Different aspects of Aloe vera plant use.
The Aloe vera plant has been used in folk medicine for more than 2000 years, and it remains an important component of traditional medicine in many contemporary cultures, such as China, India, the Caribbean, and Japan. Aloe vera first gained popularity in the USA in the 1930s with reports of successful use of freshly cut leaves in treating X-ray burns. Both classes of Aloe vera leaf products, gel and latex, are reported to possess a wide range of pharmaceutical activities.WHO lists the short-term treatment of occasional constipation as a use for Aloe vera latex that is supported by clinical data. The well established cathartic properties of anthraquinone glycosides provide strong evidence in support of the laxative properties of Aloe vera. The European Medicines Agency also found that the therapeutic indication as an “herbal product for short-term use in cases of occasional constipation” is a well established use of Aloe vera latex .For the gel, WHO identified no uses supported by clinical data. Traditional uses include the external treatment of minor wounds and inflammatory skin disorders. The gel may be used in the treatment of minor skin irritations, including burns, bruises, and abrasions.In recent times, the oral consumption of Aloe vera has been promoted as prophylaxis and therapy for a variety of unrelated systemic conditions. The scientific literature yields little to substantiate claims of usefulness for systemic conditions by the ingestion of Aloe vera . Aloe vera may be used in veterinary medicine as laxative or in topical applications, e.g. in udder disinfectants.
(b) Food use
Aloe vera extracts may be used in beverages as bitter flavouring agent. Food products include health and soft drinks, yoghurts, jams, instant tea granules, candies, alcoholic beverages, and ice cream. Aloe vera may also be used in food supplements. The Dietary Supplements Label Database lists 43 products that contain Aloe vera as an active ingredient in amounts of 0.33 to 750 mg per capsule. Aloe vera whole leaf extract (which combines both the gel and latex) and Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract (from which most of the latex components have been removed) are popular as dietary supplements for various systemic ailments. The anthraquinone components of these products appear to vary significantly in their content of aloe-emodin and aloin A, the major anthraquinone constituent of Aloe vera latex. evaluated 53 liquid and 30 semisolid and solid aloe-based commercial products. The liquid samples all contained either aloe-emodin or aloin A at ≤ 10 ppm, with many having no detectable levels of either of the two compounds. Unlike liquid products, many solid and semisolid products (11 out of 30) contained one or both of the compounds, aloe-emodin and aloin A, at ≥ 10 ppm.
(c) Cosmetic use
The gel may be used as emollient and moisturizer in cosmetics and personal care products. The gel is used in the cosmetics industry as a hydrating ingredient in liquids, creams, sun lotions, shaving creams, lip balms, healing ointments, and face packs. Other products containing Aloe vera include after-shave gel, mouthwash, hair tonic, shampoo, and skin-moistening gel. Aloe vera may be used in cosmetics for marketing reasons (i.e. to impart a touch of “nature” to the product) rather than for actual effects, and the content may be normally kept at a low level . A study on skin hydration found that a single application of a cosmetic formulation containing > 0.25% of a commercial freeze-dried Aloe vera gel 200:1 concentrate improved the water content of the stratum corneum. However, the concentrations of Aloe vera raw materials in cosmetics vary widely from 0.1% or less up to 20%.Anthraquinone-rich Aloe vera extracts may function as absorbers of ultraviolet radiation in suncreens, because anthraquinones absorb ultraviolet radiation. Regulatory authorities in Germany have proposed that cosmetic products for which claims are made regarding Aloe vera should contain at least 5 g of Aloe vera per 100 g of product .