal and antioxidant properties which makes it a great treatment for a huge range of disorders. In studies, researchers have found that anthraquinone induces cellular death in breast cancer and mercury induced kidney cancer. Anthraquinone is an anti-inflammatory and has been found a particularly effective treatment for arthritis. It has also been found to minimalize fat accumulation, which in turns protects the arteries from atherosclerosis, improving blood circulation and pressure.
Aloe is a highly adaptable plant with a broad range of medicinal uses. It is a robust plant which can tolerate many different climates. It is effective in treating digestive disorders, and supports a healthy gut microbiome while cleanses the digestive system. It has anticancer effects and can induce cell death in cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. It has powerful antiviral properties, especially in treating oral herpes. The topical uses of aloe vera are the most famous, and it is an effective treatment for acne, psoriasis, burns, wound healing, and minimizing scarring. On top of all of these benefits, the aloe vera plant acts as an air purifier, eradicating formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which are common but highly toxic by-products of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Air quality can be over 5x worse indoors, so we highly recommend having an aloe plant inside your home!
We stock a variety of aloe vera products in our online store and shop in Brixton.
Mazzarello, V., Donadu, M. G., Ferrari, M., Piga, G., Usai, D., Zanetti, S., & Sotgiu, M. A. (2018). Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and Aloe vera compared to erythromycin cream: two double-blind investigations. Clinical pharmacology : advances and applications, 10, 175–181. https://doi.org/10.2147/CPAA.S180474
Teplicki, E., Ma, Q., Castillo, D. E., Zarei, M., Hustad, A. P., Chen, J., & Li, J. (2018). The Effects of Aloe vera on Wound Healing in Cell Proliferation, Migration, and Viability. Wounds : a compendium of clinical research and practice, 30(9), 263–268.
Syed, T. A., Ahmad, S. A., Holt, A. H., Ahmad, S. A., Ahmad, S. H., & Afzal, M. (1996). Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH, 1(4), 505–509. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3156.1996.d01-91.x
Pan, Q., Pan, H., Lou, H., Xu, Y., & Tian, L. (2013). Inhibition of the angiogenesis and growth of Aloin in human colorectal cancer in vitro and in vivo. Cancer cell international, 13(1), 69. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2867-13-69
Sun, R., Zhai, R., Ma, C., & Miao, W. (2020). Combination of aloin and metformin enhances the antitumor effect by inhibiting the growth and invasion and inducing apoptosis and autophagy in hepatocellular carcinoma through PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. Cancer medicine, 9(3), 1141–1151. https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2723
J W Lown. (1993) Anthracycline and anthraquinone anticancer agents: current status and recent developments. , Pharmacology & therapeutics 60(2), 185-214.
Moriyama, M., Moriyama, H., Uda, J., Kubo, H., Nakajima, Y., Goto, A., Akaki, J., Yoshida, I., Matsuoka, N., & Hayakawa, T. (2016). Beneficial Effects of the Genus Aloe on Wound Healing, Cell Proliferation, and Differentiation of Epidermal Keratinocytes. PloS one, 11(10), e0164799. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164799
Rezazadeh, F., Moshaverinia, M., Motamedifar, M., & Alyaseri, M. (2016). Assessment of Anti HSV-1 Activity of Aloe Vera Gel Extract: an In Vitro Study. Journal of dentistry (Shiraz, Iran), 17(1), 49–54.