What You Should Know About ALOE VERA, History and Benefits


Today, cosmetology practitioners regularly employ aloe vera, a natural substance. Despite the fact that there are several indications for its use, controlled studies are required to ascertain its true efficacy. This article provides a brief overview of the aloe vera plant, its characteristics, mode of action, and clinical applications.

For millennia, people have known and used the aloe vera plant for its benefits to their health, appearance, and skin. The Arabic word “Alloeh,” which means “shining bitter material,” is the source of the name Aloe vera, while the Latin word “vera” signifies “truth.” Greek scientists believed that aloe vera was a universal cure-all 2000 years ago. Aloe was known to the Egyptians as “the herb of immortality.” The aloe vera plant is used in dermatology nowadays for a variety of treatments.


Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan, and China are just a few of the cultures that have employed aloe vera for therapeutic purposes for millennia.

The Egyptian princesses Cleopatra and Nefertiti utilized it as a regular part of their beauty regimens. It was used to cure soldiers’ wounds by Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus. John Goodyew’s translation of Dioscorides’ medical book De Materia Medica in A.D. 1655 had the earliest mention of aloe vera in written English.  Aloe vera was already being used in America as a laxative by the early 1800s, but in the middle of the 1930s, something changed when it was successfully utilized to treat chronic and severe radiation dermatitis.


Aloe barbadensis miller is the name of the plant that produces aloe vera. It is a shrubby or arborescent, perennial, xerophytic, succulent, pea-green plant that is a member of the Liliaceae family. Africa, Asia, Europe, and America’s dry climates are where it primarily grows. It can be found in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh in India.


The plant bears fruits with many seeds, yellow tubular blooms, and triangular, fleshy leaves with serrated edges. Three layers make up each leaf:

  1. An interior clear gel comprised of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins comprises 99% water.
  2. The anthraquinones and glycosides are found in the middle layer of latex, which is the acrid yellow sap.
  3. The rind is the thick, outer layer of 15 to 20 cells that serves as a protective covering and produces proteins and carbs. Vascular bundles located inside the rind are in charge of moving materials like water (xylem) and starch (phloem).

Active components with its properties

Aloe vera has 75 potentially active ingredients, including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, carbohydrates, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids.

  • Vitamins: It has antioxidant vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E. Choline, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are also present. Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants.
  • Alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinesia, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase are just a few of the eight enzymes found in it. When administered topically to the skin, bradykinesia helps to minimize excessive inflammation while other enzymes aid in the breakdown of fats and sugars.
  • Calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc are among the minerals it offers. Few of them are antioxidants, but they are all necessary for the proper operation of numerous enzyme systems in distinct metabolic pathways.
  • Sugars: It offers polysaccharides (glucomannans/polymannose) as well as monosaccharides (glucose and fructose). These are referred to as mucopolysaccharides and are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant. Mannose-6-phosphate is the most abundant monosaccharide, whereas glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan] are the most prevalent polysaccharides. Additionally discovered is acemannan, a well-known glucomannan. Aloe vera gel was recently used to identify a novel anti-inflammatory chemical named C-glucosyl chromone and a glycoprotein with antiallergic characteristics known as alprogen.
  • It contains 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic substances that have historically been used as laxatives. Aloin and emodin have analgesic, bacterial, and viral antiviral effects.
  • Fatty acids: It offers four plant steroid compounds: lupeol, campesterol, cholesterol, and campesterol. These all have anti-inflammatory effects, and lupeol has antibacterial and analgesic qualities as well.
  • Auxins and gibberellins, which have an anti-inflammatory effect and aid in wound healing, are hormones.
  • Other: It provides 7 of the 8 essential amino acids and 20 of the 22 amino acids that humans need. Salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, is also present. Lignin, an inert chemical, increases the other compounds’ ability to penetrate the skin when added to topical treatments. About 3% of the gel is made up of soap-like saponins, which have antibacterial and cleaning characteristics.

