Is aloe vera peeling harmful?

Aloe vera as a medicinal plant: application and effects

What healing properties does aloe vera have?

Everyone knows the picture of a freshly cut aloe vera leaf pressed onto a skin wound. With a few plants you can make direct use of their healing properties. Because the latex in the succulent leaves of aloe vera and other species of this plant genus contains anti-inflammatory and laxative ingredients. The medicinal plant can be used for various problems.

Aloe vera for skin diseases

The milky sap contained in the leaves and the gel obtained from it are used. The juice and gel contain multiple sugars, glycoproteins, amino acids, minerals and salicylic acid, which work together to accelerate wound healing. When treating light burns and cuts, aloe vera juice has a cooling and moisturizing effect, thereby promoting the healing process.

Aloe vera for skin care

Aloe vera is not only popular as a medicinal plant, it is also part of many skin care products. Its cooling and moisturizing properties are used in special care products for sunburn, insect bites and neurodermatitis. The cleansing effect of aloe vera is said to help against acne and as a shampoo it promises to alleviate itchy, dry scalp.

Aloe vera as a laxative

Taken orally in the correct dosage, the sap can also be used as a laxative. The active ingredient is obtained from the outer leaf layers of the aloe, where there are a particularly large number of anthranoids, the main component of which is the substance aloin. Anthranoids are bound to sugar molecules and reach the large intestine, where they bind to the intestinal mucosa to inhibit the absorption of water and salts and thus accelerate the bowel movement.

How is aloe vera used?

A fresh aloe leaf can be used for wound care for cuts, small burns or sunburn. To do this, cut the leaf into two to three parts and let the juice drip directly onto the wound or squeeze out the leaf over it. Healing ointments with aloe vera extract from the pharmacy also serve the same purpose.

The directly obtained aloe juice and the juices made from it have too little effect as a laxative. That is why aloe preparations such as coated tablets, pills or tinctures are used to treat constipation. They are also given after bowel surgery, anal fissures or hemorrhoids to make bowel movements easier.

What side effects can aloe vera cause?

No side effects have yet been documented with the external use of aloe vera juice. With longer internal use of laxative aloe preparations, the intestinal mucous membranes are irritated and the intestinal sluggishness can reappear or even intensify. You should therefore stop taking it after two weeks at the latest. Otherwise, the body could lose too many electrolytes, which can even cause heart problems or muscle weakness. Like all laxatives, aloe supplements can cause cramp-like gastrointestinal complaints if the dosage is too high and particularly sensitive. Sometimes the urine turns red during use, but this is harmless to health. It should also be remembered that laxatives such as aloe vera can prevent the absorption and thus the effectiveness of other drugs.

What should you watch out for when using aloe vera?

Skin care products with aloe vera are available in pharmacies, drugstores and health food stores, as well as food supplements and aloe drinks. Laxative finished medicinal products with aloe vera such as coated tablets, pills or tinctures are available in pharmacies. Please note the instructions for use and ask the pharmacy for advice if anything is unclear.

What kind of plant is aloe vera?

With its fleshy, prickly leaves that grow out of the earth in a rosette-like manner, Aloe vera resembles cacti or agaves, but it belongs to the family of grass trees (Xanthorrhoeaceae). Its original home is probably the Arabian Peninsula, from where it was spread to all tropical to subtropical regions because of its medicinal properties that were recognized early on. Because of its sensitivity to frost, we cultivate it as a houseplant or winter garden plant. It is best to plant them in a pot with cactus soil, make sure there is good drainage and place them outdoors in full sun during the warm months.

In nature, the succulent aloe vera reaches about 60 centimeters in height and width. Its fleshy, water-storing leaves have thorns on the edges and taper to a point. When the winter is cool but light, a long flower stalk forms from January onwards. It bears the yellow, orange or red tubular flowers arranged in clusters. Aloe vera has been used as a medicinal plant for skin diseases since ancient times. It was first mentioned in writing in German-speaking countries in the 12th century. In addition to the "real" aloe vera, the Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox) is also used as a medicinal plant, as the same ingredients can be obtained from it. However, the Cape Aloe forms an upright trunk that carries the succulent leaves and is up to three meters high. As its name suggests, it is originally from South Africa.