- Although it is often referred to as a cactus, it is really the fleshy leaves of succulents belonging to the Lily family (Aloe barbadensis; A. Vulgaris). The gel has long been used as a healer for burns.
- possesses anti-inflammatory properties
- contains the enzyme bradykininase, which reduces swelling
- contains magnesium lactate which stops itching
- inhibits many bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- speeds healing internally and externally
- moisens, softens, and heals the skin
- used externally to speed healing of burns, acne, cuts, insect bites or stings, bruises, blemishes, eczema, psoriasis, skin ulcers, and others
- used internally for stomach disorders, radiation-related side effects, ulcers, constipation, hemorrhoids, rectal itching, colitis, and other colon problems
- helps fight against infections
- an excellent cleanser when used with psyllium husks
- used with chemotherapy to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments and lessens damaging effects on normal cells
- protects the immune system and the skin from the effects of radiation treatment
- when taken internally, can reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers
- helps repair DNA
- has antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Cardiac glycoside drugs (e.g., digitalis) or herbs with similar properties (e.g., black hellabore, digitalis leaf, figwort, motherwort, hedge mustartd, oleander leaf) should not be used with the latex as the combination can increase risk of glycoside toxicity because of potassium depletion.
- Hypoglycemic supplements (e.g., alpha lipoic acid, chromium picolinate, vanadium, and others) or herbs (e.g., bitter melon, cinnamon, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax and Siberian ginsengs, psyllium, and others) used with aloe vera gel may increase hypoglycemic effects.
- Horsetail, licorice root, or stimulating laxatives (e.g., senna or cascara) and latex can increase potassium depletion.
- Be sure to look for the International Aloe Science Council (IASC-certified) seal on products, especially when buying aloe vera juice.
- The anthraquinones in the latex and whole leaf extracts may promote tumor growth.
- High doses of the latex (1 gram per day for several days) can cause nephritis and possible renal failure.
Pam Duff, RN, CSNC