SIDE EFFECTS AND BENEFITS
OF ALOE VERA
        
POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF ALOE VERA

Holly Phaneuf, Ph.D., author of Herbs Demystified, considers Aloe latex as a natural laxative. Latex,
here, refers to a bitter yellow liquid secreted by cells just beneath the rind of the leaf. Aloe also has gel.
Dr. Phaneuf highlights multiple potential health benefits of the Aloe gel in her book, such as
beta-sitosterol form Al

Does Aloe vera have benefits on patients suffered from irritable bowel syndrome? Aloe vera has been
suggested to be beneficial in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. However, researchers
from UK could not find any evidence that Aloe vera benefits patients with IBS in a recent study. [1]

How does Aloe vera help gastric ulcer?
A study has shown that Aloe vera may have gastric acid anti-secretory activity and may protect the
gastric mucosa at low concentrations against injurious agents. [16] While another study of rats shows
that Aloe vera treatment can reduce leukocyte adherence and TNF-alpha level, elevate IL-10 level and
promote gastric ulcer healing. [3]

ANTI-OXIDANT ACTIVITIES OF ALOE VERA
Aloe vera itself contains antioxidants such as APS-1 and dihydrocoumarin derivatives and it also assists
the aborption of some anti-oxidants such as vitamins A and C.  The vitamins last longer in the plasma
with the Aloes.  [6-8]

Aloe vera relieves oxdative stress in diabetic rats. Oral administration of ethanolic Aloe vera leaf gel
extract for 21 days resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose, thiobarbituric acid reactive
substances,
hydroperoxides and alpha-tocopherol and significant improvement in ascorbic acid, reduced glutathione
and insulin in the plasma of diabetic rats. In addition, this administration also resulted in a significant
reduction in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, hydroperoxides, superoxide dismutase, catalase
and glutathione peroxidase and significant improvement in reduced glutathione in the pancreas of
STZ-induced diabetic rats when compared with untreated diabetic rats. [12]

Because of its anti-oxidant activities, Aloe vera may have benefits for diabetes.[14, 17-19] Animal
studies have shown that aloe vera leaf gel extract is effective on restoration of altered fatty acid
compositions in
the liver and kidney of diabetic rats. In a study, researchers suppled Aloe vera gel extract at a dose of
300 mg/kg bodyweight per day to STZ-induced diabetic rats for a period of 21 days. They observed a
significant reduction in fasting blood glucose, hepatic transaminases, plasma and tissue (liver and
kidney) cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids and phospholipids and a significant improvement in
plasma insulin.
[4] An extract of Aloe vera leaf gel extract has been shown to be even more effective than glibenclamide
in restoring some liver function parameters in a study of diabetic rats. [10]

Indian researchers suggest that mineral contents, e.g. Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, may also contribute to the health
benefits of Aloe vera leaf gel on diabetes. [5, 11] As some of these inorganic elements improve impaired
glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus management. [5]

Aloe vera may benefit some skin conditions. Some researchers applied Aloe vera on skin diseases, e.g.
psoriasis and showed positive results [15], while some do not.
[9]

WARNINGS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF ALOE VERA Side effects of ingestion of low dose of Aloe vera are
seldom reported. However, it has been associated with diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, kidney
dysfunction, and conventional drug interactions. [2] A case of hepatitis has been reported. [13] While,
episodes of contact dermatitis, erythema, and
phototoxicity have been reported from topical applications.

