Aloe vera

Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a herb which is used in Ayurveda for its healing benefits. It is a cactus-like succulent plant and the leaves contain the clear healing gel. There are many species of Aloe vera but the most effective one is Aloe barbadensis.
Aloe vera gel has good laxative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties and helps in the management of constipation, diabetes and high cholesterol. Aloe vera juice is also useful for weight loss.
External application of Aloe vera gel helps in managing various skin problems like acne and psoriasis. Aloe vera is also good for hair problems like dandruff and hair loss.
In some cases, Aloe vera might cause stomach pain, diarrhea and skin irritation[1].

What are the synonyms of Aloe vera?

Aloe barbadensis Mill., Ghritkumari, Gheekumari, Kathalai, Khorpad, Gheekwar, Alwah Haqeeqiyyah

What is the source of Aloe vera?

Plant Based

Benefits of Aloe vera

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Constipation?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera can control constipation because of its laxative property.
Aloe vera acts as a natural laxative because of the presence of anthraquinones. Anthraquinones speed up the bowel movement and help in the easy excretion of stool[1][2].
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
2. Add the same quantity of water to it.
3. Drink it in on an empty stomach in the morning once a day.
4. You can also take 1 Aloe vera capsule two hours after taking food twice a day
5. Continue this for 2-3 months for better results[1][7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Constipation is caused due to an aggravated Vata Dosha. This can be due to the frequent consumption of junk food, excess intake of coffee or tea, sleeping late at night, high-stress level and depression. All these factors aggravate Vata in the large intestine and cause constipation. Aloe vera helps manage constipation due to its Vata balancing and Bhedana (elimination of feces by breaking hard stools) properties. It helps eliminate hard stools smoothly and manage constipation.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Obesity?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera is good for weight loss by improving body metabolism. Although not enough studies are there, animal studies state that phytosterols present in Aloe vera reduce body weight[12][21].
Tip:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
2. Add the same quantity of water to it.
3. Drink it in on an empty stomach in the morning once a day.
4. Continue this for 2-3 months for better results.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
An excess Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the body causes an increase in weight. Aloe vera can help manage weight by reducing Ama due to its property of Deepan (increase in the digestive fire).

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Diabetes?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might help manage diabetes by improving blood glucose as well as insulin levels. This is due to the presence of phytochemicals such as lectins, mannans in Aloe vera. Some studies also suggest that Aloe vera might prevent cell damage such as ulcers, wounds, kidney damage associated with diabetes due to its antioxidant property[9][18][19][22].


ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes, also known as Madhumeha is due to an aggravation of Vata and impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Aloe vera helps remove Ama and controls aggravated Vata due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. This thus helps control high blood sugar level.
Tip:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
2. Add the same quantity of water to it.
3. Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning.
4. Continue this for 2-3 months for better results.
5. Consult the doctor if you are on anti-diabetes drugs.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for High cholesterol?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might lower the level of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and prevent artery blockage.
This is due to the presence of phytosterols, glucomannan, fructose and glucose that helps in maintaining cholesterol levels[10][11]. Aloe vera gel may help in lowering serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and serum phospholipids. It also prevents blockage in the arteries[20].

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
High cholesterol is due to an imbalance of Pachak Agni (digestive fire). Impaired digestion at the tissue level produces excess waste products or Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This causes an accumulation of bad cholesterol and blockage in the blood vessels. Aloe vera helps in controlling high cholesterol because of its Ama reducing property. It also helps to remove blockage from the blood vessels by eliminating toxins.
Tip:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
2. Add the same quantity of water to it.
3. Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning.
4. Continue this for 2-3 months for better results.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for HIV infection?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might help people with HIV by improving their immunity. Although there are no studies on human, animal studies suggest that Aloe vera might improve the immune system in HIV infected individuals by increasing the number of white blood cells[6].

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Cancer?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might be used as a complementary therapy in cancer treatment. Some studies suggest that Aloe vera gel might improve the immunity of cancer patients by increasing the number of white blood cells. It can also help minimize the side effects of chemotherapy[1].

