Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications

In many apartments you can now find these ornamental plants. But not everyone knows that aloe vera plants are not only beautiful, but also useful. Since ancient times, aloe has been used to treat various diseases. However, in herbal medicine a lot of nuances. Therefore, it is necessary to figure out which diseases the plant treats, how to use it, what properties it has and contraindications. It should be remembered that aloe also contains toxic and harmful compounds, so you can use the healing properties of the plant only with full information about it.


Aloe is a genus of flowering plants of the ksantororean family, numbering about 500 species. Most of the members of the genus are succulents that grow in arid regions of the tropical belt and have mechanisms for preserving water. At the same time, plants are distinguished by their love for light and heat. Aloe vera is very diverse in size. It can be trees with a height of 10 m, and small plants. A characteristic feature of the representatives of the genus is thick xiphoid leaves, usually covered with whitish bloom and spiked at the edges. In nature, the leaves of the plant just serve to accumulate moisture. For medicinal purposes, it is mainly leaves that are used, sometimes – parts of the stem.

What is the difference between aloe and aloe vera and between agave and aloe?

In medicine, no more than a dozen species of aloe are used. Of these, two are best known for their healing properties – aloe vera or real aloe and tree aloe or agave. Thus, aloe is the name of a plant genus, and individual species are called agave and aloe vera. Although in everyday life both of these plants are often called simply aloe, which can cause confusion, since it is unclear exactly which plant is in question.

Medicinal properties of both types are similar, but have some differences. It is believed that tree aloe is more useful for treating skin diseases, wounds and cuts, and in aloe vera healing properties are more pronounced for internal use.

Aloe Vera

The homeland of the plant is Northeast Africa. It has a little more than half a meter in height and has fleshy, slightly bluish leaves growing from the bottom of the stem.

Now aloe grows wild in various regions – in the Canary Islands, in North Africa. Also, the plant can be found on the Arabian Peninsula. Even the word “aloe” is of Arabic origin. It means “bitter,” because the leaves of the plant contain bitter-tasting substances.

The plant can be grown at home. It is well acclimatized in the apartment, but rarely blooms.


It grows mainly in South Africa – Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The plant extract was used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming mummies. The plant has the appearance of a small tree or shrub 2-5 m tall. Fleshy leaves grow in the upper part of the trunk. The inflorescence has the appearance of a long brush with bright orange flowers.

Can also be used as a home plant. However, home-grown specimens are significantly smaller than their wild counterparts.

Chemical composition of leaves

Aloe is a unique plant. According to the number of active biological substances contained in it (approximately 250), it has no equal among the representatives of the flora.

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications
Photo: Nevada31 /

The main component of the leaves of the plant is water (97%).

Also in the leaves can be found:

  • Esters
  • Essential oils
  • Simple organic acids (malic, citric, cinnamic, amber and others)
  • Phytoncides
  • Flavonoids
  • Tannins
  • Resins
  • Vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E)
  • Beta Carotene
  • Amino acids (including glycine, glutamic and aspartic acids, essential amino acids)
  • Polysaccharides (glucomannans and azomannan)
  • Monosaccharides (glucose and fructose)
  • Antraglycosides
  • Anthraquinone
  • Allantoin
  • Trace elements – selenium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper and others
  • Alkaloids, including aloins


Aloe is known primarily as ornamental plants, having an unusual appearance. Meanwhile, the healing properties of aloe became known several thousand years ago. Various parts of the plant were successfully used by the Egyptian priests and ancient doctors. Modern science confirms its healing properties. They are explained by a unique complex of vitamins, trace elements, amino acids and other compounds that positively affect various systems of the human body.

But even when grown as a houseplant, aloe is able to provide therapeutic benefits, as it refreshes the air and enriches it with phytoncides. In addition to medicine, the plant extract is widely used in cosmetics and perfumes. Juice and pulp are used for cooking.

Medical Use

As a rule, the medicine uses juice obtained from fleshy leaves or the outer parts of the stem (sapwood). Can be used as fresh juice, and one stripped off (sabur). Juice is extracted by collecting it from freshly cut leaves. It is also possible to obtain juice with a press. Aloe flower, despite its beauty, has no medical use.

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications
Photo: Trum Ronnarong /

Fresh juice and sabur are the most useful types of drugs. Their high effect is due to the complex effect on the body of various compounds. The individual components of the plant, which can be found in various pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetics, do not have such a high effect due to the use of preservatives.