Do not use Aloe vera together with other platelet aggregation inhibitors, such as sevoflurane and before
or after surgery.   Compounds contained within Aloe vera can cause a reduction in prostaglandin
synthesis, which may inhibit secondary aggregation of platelets. Aloe vera may interact with sevoflurane
or other similar substances based on their antiplatelet effects. Herbal medications with antiplatelet
potential should be discontinued before anesthesia and surgery. [13]


This article was updated on
August 2, 2009

[1] Davis K et al, Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of aloe vera for irritable bowel syndrome.
Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Jun 2. [2] Boudreau MD, Beland FA. An evaluation of the biological and toxicological
properties of Aloe barbadensis (miller), Aloe vera. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev.
2006 Apr;24(1):103-54. [3] Eamlamnam K, Effects of Aloe vera and sucralfate on gastric microcirculatory
changes, cytokine levels and gastric ulcer healing in rats. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr 7;12(13):2034-9.
[4] Rajasekaran S et al, Beneficial effects of aloe vera leaf gel extract on lipid profile status in rats with
streptozotocin diabetes. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2006 Mar;33(3):232-7. [5] Rajasekaran S et al, Mineral
contents of aloe vera leaf gel and their role on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005
Winter;108(1-3):185-95. [6] Vinson JA, et al, Effect of Aloe vera preparations on the human bioavailability of
vitamins C and E. Phytomedicine. 2005 Nov;12(10):760-5. [7] Zhang XF, Isolation, structure elucidation,
antioxidative and immunomodulatory properties of two novel dihydrocoumarins from Aloe vera. Bioorg Med
Chem Lett. 2006 Feb 15;16(4):949-53. Epub 2005 Nov 15. [8] Wu JH et al, Antioxidant properties and PC12
cell protective effects of APS-1, a polysaccharide from Aloe vera var. chinensis. Life Sci. 2006 Jan
2;78(6):622-30. Epub 2005 Sep 8. [9] Paulsen E, A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a commercial
Aloe vera gel in the treatment of slight to moderate psoriasis vulgaris. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2005
May;19(3):326-31. [10] Rajasekaran S et al, Antioxidant effect of Aloe vera gel extract in
streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats. Pharmacol Rep. 2005 Jan-Feb;57(1):90-6. [11] Bezakova L, et al,
Antilipoxygenase activity and the trace elements content of Aloe vera in relation to the therapeutical effect.
Ceska Slov Farm. 2005 Jan;54(1):43-6. [12] Rajasekaran S, et al, Modulatory effects of Aloe vera leaf gel
extract on oxidative stress in rats treated with streptozotocin. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Feb;57(2):241-6. [13]
Rabe C.et al, Acute hepatitis induced by an Aloe vera preparation: a case report. World J Gastroenterol. 2005
Jan 14;11(2):303-4. [13] Lee A, et al Possible interaction between sevoflurane and Aloe vera. Ann
Pharmacother. 2004 Oct;38(10):1651-4. Epub 2004 Aug 3. [14] Bolkent S Effect of Aloe vera (L.) Burm. fil.
leaf gel and pulp extracts on kidney in type-II diabetic rat models. Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 Jan;42(1):48-52.
[15] Syed TA et al, Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a
placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Trop Med Int Health. 1996 Aug;1(4):505-9. [16] Yusuf S et al, The
effect of Aloe vera A. Berger (Liliaceae) on gastric acid secretion and acute gastric mucosal injury in rats. J
Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jul;93(1):33-7. [17] Can A et al, Effect of Aloe vera leaf gel and pulp extracts on the
liver in type-II diabetic rat models. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 May;27(5):694-8. [18] Rajasekaran S, et al,
Hypoglycemic effect of Aloe vera gel on streptozotocin-induced diabetes in experimental rats. J Med Food.
2004 Spring;7(1):61-6. [19] Parihar MS et al, Susceptibility of hippocampus and cerebral cortex to oxidative
damage in streptozotocin treated mice: prevention by extracts of Withania somnifera and Aloe vera. J Clin
Neurosci. 2004 May;11(4):397-402. [1A] Can 'beauty bedding' turn you into a sleeping beauty? New York Times, Feb 27, 2009
On February 27, 2009, Terry Trucco at New York Times wrote "Aloe vera is
the bedding industry's go-to botanical ingredient, found in products like
Natura World's latex-filled, wool-lined pillow with an aloe vera cotton cover
and Hollandia International's aloe kangaroo blanket." [1A]
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