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Depression?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might help in alleviating depression. This is due to the presence of certain biochemical compounds such as flavonoids and amino acids[23].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. In Ayurveda, Vata is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system and an aggravated Vata can be one of the causes of depression. Aloe vera has Vata balancing property and helps to control depression.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Inflammatory bowel disease?

scientific
Scientific View
Not enough scientific evidence is available to support the role of Aloe vera in case of inflammatory bowel disease.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Ama is one of the causes for inflammatory bowel disease and Aloe vera might be good for IBD as it helps reduce Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. But it is advisable to use Aloe vera with caution because of its Rechana (laxative) effect.

How effective is Aloe vera?

Likely effective
Constipation, Obesity
Likely ineffective
HIV infection
Insufficient evidence
Cancer, Depression, Diabetes, High cholesterol, Inflammatory bowel disease

Precautions when using Aloe vera

Advice from Experts
Important
scientific
Scientific View
1. Prolong use of Aloe vera for laxative effects may induce diarrhea and cramping[24].
2. Aloe vera might prolong the bleeding time. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding[3].
3. Avoid the intake of Aloe vera gel with Castor oil as it may cause diarrhea and dehydration[3].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
1. Avoid Aloe vera during diarrhea because it can worsen the condition. This is due to its Rechana (laxative) property.
2. Take Aloe vera with caution during irritable bowel disease because of its Rechana (laxative) property.
Allergy
scientific
Scientific View
People who are allergic to garlic, onions or other plants of the family Liliaceae may also be allergic to Aloe vera. In such cases, consult a doctor before using Aloe vera[24].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid Aloe vera if you are breastfeeding as it is found to be unsafe[3].
Patients with diabetes
scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera may lower the blood glucose levels. So it is generally advised to monitor the sugar levels regularly while taking Aloe vera along with other anti-diabetic drugs[3].
Patients with kidney disease
Important
scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might cause low potassium levels and electrolyte imbalance. So it is generally advised to monitor the potassium levels while taking Aloe vera[3].
Pregnancy
Important
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid Aloe vera during pregnancy as it may cause a miscarriage by increasing uterine contractions[1][3].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Scientific View
1. Stomach pain
2. Stomach cramps
3. Diarrhea
4. Blood in the urine
5. Low potassium levels in the blood
6. Muscle weakness[3]

Recommended Dosage of Aloe vera

  • Aloe vera Capsule - 1 capsule twice a day or as directed by the doctor.
  • Aloe vera Juice - 2-3 teaspoons in a day or as directed by the doctor.
  • Aloe vera Leaf extract - 1-2 pinch in a day or as directed by the doctor.
  • Aloe vera Pulp - 1/4-1/2 teaspoon a day or as directed by the doctor.

How to use Aloe vera

1. Aloe vera juice
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
b. Mix it with an equal quantity of water and drink immediately.
c. For better results, drink it preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.

2. Aloe vera capsule
a. Take 1 capsule of Aloe vera after meals.
b. Follow this twice a day.

3. Aloe vera pulp
a. Remove the pulp from the inner side of fresh Aloe vera leaves.
b. Take about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon and add it to your favorite smoothie or fruit juice.
c. Blend well and drink it immediately preferably in your breakfast[16].

Benefits of Aloe vera

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Acne?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory property which is effective in controlling acne and reducing the redness caused by it. The enzymes present in Aloe vera forms an antibacterial coating on the skin to protect it against acne-causing bacteria. Aloe vera also has hydrating properties and helps in moisturizing the skin.
Tips:
1. Take 1 teaspoon of Aloe vera gel.
2. Mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder to make a paste.
3. Apply it all over the face.
4. Leave it for 30 minutes to let it dry.
5. Wash it off with normal plain water and pat dry.
6. Repeat this thrice a week for at least three months for better results.
7. In the case of dry skin, apply Aloe vera gel mixed with honey[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
A Kapha-Pitta dosha skin type can be prone to acne and pimples. According to Ayurveda, an aggravation of Kapha increases sebum production which clogs the pores. This results in the formation of both white and blackheads. An aggravation of Pitta also causes red papules (bumps) and inflammation with pus. Aloe vera balances especially aggravated Pitta and reduces inflammation because of its Ropan (healing) and Sita (cold) properties. Thus Aloe vera helps control acne.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Dandruff?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might be good for dandruff and reduce hair fall.
Studies suggest that Aloe vera can control dandruff and protect the scalp against diseases. This is due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties[6][27].