Moreover, aloe oil is widely used in medicine and cosmetics. It is also made from leaves. In traditional and traditional medicine are used and such dosage forms as syrup, gel, ointment and liquid extract. In some cases, the extract may be administered intramuscularly by injection.

What does aloe treat?

Plant components have a positive effect on the following systems and organs of the human body:

  • cardiovascular system
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • skin
  • immune system
  • nervous system
  • eyes

Also plant components:

  • Possess antifungal and antiviral effects
  • Toxins and wastes are excreted
  • Increase overall body tone
  • Restore intestinal microflora
  • Lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Accelerate hair growth and prevent hair loss
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Help with allergies
  • Relieve muscle, joint and tooth pain
  • Used in dentistry to treat stomatitis, gingivitis and plaque
  • Used as a prophylactic against cancer and auxiliary in their therapy
  • Possess antioxidant, diuretic and laxative properties
  • Used to treat respiratory diseases (tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, pneumonia)
  • Used in gynecology in the treatment of diseases such as candidiasis, vaginosis, endometriosis, uterine fibroma, genital herpes

Aloe juice has a powerful bactericidal effect. He is active against:

  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus
  • Dysentery Sticks
  • typhoid bacillus
  • diphtheria sticks

Different pulp compounds are responsible for improving the performance of various body systems. For example, the anti-inflammatory effect of a plant is explained by the presence of salicylic acid in it, the laxative — anthraquinone and aloins, the choleretic — zinc and selenium, etc.

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications
Photo: pinkomelet /

Gastroenterology Application

Sabur improves intestinal motility. It can be used as a laxative and choleretic agent, as well as a means to improve digestion. In addition, the preparations obtained from the plant, are used when:

  • Gastritis
  • Enterocolitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Gastric and duodenal ulcer

Dermatology Application

The plant is most useful in the treatment of skin diseases. For application to the skin is most suitable oil. The oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound healing properties and is used to treat various dermatitis, rashes, psoriasis, urticaria, eczema, acne, bedsores, burns, wounds.

The polysaccharides contained in the flesh and, above all, acemannan, have an interesting property. It has been clinically proven that they are able to activate the production of the body’s immune cells – macrophages, which play a key role in the repair of damaged tissues. This ability is acemannan and is used in the treatment of skin diseases.

Ophthalmology Application

Aloe juice can be used to treat a variety of ophthalmologic diseases – conjunctivitis, mucositis, progressive myopia, and even cataracts. The healing properties of aloe for the eyes are explained by the presence in the plant of an extensive complex of vitamins, primarily vitamin A. The components contained in the juice improve the blood supply to the retina and the tissues surrounding the eyes.

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications
Photo: Ruslan Guzov /

Application for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases

The beneficial effect of the plant components on the cardiovascular system is primarily due to enzymes that reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol and sugar in the blood and prevent blood clots. Studies have shown that daily intake of juice of 10-20 ml can reduce total cholesterol by 15% over several months. Research also shows that the gel of a plant can reduce the risk of coronary disease.


Internal administration of drugs from the plant is contraindicated in:

  • Gastrointestinal disease exacerbations
  • Individual Intolerance
  • Severe hypertension and severe pathologies of the cardiovascular system
  • Bleeding – hemorrhoidal, uterine, menstruation
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholecystitis
  • Jade
  • Cystitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • 3 years old
  • Pregnancy

Ointments and oils used for wound healing and in dermatology have fewer contraindications. In particular, they can be used by pregnant women. For the treatment of children, ointments can be applied starting from a year of life.

Treatment of children under 12 years with internal remedies is recommended only after consultation with a pediatrician. Be wary of prescribing medications from aloe to elderly people. During lactation, the use of internal drugs is also not recommended.

Side Effects of Aloe Vera based medicines

Most of the compounds contained in the plant has a positive effect on the human body. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

When using the extract, remember that the skin of the leaves contains bitter substances. But bitterness in itself is not their main drawback. Current research suggests that bitter alkaloid aloin is carcinogenic. Although aloin in low concentration and episodic use is most likely not dangerous (moreover, it is used in aloe-based laxative preparations, and is also used as a dietary supplement), but it is recommended to thoroughly clean them from the preparation of leaf juice. peels.

The plant also contains special enzymes – antaglycosides. In case of overdose, they can lead to bleeding and miscarriage in pregnant women.

With the internal intake of juice possible violations of the gastrointestinal tract – dyspepsia, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain. Occasionally, blood may appear in the urine, heart rhythm disturbances, and muscle weakness. It is not recommended to take preparations of the plant immediately before bedtime, as this may cause insomnia.

