Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory

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Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory
Aloe vera gel can be used straight from the leaf. (aloe vera image by Magdalena Mirowicz from Fotolia.com)

Aloe vera is a lush and succulent plant originating from Africa. It’s well known for its therapeutic properties, and the gel contained in the leaves is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and minerals. Aloe vera also contains fatty acids, which work as anti-inflammatory agents, treating a variety of ailments and disorders including internal and external inflammation.

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Anti-inflammatory properties

Aloe vera contains the plant steroids Lupeol, B-Sitosterol and Campesterol, salicylic acid and salicylates. Plant steroids have natural inflammatory properties, and according to a 2006 article published by Family Health News Nutrition, aspirin and salicylic acid are similar in anti-inflammatory action. Aspirin reduces the production of prostaglandin, a lipid compound functioning to activate the inflammatory response. Salicylic acid may work in the same way, although further research is needed to determine whether the amounts of salicylates contained in aloe vera are sufficient to significantly affect the anti-inflammatory process.

Inflammation

When your body experiences external injury or internal disease, inflammation occurs. This is a normal part of your body’s healing process. Inflammation facilitates an increase of enzyme activity, assisting the transportation of infection fighting white blood cells to hasten healing. Inflammation can cause pain, swelling and irritation. These symptoms can cause more discomfort than the initial injury. Aloe vera gel reduces swelling associated with inflammation, while soothing and cooling irritation.

Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory
Aloe vera gel soothes insect stings. (Insect image by Sergey Baglov from Fotolia.com)

External injury

Bruising, insect bites, rash, acne, cuts, burns and abrasions are all examples of external injury, all of which aloe vera is known to treat. As well as being an anti-inflammatory, aloe vera has antibacterial and antiviral properties, helping to fight infection and protect the affected area from bacterial invasion. A 2006 article published by Family Health News and Nutrition made a comparison of the plant steroid in aloe vera to steroid drugs. Dr R. H. Davis reported that although steroid drugs reduce inflammation, they inhibit wound healing. Aloe vera, on the other hand, has the advantage of having both anti-inflammatory and potent healing properties that override the inhibitory effects of the plant steroid.

Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory
Aloe vera relieves sunburn. (tanned girl sitting in the sun image by Melissa Schalke from Fotolia.com)

Internal injury

Internal inflammation occurs when disease or a chronic disorder is present. Conditions such as asthma, arthritis, allergies, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis all relate to internal inflammation, and although it may be difficult for you to identify, pain is usually a strong indicator. Internal, as with external inflammation occurs when your body is in the process of repair. Toxins and a build up of waste caused by an unhealthy diet, environmental pollutants, medication, or other factors can sometimes cause or intensify internal inflammation. The removal of toxins reduces inflammation. Aloe vera juice is known to be useful in cleansing and detoxifying the system.

Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory
Aloe vera can relieve symptoms of hayfever. (flowers image by cosca from Fotolia.com)

Detox

A 2006 article on the Target Women website highlighted the cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera and its effectiveness in treating internal disorders such as peptic ulcers. Regularly drinking aloe vera juice can dislodge and dissolve toxic build up in your colon. The soothing qualities calm internal irritation and therapeutic properties heal lesions associated with ulcers. The article also emphasised the fact that anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera alkalise digestive juices to prevent access acidity.

Aloe vera as an anti-inflammatory
Mix aloe vera with your favorite fruit juice. (Juice Orange-fruits juice image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com)

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