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, dandruff is a condition marked by flakes of dry skin on the scalp. This is due to an aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. Aloe vera helps in balancing Vata and Pitta dosha and controls dandruff.
Tip:
1. Take 4-5 teaspoons of Aloe vera juice.
2. Mix it with 1 teaspoon of Lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of Olive oil.
3. Massage your scalp and keep it for 30-35 minutes.
4. Use any mild shampoo to wash your hair.
5. Repeat this thrice a week for better results.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Psoriasis?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might be useful for managing the symptoms of psoriasis due to its soothing and healing properties. Regular application of Aloe vera might help in reducing skin rash and dryness associated with psoriasis[6].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation and buildup of dead cells on the skin which makes the skin dry and scaly. Aloe vera helps reduce inflammation and promotes healing due to its Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties. It also reduces dryness and roughness of the skin because of its Snigdha (oily) and Picchila (sticky) property.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Burns?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera helps in healing minor burns due to its soothing properties.
Some studies show that Aloe vera, when applied to the affected area can heal burns and reduce the pain associated with it due to its anti-inflammatory property. Aloe vera also has antibacterial property which prevents infection at the site of burn[6].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Aloe vera reduces burning sensation and gives relief in burn due to its Ropan (healing) property and Sita (cold) nature.
Tip:
Take Aloe vera gel in the required amount and apply to the affected area to reduce the burning sensation.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Skin regeneration?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might help in skin regeneration in case of minor wound due to its healing properties. Studies suggest that the presence of polysaccharides and growth hormones in Aloe vera increases collagen (helps in growth of tissue at the site of the wound) synthesis and accelerates the process of wound healing.
Another study said that Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which reduces pain and the risk of infections at the site of wound[1][6].
Tip:
Use the gel from inside the leaf of Aloe vera or directly apply Aloe vera ointment.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Aloe vera helps in skin regeneration due to its Ropan (healing) property. This is attributed to its Guru (heaviness), Snigdha (oily) and Sita (cold) properties.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Mouth infection?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might reduce the risk of infections in the mouth. This is due to its antibacterial property. Aloe vera might also prevent gum disease and maintain good oral health due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties[8][13].
Tip:
1. Use Aloe vera based toothpaste or mouthwash twice a day for healthier gums and to keep mouth infections at bay.
2. Always consult a dentist before using Aloe vera in the gums.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Aloe vera might be good for preventing mouth infections and bleeding gums due to its Ropan (healing) property. You can use Aloe vera gel directly over the gums to stop bleeding immediately and prevent any kind of mouth infection.

What are the benefits of Aloe vera for Genital herpes infection?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera might be helpful for genital herpes in men due to its antiviral property. Aloe vera contains anthraquinone which inactivates the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and inhibits its growth without any significant side effects[26].

How effective is Aloe vera?

Likely effective
Acne, Burns, Genital herpes infection, Psoriasis
Insufficient evidence
Dandruff, Mouth infection, Skin regeneration

Precautions when using Aloe vera

Allergy
scientific
Scientific View
Apply Aloe vera gel to a small area first to test for possible allergic reactions[15].

Side Effects
Important
scientific
Scientific View
1. Skin irritation
2. Redness and burning
3. Skin rash[24].

Recommended Dosage of Aloe vera

  • Aloe vera Gel - 1-2 teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Aloe vera Juice - 2-3 teaspoons or as per your requirement.

How to use Aloe vera

1. Aloe vera gel
a. For face
i. Take 1-2 teaspoon Aloe vera gel or as per your requirement.
ii. Apply on the skin and massage well.
iii. Repeat this twice a day to repair, lighten and soothe your skin.
iv. Add honey to Aloe vera gel if you have dry skin.

b. For hair
i. Apply Aloe vera gel on the scalp and massage well.
ii. Keep it for one hour and wash it off with plain water.
iii. Repeat this thrice a week for healthy hair.
iv. Add 5-10 drops of Lemon juice to Aloe vera gel if you have dandruff.

