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What can Aloe Vera – and what not?

Aloe Vera is said to have many positive effects. Allegedly, the plant not only cares for the skin, but also has positive effects on health. But what can the supposed miracle cure really do? Tikbow asked the experts.

Applications of aloe vera

One plant, many applications: The succulent aloe vera is considered a miracle cure for health. As a desert plant, it is designed to store a lot of water. This is recognizable by the thick-fleshed leaves. From their interior a transparent mass is obtained, the aloe gel. The bitter-tasting, yellow aloe juice comes from the outer leaf parts.

Care tips für the Aloe plant you find with our colleagues of myHOMEBOOK

Aloe as a detergent

Gel and juice are used for different purposes, aloe juice, for example, as a laxative for constipation. However, according to a report1 However, according to a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), this should only be taken for a short time, as side effects such as cramping abdominal pain can occur. Furthermore, pregnant women should refrain from taking aloe, as confirmed by the press office of the German Pharmacists Association (DAV) when asked by Tikbow. Aloe has become less important in recent decades, as there are now many different, better-tolerated remedies available,” says the DAV.

As a gel in skin care

Somewhat more harmless is the use of aloe vera as a gel. It is said to be useful for all kinds of wounds, burns and skin irritations.

Aloe Vera for sunburn

The effect of aloe vera on sunburn is controversial. When asked by Tikbow, the press office of the German Pharmacists Association (DAV) explains: "The gel binds moisture and can relieve skin inflammation. Consumers report a pleasant, cooling effect of the Aloe gel with sunburn". However, clinical studies that would scientifically prove the effectiveness are not known.

Diseases for which aloe helps

One disease for which the use of aloe helps is the so-called seborrheic eczema. This is a skin disease in which dandruff forms on the scalp. In a study2 an improvement occurred in an average of 60 percent of patients treated with the gel, compared with only about 20 percent in the control group. Also with the sexually transmitted disease Genitalherpes healed the skin with a Aloe Vera cream faster than with a Placebo.

Aloe as a food supplement

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations has scrutinized aloe as a food supplement. As such, it is supposed to detoxify the body, strengthen the immune system and promote well-being. Aloe vera is offered dried in capsules, as juice or gel. It contains carbohydrates, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. However, the largest part, about 99 percent of the gel, consists of water. The consumer advice center’s verdict: "Many of these substances are also contained in local fruit and vegetables."3 Prof. Uehleke would also give this tip to consumers. He works as an expert in naturopathy and phytotherapy at Immanuel Hospital in Berlin. Those who eat seasonal fruits and vegetables do not need to rely on dietary supplements containing aloe vera.

Can aloe have a preventive effect against cancer?

On the Internet you can find countless statements about the effectiveness of aloe vera in diabetes, cancer or HIV infections. "These are üexaggerated healing promises", judges Prof. Bernhard Uehleke. The positive effect of Aloe Vera with the diseases mentioned is scientifically not proven and the präventive income after estimate of the specialist physician therefore nonsense.

Sources

1Safety of hydroxyanthracene derivatives for use in food, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
2A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis, Taylor & Francis Online
3Aloe vera – the plant for beauty and health?, Verbraucherzentrale
– Press Office of the German Pharmacists Association (DAV)
Prof. Bernhard Uehleke, expert in naturopathy and phytotherapy at Immanuel Hospital in Berlin, Germany