Aloe vera: medicinal properties and contraindications

Home Use

Of course, for treatment, you can buy in the pharmacy various drugs that contain plant components. However, it is most effective to use fresh aloe juice. It can be prepared from plants grown at home alone.

Growing Aloe Vera

The plant does not require much care. Since it is adapted to the arid climate, it can do without frequent watering. It is enough to do it 1-2 times a week, in the winter – once a month. Nevertheless, it is worth considering that the plant loves heat and the sun, so a well-warmed and lighted place is better suited for it. In winter, the plant must be protected from cold and drafts. It is easiest to propagate a plant with the help of apical shoots, cuttings and shoots that grow at the base of the shoots.

The largest leaves with a dried top located in the lower part of the stem are most suitable for cutting. Do not be afraid to remove them, as the plant is able to quickly grow new ones. Before removing the leaves, it is best not to water the plant for a couple of weeks, as this promotes the concentration of beneficial substances.

Leaves must be cut, plucked or broken off at the very base. You can either squeeze the juice with your hands, or chop the leaves and pass them through a meat grinder or blender. For the preparation of some formulations such a method is preferable. Before chopping the leaves, be sure to remove the skin from them.

It should be remembered that only fresh leaves have the greatest benefit; therefore, leaves should be removed only before direct preparation of the medicine. After a few hours, many active compounds begin to disintegrate. Juice or gruel from the leaves also can not be stored for a long time, even in the refrigerator. Of course, they will not spoil, but they will lose many of their useful properties.

Homemade Aloe Vera Cure

Here are some juice or pulp recipes you can make at home. Very often honey is added to the juice, which enhances the effect of aloe. However, when using honey, it should be borne in mind that it is a strong allergen, even stronger than aloe itself. It is necessary to strictly observe the dosage, because the funds from aloe can cause some side effects. It should be remembered that these recipes do not replace the treatment, but can only complement it. Before using them, you should consult with your doctor.

To improve digestion, as well as to strengthen the body after serious diseases, it is recommended to mix:

  • 150 g of juice
  • 250 g of honey
  • 350 grams of strong red wine

This mixture should be infused for 5 days. Take a tablespoon three times daily before meals.

Another recipe for children to strengthen the body:

  • Half a cup of juice
  • 500 grams of crushed walnut
  • 300 g honey
  • juice of 3-4 lemons

Should be taken 3 times a day before meals for a teaspoon.

During the course of treatment for tuberculosis, the following mixture will do:

  • 15 g of juice
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g cocoa powder
  • 100 g of honey

The mixture must be taken 3 times a day for a tablespoon.

When treating ulcerative colitis, it is recommended to take juice of 25-50 ml twice a day. When gastritis juice take a teaspoon half an hour before meals for 1-2 months. For constipation and colitis, it is also recommended to take a teaspoon juice before a meal.

For gastric and duodenal ulcers, you can prepare the composition, taking 0.5 cups of crushed leaves and ¾ cup of honey. To insist the mixture must be within 3 days in a dark place. Then add a glass of Cahors, insist another day and strain. Composition take a tablespoon 3 times daily before meals.

For the treatment of respiratory diseases, you can use pure juice. When a cold is recommended to bury every day for 3 drops in each nostril. The course of treatment is a week. If you have a sore throat, gargling with diluted water of plant sap will help. With stomatitis, you can also use fresh juice for rinsing.

For herpes, it is recommended to lubricate the rashes with fresh juice five times a day.

For the treatment of neurosis, you should mix aloe leaves, carrots and spinach and squeeze juice out of them. Take juice should be two tablespoons three times a day.

In the treatment of furunculosis, it is recommended to mix in equal proportions olive oil and juice. The resulting composition is necessary to moisten the gauze and attach it to the affected area for a day. Then the composition should be replaced with fresh.

In the treatment of conjunctivitis and inflammation of the mucous membrane of the eyes should dissolve the slurry from the leaves with water in the ratio 1:5. Undiluted juice can not be used! Blend the mixture for an hour, boil for an hour and strain. The resulting liquid must be done lotions and wipe.

Compresses are recommended for the treatment of arthritis. For their preparation is recommended to take:

  • 3 tbsp. of juice
  • 6 tbsp. of honey
  • 9 tbsp. of vodka

The components are mixed and the resulting substance is moistened with gauze, which is superimposed on the affected area.

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