2. Aloe vera juice
a. For face
i. Take 2-3 teaspoon Aloe vera juice or as per your requirement.
ii. Add honey to it and apply on the face.
iii. Wait for 10-15 minutes.
iv. Wash off with plain water and pat dry.
v. Use this remedy 2-3 times a week for better results.

b. For hair
i. Take 2-3 teaspoon Aloe vera juice or per your requirement.
ii. Add Coconut oil to it.
iii. Massage this mixture on your hair and scalp.
iv. Wait for 1-2 hours.
v. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
vi. Use this remedy 2-3 times a week for better results.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Do you need to refrigerate Aloe vera juice?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, Aloe vera juice should be refrigerated in order to retain its freshness and increase its shelf life.

Q. How long can Aloe vera gel be stored?

scientific
Scientific View
It is best to use Aloe vera gel soon after it is extracted from the leaf. But, it can be stored in a clean and closed container in the refrigerator for 8-10 days.
Tips:
1. Add Lemon juice to Aloe vera gel to keep it fresh for a longer time.
2. Store Aloe vera gel in the freezer to last long.
3. Commercially available Aloe vera gel can be kept either in room temperature in a dry place away from heat.

Q. How do you store Aloe vera leaves?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera leaves should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent it from drying and losing its benefits.
Tip:
Wrap the leaves with a plastic sheet or store the leaves in sealable plastic bags and then refrigerate.

Q. Can Aloe vera gel cause a stinging feeling?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera gel can sting a bit when first applied to the skin or to the wound, but the unpleasant feeling passes in 5-10 minutes.

Q. Do I need to wash my face after applying Aloe vera gel?

scientific
Scientific View
You can wash your face after applying Aloe vera gel. But keeping Aloe vera gel on face overnight is beneficial for the skin. It helps to make the skin soft and hydrated.
Do remember to do a patch test before applying Aloe vera gel on the face as some people are found to be hypersensitive to Aloe vera.

Q. How to use Aloe vera gel for dark spots on face?

scientific
Scientific View
1. Take 1-2 teaspoon Aloe vera gel or as per your requirement.
2. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.
3. Mix well and apply on the face.
4. Keep for 10-15 minutes and wash your face with plain water.
5. You can also apply Aloe vera gel on your face and keep it overnight for acne scars.

Q. Is it good to apply Aloe vera gel on face overnight?

scientific
Scientific View
You can apply Aloe vera gel and keep it overnight. This will make your skin supple and hydrated. But do remember to do a patch test before applying Aloe vera on your face for any allergic reactions.

Q. When should I take Aloe vera?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera is available in various forms such as gel, juice, capsule, etc. For better results consume:
1. Aloe vera juice in the morning on an empty stomach.
2. Aloe vera gel in the morning on an empty stomach.
3. Aloe vera capsule after meals.

Q. Is Aloe vera good for hair growth?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, Aloe vera is good for hair growth. It promotes the growth of new hair follicles as well as helps in strengthening the existing ones by regulating blood supply to the roots of hair follicles. It further prevents hair loss by protecting the scalp from any disease[6].
Tip:
1. Take 1-2 tablespoon Aloe vera gel or as per your requirement in a bowl.
2. Apply this gel on the scalp and massage well for 5-10 minutes.
3. Keep for 30-40 minutes.
4. Rinse with plain water.
5. Repeat 1-2 times a week for effective results.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, hair fall is mainly due to an aggravated Vata dosha. Aloe vera controls hair fall by balancing Vata dosha. Aloe vera gel also reduces dryness of the scalp due to its Snigdha (oily) property. It makes the hair smoother, stronger, and shinier.

