According to Handy, the chemical constituents of aloe vera include amino acids, vitamins, anthraquinones, salicylic acid, enzymes, minerals, sugars, saponins, hormones, steroids, and more. As a result, it offers many medicinal and therapeutic uses. Here are a few therapeutic uses of aloe vera:
- Anti-inflammatory action – The efficacy of aloe vera gel as an anti-inflammatory compound has been proven by various in vitro and in vivo studies. Aloe vera contains a peptide called bradykinese which helps to combat the inflammatory compound called bradykinin and reduce pain. It also contains sterols such as lupeol, campesterol, cholesterol, and β-sitosterol that act as natural analgesics, decrease inflammation, and reduce pain.
- Antitumor activity – Aloe vera contains many glycoproteins that have been found to offer antiulcer and antitumor effects and improve the proliferation of normal human dermal cells. In rats, the presence of a polysaccharide fraction has been shown to inhibit the binding of benzopyrene to primary hepatocytes. Thus, it has the potential to prevent the formation of potentially cancer-initiating benzopyrene-DNA adducts
- Wound healing – Aloe vera contains mannose-6-phosphate that has been found to aid in wound healing, especially in healing first and second-degree burns. It also improves wound healing by influencing collagen composition and increasing collagen cross-linking for improving breaking strength and wound contractions. Plus, the oral and topical administration of aloe vera has been shown to stimulate the receptors of fibroblasts and increase collagen synthesis.
- Anti-aging and moisturizing agent – Aloe vera contains many amino acids such as zinc and mucopolysaccharides that help to bind moisture into the skin, act as astringent to tighten pores and soften hardened skin cells. Aloe vera gel acts as a great moisturizer that also provides cooling effects. Plus, aloe vera gel gloves have been proven to decrease erythema, improve skin integrity, and reduce acne wrinkle.
- Laxative effects – Aloe latex acts as a potent laxative and helps to increase intestinal water content, intestinal peristalsis, and stimulate mucus secretion due to the presence of aloin A, aloin B, and 1, 8-dihydroxy anthracene glycosides. Aloin A and aloin B cannot be absorbed by the upper intestine when administered orally but are hydrolyzed by intestinal bacteria in the colon. When they are reduced to their active metabolites (aloe-emodin9-anthrone), they act as an irritant and a stimulant to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Effects on the immune system – Aloe gel has been observed to jump-start the immune system of a weak body. It contains alprogen that inhibits the influx of calcium into mast cells which inhibits the antigen-antibody-mediated release of histamine and leukotriene from mast cells. Aloe vera juice has been shown to provide relief and repair damage caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy including the healing of healthy immune cells.
Handy believes that you should try using products such as aloe vera gels or aloe vera extracts and see how it works for you at least once. Aside from the therapeutic uses, aloe vera has been deemed useful for its cosmetic and skin protection applications, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity, and anticancer properties.