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Aloe Vera the Medicinal House Plant

Thursday, October 27, 2016 23:51
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This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2016

While this plant is fairly common and well-known for its role in sunburn recovery, Aloe Vera is not content taking care of only one or two issues. This plant is a wonderful healing substance with plenty of uses.

Aloe Vera, the Medicinal House Plant

I must have been day dreaming last week when I poured hot water on my hand instead of into the tea pot.  Needless to say, this really hurt.  I immediately plunged the hand into a pitcher of ice water for relief, and it did feel a lot better, but the pain returned every time I removed the hand from the ice water.  Hot water burns are no fun.

Finally I settled down, and remembered we had some Aloe Vera plants growing in the back yard for the expressed purpose of treating skin burns and cuts.  I walked out to the back yard to inspect Aloe Vera planter which is now overgrown.  I cut off a nice aloe leaf with my pocket knife and split the leaf to expose the inner gel, which was then applied to my hand.  Amazingly, I experienced immediate pain relief, and the burn healed fairly quickly.

Ignored in the Back Yard for Years

I then realized that all these years, I had been ignoring the medicinal benefits of Aloe growing in my own back yard.  The Aloe plant had far more medicinal benefits than I had considered.  I thought: ”If Aloe could relieve pain and speed healing of skin burns, what are the medical benefits of ingesting Aloe as an oral preparation?“

Trying Aloe as a Drink

So I decided to try drinking the Aloe.  I sliced off a few more Aloe leaves, and then ran them through our masticating juicer.  The central gel is a transparent slimy substance.  Small amounts of the green rind also came out into the mix.  I then placed about half a cup of the gel into my blender along with some frozen cherries, protein powder and hemp oil, and made a protein shake smoothie. The concoction had a definite anti-inflammatory effect.  Lingering body aches and pains were relieved.  There was also a beneficial effect on digestion. 

Other Medicinal Benefits

Depending on the exact component of aloe, whether the green skin, or inner gel, other medicinal benefits have been reported.  Aloe has an anti-inflammatory effect, anti-microbial effect, anti-cancer effect, anti-glycemic effect, and heals skin, and bone rapidly. (1-30)

Topical Aloe for Skin Conditions

Dr. Zari found topical Aloe useful in eczema. (5) Dr. Goudarzi found Aloe effective against Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas in burn wound Infections. (6) Dr López found the leaf skin extract had anti-mycoplsma activity. (7)

Anti-Cancer Activity of Aloe

In a study involving 240 patients with metastatic cancer, those treated with aloe fared better with improved survival. (8) The authors state:

The percentage of both objective tumor regressions and disease control was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with Aloe than with chemotherapy alone, as well as the percent of 3-year survival patients.(8)

There is a case report of ocular surface cancer cured with topical aloe drops. (31) There are many other plants which have anti-cancer activity.(9)

Aloe has been studied and found effective against breast cancer cell lines (10), neuroectodermal tumors (11),  glioma cells (13) and lung cancer cells (15) by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.  Emodin, an ingredient in aloe, induces apoptosis in human squamous cell cancer. (17)

Anti-cancer mechanisms were studied.  Aloe induces apoptosis via mitochondrial caspace pathways. (33-35)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In a randomized trial of 44 outpatients with ulcerative colitis, those treated with Aloe Vers 100 ml twice daily for four weeks had improvement while the placebo treated patients did not.(23)  The authors state:

Oral aloe vera taken for 4 weeks produced a clinical response more often than placebo; it also reduced the histological disease activity and appeared to be safe.

Curcumin, another natural plant botanical was found effective for maintaining remission in quisacent Ulcerative Colitis (24)

Bone Healing – Improving Bone Density

Researchers found that acemannen in aloe significantly increased markers of bone growth, bone density and mineralization, thus serving as natural biomaterial for bone regeneration. (32)


Doctors found aloe effective as  an anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic agent for hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetic patients. (40)

Wound Healing

Aloe accelerates cutaneous (skin) wound healing. (41-43)

To learn more about natural, evidence-based benefits for Aloe Vera, use the GreenMedInfo.com Research Dashboard: 

Links and References:

1) BAŁAN, BARBARA JOANNA, et al. “Oral administration of Aloe vera gel, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory herbal remedy, stimulates cell-mediated immunity and antibody production in a mouse model.” Central European Journal of Immunology 39.2 (2014). Aloe_vera_BARBARA_BAŁAN_European_J_Immunology_2014

Aloe gel, the colorless substance obtained from the parenchymatous cells in the fresh leaves of Aloe vera, contains polysaccharides (pectins, hemicelluloses, glucomannan, acemannan, and other mannose derivatives) and it should not be confused with the laxative drug “Aloe” (bitter yellow exudate containing anthracene glycosides, product of specialized resin canal cells in the thick leaf epidermis).

2015 Major Review of Aloe Vera

2) Radha, Maharjan H., and Nampoothiri P. Laxmipriya.
Evaluation of biological properties and clinical effectiveness of Aloe vera: A systematic review.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 5.1 (2015): 21-26.