Q. Can Aloe vera remove pregnancy stretch marks?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera can help manage stretch marks when applied regularly. Aloe vera gel reduces itching on the belly during pregnancy as well as prevent its progression. It boosts collagen production when applied topically and improve skin elasticity[6][17].
Tip:
1. Apply some Aloe vera gel to the affected skin area and massage well.
2. Keep it for some 15 minutes and wash off with plain water.
3. Apply this twice a day.
4. You can even use Aloe vera based creams.
5. Start this in the initial stages of pregnancy atleast around the 2nd trimester.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Aloe vera might be good for managing stretch marks due to its Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties. It also help prevent progression of stretch marks and recover the original skin texture.

Q. Can you use Aloe vera gel in your mouth?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, you can use Aloe vera gel in the mouth. Aloe vera has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and might help reduce mouth and gum related problems[8][6][13].

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, Aloe vera has Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties. This helps manage mouth and gum related problems.
Tip:
Apply Aloe vera gel in the mouth 2-3 times a day for better results.

Q. Is Aloe vera gel good for acne?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera is used as a part of acne treatment because of its healing properties. Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory property which is effective in controlling acne and reducing the redness caused by it. The enzymes present in the Aloe vera gel forms an antibacterial coating on the skin to protect it against acne-causing bacteria. Aloe vera also has hydrating properties and helps in moisturizing the skin[5]. Regular application of Aloe vera gel is also useful to reduce acne scars.
Tip:
1. Take 1-2 teaspoon Aloe vera gel or as per your requirement.
2. Mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric powder to make a paste.
3. Apply it all over the face.
4. Leave it for 30 minutes.
5. Wash it off with normal plain water and pat dry.
6. Repeat this 2-3 times a week for betters results.
7. In case of dry skin apply Aloe vera gel with honey[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
A Kapha-Pitta dosha skin type can be prone to acne and pimples. According to Ayurveda, an aggravation of Kapha increases sebum production which clogs the pores. This results in the formation of both white and blackheads. An aggravation of Pitta also causes red papules (bumps) and inflammation with pus. Aloe vera balances especially aggravated Pitta and reduce inflammation because of its Ropan (healing) and Sita(cold) properties. Thus Aloe vera helps control acne.

Q. How do you use Aloe vera for sunburn?

scientific
Scientific View
Aloe vera gel is good for reducing sunburn. It helps reduce redness and burning sensation due to its anti-inflammatory property[6].
Tip:
1. Take 1 Aloe vera leaf.
2. Scoop the Aloe vera gel using a spoon and keep it in a bowl.
3. Place the bowl in a fridge and keep for 5-10 minutes.
4. Take out the Aloe vera gel from the fridge and apply all over the affected areas.
5. Wait for 30 minutes and wash off with cool water.
6. Repeat 1-2 times a day till you do not get complete relief.

References

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  3. WebMD.Aloe vera: Uses, Side effects, Interactions, Dosage [Internet]. Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
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  10. Choudhary M, Kochhar A, Sangha J. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect of Aloe vera L. in non-insulin dependent diabetics. J Food Sci Technol.2014;51(1):90–96.
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  12. Misawa E, Tanaka M, Nabeshima K, et al. Administration of dried Aloe vera gel powder reduced body fat mass in diet-induced obesity (DIO) rats.J Nutr Sci Vitaminol.2012;58(3):195-201.
  13. Karim B, Bhaskar DJ, Agali C, et al. Effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: triple blind randomized control trial.Oral Health Dent Manag.2014;13(1):14-9.
  14. WebMd.Uses for Aloe vera.[Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
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  16. Grundmann O.Aloe vera gel research review: An overview of its clinical uses and proposed mechanisms of action.NMJ.2012;4(9)1-13.
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  18. Zarrintan A, Mobasseri M, Zarrintan A, et al.Effects of Aloe vera supplements on blood glucose level and lipid profile markers in type 2 diabetic patients – A randomized clinical trial.Pharmaceutical Sciences.2015:65-71.
  19. Jones K.Dietary Aloe vera supplementation and glycemic control in diabetes.Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.2007.
  20. Zadeh JB, Kor NM.Component and application Aloe vera plant in medicine.International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research.2014;2(5):1876-1882.
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Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.