Aloe Vera is one of the most known specie of the Aloe genus. It first description known is in a Mesopotamian clay tablet (around 21000 BC). It is considered to be the one with more active substances than the other 500 species of Aloe (Foster et. al. 2011). It is cultivated for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes, and is widely commercialized around the world. In the next survey we will highlight some recent clinical trials where Aloe Vera have been prove to be effective.
A 2012 double-blinded trial hold to study the effect of Aloe Vera gel against oral lichen planus, showed that Aloe gel was more effective than the usual chemical treatment, converting Aloe in a safest and cheapest alternative treatment (Reddy et. al. 2012). A previous study held in Iran, with the same purpose, concluded that Aloe Vera was as effective as triamcinolone acetonide, the first being natural and cheaper, in other words, a better alternative in treating oral lichen planus. (Mansourian et. al. 2011).
Meanwhile, in Brazil, another trial was hold, in this case to observe the effects of Aloe Vera ointment on injured tendons. After 21 days, it showed benefial effects on tissue reorganization of the injured tendons (Aro et. al. 2012).
To study the effects of Aloe Vera in combination with a tongue protector, in patient with burning mouth syndrome (BMS), the Spanish university of Murcia experimented it with 75 patients with BMS in a double blind test. Three groups were created randomly. A first group just receiving a tongue protector 3 times a day; a second group receiving a tongue protector and Aloe Vera 3 times a day; and finally a third group receiving a tongue protector among with a placebo. The study was hold during three months, and they concluded that the treatment of BMS with tongue protector combined with Aloe Vera was more effective than using tongue protector alone (López-Jornet et. al. 2012).
Some clinical trials tended to confirm the use of Aloe as antibacterial. A 2012 experiment using Aloe in gutta-percha (GP) cones contaminated with E. coli, E. faecalis and Staphilococcus aureus observed the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in decontaminating GP (Athiban et. al. 2012).
Furthermore, another study using patients suffering from infected leg ulcers with multi-drug resistant organisms also called “Super Bugs”, confirmed that Aloe Vera could be used as antibacterial, as the results showed a decreasing of the emergence of pathogens in the infected leg ulcers, being in that case more effective than normal tropical anti-microbial agent The authors highlight as well the small cost of Aloe Vera gel preparation, as well of no reported side effects and, very important, does not lead to drug resistance (Banu et. al. 2012).
Aloe Vera has as well been used against skin diseases such as psoriasis. A clinical trial using an ethanolic extract of Aloe Vera gel showed that it improved the relative epidermal thickness, as well as having an 82 % of antipsoriatic activity (Dhanabal et. al. 2012).
Another important trial, studying the effects of ethanol and ethylacetate Aloe Vera extract used as eye drops concluded in the power of the Aloe extract against inflammations and others issues on the external part of the eye (Woźniak & Paduch, 2012).
A Nigerian hospital, treated 10 women, infected with HIV, with 30-40 mL of Aloe Vera gruel daily and after a year compared the result with the patients treated with antiretroviral. No significant differences were found, between the use of antiretroviral and Aloe, on the results despite one patient that had to switch from antiretroviral to Aloe Vera. This experiment showed that Aloe Vera is a good alternative to the expensive antiretrovirals, and even more in third world countries like Africans countries were Aloe can be cultivated by every family at no cost (Olatunya et. al. 2012).
It has also been found to help in the improvement of periodontal condition (Geetha et. al. 2011), in combination with honey to reduce tumour proliferation (Tomasin & Gomes-Marcondes 2011), or even to treat patients with prediabetic syndrome (Devaraj et. al. 2012).
Patients with diabetes condition who use glucose-lowering medication, should be cautious if also taking Aloe Vera by mouth, because the combination of both may lower excessively blood glucose levels. That is why I would like to highlight that if you decide to use some medicinal herbs, you should always look for professional advise, as everybody is different and can react differently. And also to be certain to take the right amount and on the right way of a medicinal herb.
We can conclude saying that Aloe Vera is a very interesting plant, that can heal a wide variety of issues, as well as being very cheap to produce. Future clinical trials should discover new and confirm old uses of this magical plant.
1. Aro AA, Nishan U, Perez MO, Rodrigues RA, Foglio MA, Carvalho JE, Gomes L, Vidal BC, Pimentel ER. (September 2012). Structural and biochemical alterations during the healing process of tendons treated with Aloe vera. Life sciences, PMID: 22982344
2. Athiban PP, Borthakur BJ, Ganesan S, Swathika B. (2012). Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of Aloe vera and its effectiveness in decontaminating gutta percha cones. Journal of conservative dentistry, July 2012, pp. 246-248.
3. Banu A, Sathyanarayana BC, Chattannavar G. (2012). Efficacy of fresh Aloe vera gel against multi-drug resistant bacteria in infected leg ulcers. Australasian medicinal journal, 2012, pp. 305-309.
4. Devaraj S, Yimam M, Brownell LA, Jialal I, Singh S, Jia Q. (2012). Effects of Aloe vera Supplementation in Subjects with Prediabetes/Metabolic Syndrome. PMID: 23035844
5. Priyanka Dwarampudi L, Muruganantham N, Vadivelan R. (2012). Evaluation of the antipsoriatic activity of Aloe vera leaf extract using a mouse tail model of psoriasis. Phytotherapy research PTR, April 2012, pp. 617-619.
6. Foster M, Hunter D & Samman S. (2011). Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. PMID: 22593933
7. Geetha B, Praveen K, & Vidya D. (2011). Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing healer to periodontal disease. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, volume 15 (3), pp. 205-209.
8. López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, Molino-Pagan D. (2012). Prospective, randomized, double-blind, clinical evaluation of Aloe vera Barbadensis, applied in combination with a tongue protector to treat burning mouth syndrome. Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine, September, PMID: 22957483.
9. Mansourian A, Momen-Heravi F, Saheb-Jamee M, Esfehani M, Khalilzadeh O, Momen-Beitollahi J. (2011). Comparison of aloe vera mouthwash with triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% on oral lichen planus: a randomized double-blinded clinical trial. The American Journal of the Medical Science, volume 342 (6), pp.447-451.
10. Olatunya OS, Olatunya AM, Anyabolu HC, Adejuyigbe EA, Oyelami OA. (sept 2012). Preliminary trial of aloe vera gruel on HIV infection. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, volume 18 (9), pp.850-853.
11. Reddy RL, Reddy RS, Ramesh T, Singh TR, Swapna LA, Laxmi NV. ( Oct.2012). Randomized trial of aloe vera gel vs triamcinolone acetonide ointment in the treatment of oral lichen planus. Quintessence international, volume 43, pp. 793-800.
12. Tomasin R, Gomes-Marcondes MC. (April 2011). Oral administration of Aloe vera and honey reduces Walker tumour growth by decreasing cell proliferation and increasing apoptosis in tumour tissue. Phytotherapy Research, volume 25, pp. 619-623.
13. Woźniak A & Paduch R. (feb. 2012). Aloe vera extract activity on human corneal cells. Pharmaceutical Biology, volume 50, pp. 147-154.