Nutrition Expert: Sana Saiyed, Practicing Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Mumbai.
Aloe vera is a medicinal plant which is widely used for treating wounds and sunburns but there are various therapeutic health benefits of it.
The cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries use aloe vera extensively, and the plant has an estimated annual market value of $13 billion globally. (1)
There are various forms in which aloe vera is sold in the market, like creams, gels, ointments and soaps. Aloe is sold in capsule or liquid form to take internally to promote health and well-being.
Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. (2)
The graphical representation shows the various therapeutics benefits of aloe vera.
Healing properties: Glucomannan, a mannose-rich polysaccharide, and gibberellin, a growth hormone, interacts with growth factor receptors on the fibroblast, thereby stimulating its activity and proliferation, which in turn significantly increases collagen synthesis after topical and oral Aloe vera. (3)
People sometimes use aloe vera as a remedy for diabetes. This is because it may enhance insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management.
Several studies found that aloe vera could have benefits for people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes due to its effects on glycemic control.
Evidence shows that applying an aloe extract 0.5% cream three times daily increases healing rates in men with genital herpes.
Taking aloe latex by mouth can reduce constipation and also cause diarrhea.It increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis. (4)
Aloe vera may cause certain drug interactions if taken internally. In some cases, it can block the action of the co-administered drug.
Speak with your doctor if you intend to use oral aloe and take any of the following drugs or supplements:
- Diabetes medications, including insulin
- Diuretics (“water pills”) like Lasix (furosemide)
- Heart rhythm medications like digoxin
- Laxatives and stool softeners
- Licorice root
- Oral or injectable steroids
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).