Aloe Vera: The Healing Gel

Providers of aloe vera products promise their healing effects in more than 200 health disorders. The rich substances of aloe vera and their great effect have been known for over 5,000 years. Alexander the Great had Aloe Vera planted in carriages so that she could be used in his campaigns for her wound-healing and analgesic properties. Hildegard von Bingen swore especially on the fever-reducing effect.

Aloe Vera is one of the lily family, but looks more like agaves. The plant is native to the desert region of the Arabian Peninsula. Today they are cultivated in the tropics, subtropics and other warm areas such as the Mediterranean or Mexico. Aloe vera in its wild form is protected.

Aloe Vera: What is it?

Today Aloe Vera is mainly available as a gel. This is basically the meat of the leaf. It is colorless and quite fluid, as it consists almost entirely of water. You can use aloe vera gel for minor burns and minor wounds. It relieves pain, soothes inflammation and is slightly antibiotic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the gel from the freshly cut leaf to be the most effective remedy, as ingredients can be destroyed during further processing. Aloe vera gel can also help treat acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. In creams and body lotions, the juice of the plant is helpful because the contained polysaccharides provide the skin with moisture and care.

Areas of application of aloe

external use:
insect bites
small wounds
skin fungi

internal use:


Aloe vera gel: Quality matters

The Stiftung Warentest advises to pay attention to the quality when purchasing Aloe Vera oral products: “For certified raw materials and processing, the organic seal and the signs of Neuform or IASC (International Aloe Science Council) guarantee.” For cosmetics the contact time important: shower gel or shampoo have no effect, because they are too short on the skin.
Application areas in medicine

As a laxative granules are taken, but not longer than 14 days. During pregnancy, lactation, inflammatory stomach and intestinal diseases and hemorrhoids you should refrain from aloe vera. If you take heart medicines, you should ask your doctor about interactions. For medical purposes, the gel of the fleshy leaves of aloe is used mostly, in part also the whole leaf. Aloe preparations can be used both internally and externally.
Aloe vera juices and concentrates usually also form from the gel. It must be filtered for this purpose with a technological process so that the drink has no laxative effect. The Stiftung Warentest points out that aloe vera juice often contains more preservatives than normal juices, which are needed because of the rapid oxidation. Moreover, the juices provide nutritionally nothing that you can not absorb just as well over fruits and vegetables.

In homeopathy, aloe vera is used to help exhausted and dissatisfied people as well as against inflammation of the stomach or intestinal mucosa and diarrhea with flatulence. The flower essence pursues similar goals.

The main ingredients of the leaf gel

Mucopolysaccharides (acemannan)
amino acids
Enzymes (including phosphatase, amylase, peroxidase)
Minerals (including iron, calcium, zinc)
Vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E and A)
phytochemicals (lignins, sterols, anthraglycosides, saponins, salicylic acid, tannins)

The acemannan sugar compound in aloe leaf gel inhibits virus growth and boosts the immune system by activating the phagocytes (macrophages) and promoting the production of an anti-inflammatory signaling compound (interleukin 1). The belonging to the anthraglycosides aloin is found only in the leaf shell. It has a strong laxative effect.
Effects on the body

wound healing
strengthening the immune system

The acemannan in aloe leaf gel inhibits virus growth and boosts the immune system by activating the phagocytes (macrophages) and promoting the production of an anti-inflammatory signaling substance (interleukin 1). At the same time, the mucopolysaccharide is also involved in the formation of synovial fluid and can thus protect against osteoarthritis. The laxative effect of aloin is due to irritation of the mucous membrane and the muscles of the colon.
A success of the beauty industry

Since the turn of the millennium, the market is literally flooded with aloe products. Aloe Vera owes its current reputation mainly to the advertising promise of the beauty and wellness industry. In addition to the health-promoting effect of the plant are said to have positive effects on skin and hair.
In Germany, many products are rightly not approved as drugs. Reason is on the one hand, the complex extraction of ingredients and on the other hand, the exaggeration of medical promises, which it lacks some scientific basis. Many products are sold instead as a dietary supplement.