The way things are done

  • Healing properties: Growth hormone gibberellin and mannose-rich polysaccharide glucomannan interacts with fibroblast growth factor receptors to promote fibroblast activity and proliferation, which in turn greatly boosts collagen production after topical and oral Aloe vera application.
  • Aloe gel changed the collagen composition (more type III) and the degree of collagen cross-linking in addition to increasing the wound’s collagen content. This caused the wound to close more quickly and gave the ensuing scar tissue more braking power.  Following oral or topically applied treatment, there has been evidence of enhanced hyaluronic acid and dermatan sulfate production in the granulation tissue of a healed lesion.
  • Aloe vera gel has been said to have a protective effect against radiation damage to the skin. This includes effects on skin exposure to UV and gamma radiation.
  •  Although its precise function is unknown, aloe vera gel administration causes the skin to produce the antioxidant protein metallothionein, which scavenges hydroxyl radicals and inhibits the inhibition of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the skin. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) and other immunosuppressive cytokines produced by skin keratinocytes are reduced, which prevents UV-induced suppression of delayed-type hypersensitivity.
  • Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory effect by blocking the cyclooxygenase pathway and lowering the amount of prostaglandin E2 produced from arachidonic acid. C-glucosyl chromone, a brand-new anti-inflammatory molecule, was just recently isolated from gel extracts.
  • Effects on the immune system: Alprogen prevents calcium from entering mast cells, preventing the release of histamine and leukotriene from mast cells induced by antigens and antibodies.
  • 7 Acemannan stimulates the synthesis and release of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor from macrophages in mice, which in turn triggers an immune attack that results in necrosis and regression of the cancerous cells, according to a study on mice that had previously received implants of murine sarcoma cells. A number of low-molecular-weight substances are also able to prevent activated human neutrophils from releasing reactive oxygen free radicals.
  • Laxative effects: Latex’s anthraquinones are strong laxatives. It raises the amount of water in the intestines, promotes mucus production, and speeds up intestinal peristalsis.
  • Antiviral and anticancer activity: Both indirect and direct effects may contribute to these effects. Anthraquinones have a direct impact and immune system stimulation has an indirect impact. Herpes simplex, varicella zoster, and influenza are just a few of the enveloped viruses that are rendered inactive by the anthraquinone aloin. Recent research has demonstrated that a polysaccharide fraction inhibits the binding of benzopyrene to primary rat hepatocytes, reducing the development of benzopyrene-DNA adducts that may initiate cancer. A prospective advantage of utilizing aloe gel in cancer chemotherapy is suggested by the stimulation of glutathione S-transferase and the reduction of the tumor-promoting effects of phorbol myristic acetate, both of which have been observed.
  • Effects on skin hydration and aging: Mucopolysaccharides aid in retaining moisture in the skin. The production of collagen and elastin fibers, which make the skin more elastic and less wrinkled, is stimulated by aloe. Additionally, by adhering the surface of flaky epidermal cells together, it has cohesive effects that soften the skin. Additionally, zinc works as an astringent to close pores, and amino acids soften skin cells that have been rigid. Aloe vera gel gloves were found to improve skin integrity, lessen the appearance of fine wrinkles, and lessen erythema when used to treat dry skin brought on by industrial exposure. It has an anti-acne effect as well.
  • Effect on the immune system: The six antiseptic substances in aloe vera are lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur. They all have an inhibitory effect on bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Clinical applications: Anecdotal evidence mostly supports aloe vera’s use in clinical settings. Controlled studies are necessary to establish its efficacy in treating all of the following disorders, even if the majority of these uses appear intriguing. 22,23

A. Uses supported by scientific data: These applications have undergone testing on either people or animals. Effectiveness and safety have not always been demonstrated.


  • genital herpes
  • psoriasis
  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • psoriasis Vulgaris
  • skin burns
  • diabetes (type 2)
  • HIV infection, the prevention of cancer,
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • wound healing (the effects of aloe on wound healing are inconsistent, with some research reporting beneficial results and others showing no benefit or potential worsening)

In addition to constipation, other symptoms include mucositis, radiation dermatitis, acne vulgaris, lichen planus, frostbite, and aphthous stomatitis.

B. Uses based on custom or theory: The uses listed below are in accordance with custom or scientific theories. Safety and efficacy have not always been established, and they frequently have not been extensively evaluated in humans.

Alopecia, fungal and bacterial skin infections, persistent leg wounds, parasitic infections, systemic lupus erythematosus, arthritis, and tic douloureux are among the illnesses.

negative effects

Topical: In sensitive people, it may produce redness, burning, stinging, and very rarely widespread dermatitis. Anthraquinones, such as barbaloin, and aloin, are primarily responsible for allergic responses. To check for a potential allergic reaction, it is preferable to apply it to a tiny area first.

Oral: Constipation that gets worse, crimson urine, hepatitis, dependence, or abdominal pain. According to reports, long-term use raises the risk of colorectal cancer. Electrolyte abnormalities may result from the laxative effect (low potassium levels).

In the event of a known allergy to plants in the Liliaceae family, it is contraindicated.

Breastfeeding moms should avoid taking oral aloe during pregnancy since it may stimulate uterine contractions, and taking it may occasionally upset the stomach of the nursing newborn.

Aloe creams, like hydrocortisone creams, may absorb more quickly when applied to the skin. Due to its potassium-lowering effect, it decreases the efficiency of digoxin and digitoxin and may enhance their negative effects. Aloe vera and furosemide usage together may raise the danger of potassium depletion. It lowers blood sugar levels, which means that it might interact with insulin and oral hypoglycemic medications.

Aloe vera has a wide range of qualities and applications, although some of them may be myths and others may be the result of actual magic. Controlled trials will soon be necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of aloe vera in a variety of situations.

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