Various extracts of these Aloe species are traditionally used and their application used to cure arthritis, skin cancer, burns, eczema, psoriasis, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

3) http://ghrnet.org/index.php/joghr/article/view/1016/1110 

Yagi, Akira. “Putative prophylaxes of Aloe vera for age-related diseases.” Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research 4.1 (2015): 1407-1424.

Aloe vera or resveratrol supplementation in larval diet delayed adult aging in the fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster. Therapeutic efficacies of Aloe vera gel high molecular weight fractions for preliminary clinical treatments of type 2 diabetes[3], bed sores[4], hepatic fibrosis[5], and oral lichen planus[6] were widely evaluated.

Entire Book on Aloe Vera:

4) Vera, Aloe. “A Long, Illustrious History-Dating From Biblical Times.”  click here: aloe_vera_medicinal_plant_book_

Emodin Anti-Inflammatory:

5) Emodin inhibits TNF-induced NF-kB activation Kumar Oncogene 1998

Kumar, Ashok, Subhash Dhawan, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. “Emodin (3-methyl-1, 6, 8-trihydroxyanthraquinone) inhibits TNF-induced NF-kB activation, NF-kB degradation, and expression of cell surface adhesion proteins in human vascular endothelial cells.” Oncogene 17.7 (1998): 913-918.  “These results indicate that emodin is a potent inhibitor of NF-kB activation and expression of adhesion molecules and thus could be useful in treating various inflammatory diseases.”

5) Zari, Shadi T., and Talal A. Zari. “A review of four common medicinal plants used to treat eczema.” Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 9.24 (2015): 702-711. medicinal plants eczema Zari J Medicinal Plants 2015

6) Goudarzi, Mehdi, et al. “Aloe vera Gel: Effective Therapeutic Agent against Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolates Recovered from Burn Wound Infections.” Chemotherapy research and practice 2015 (2015). Aloe vera Pseudomonas aeruginosa Burn Wound Infections Goudarzi 2015

Leaf Skin:

7) López, Aroa, et al. “Phenolic constituents, antioxidant and preliminary antimycoplasmic activities of leaf skin and flowers of Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.(syn. A. barbadensis Mill.) from the Canary Islands (Spain).” Molecules 18.5 (2013): 4942-4954. Antimycoplasmic Activities Aloe Vera López Molecules 2013 Antimycoplasmic activity was only found in the leaf skin extract

(from simple changes in the colony morphology (CCM) as occurred in the case of Mycoplasma  agalactiae (M. agalactiae) or in greater inhibition zones (Acholeplasma laidlawii and Mycoplasma

2009 Cancer Study:

8) Lissoni, Paolo, et al. “A randomized study of chemotherapy versus biochemotherapy with chemotherapy plus Aloe arborescens in patients with metastatic cancer.” in vivo 23.1 (2009): 171-175. 

The recent advances in the analysis of tumor immunobiology suggest the possibility of biologically manipulating the efficacy and toxicity of cancer chemotherapy by endogenous or exogenous immunomodulating substances. Aloe is one of the of the most important plants exhibiting anticancer activity and its antineoplastic property is due to at least three different mechanisms, based on antiproliferative, immunostimulatory and antioxidant effects. The antiproliferative action is determined by anthracenic and antraquinonic molecules, while the immunostimulating activity is mainly due to acemannan.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:A study was planned to include 240 patients with metastatic solid tumor who were randomized to receive chemotherapy with or without Aloe. According to tumor histotype and clinical status, lung cancer patients were treated with cisplatin and etoposide or weekly vinorelbine, colorectal cancer patients received oxaliplatin plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), gastric cancer patients were treated with weekly 5-FU and pancreatic cancer patients received weekly gemcitabine. Aloe was given orally at 10 ml thrice/daily.

RESULTS:The percentage of both objective tumor regressions and disease control was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with Aloe than with chemotherapy alone, as well as the percent of 3-year survival patients.

CONCLUSION:This study seems to suggest that Aloe may be successfully associated with chemotherapy to increase its efficacy in terms of both tumor regression rate and survival time.

Aloe arborescens was given orally at a dose of 10 ml thrice daily of a mixture consisting of 300 g of Aloe fresh leaves in 500 g of honey plus 40 ml of 40% alcohol,

9) Nacci, Giuseppe. “Thousand Plants against Cancer without Chemo-Therapy.” (2008). Thousand Plants against Cancer without Chemo Nacci 2010

2006 Breat Cancer:

10) Cytotoxicity of a natural anthraquinone (Aloin) against human breast cancer cell lines with and without ErbB-2: topoisomerase IIalpha coamplification. Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Jan;5(1):97-103. Epub 2006 Jan 22. Amr Y Esmat, Catherine Tomasetto, Marie-Christine Rio Aloin against human breast cancer Cancer biology therapy Esmat 2006

2000 Emodin Anti-Cancer:

11) Cancer Res. 2000 Jun 1;60(11):2800-4. Aloe-emodin is a new type of anticancer agent with selective activity against neuroectodermal tumors.

Pecere T1, Gazzola MV, Mucignat C, Parolin C, Vecchia FD, Cavaggioni A, Basso G, Diaspro A, Salvato B, Carli M, Palù G.

Here we report that aloe-emodin (AE), a hydroxyanthraquinone present in Aloe vera leaves, has a specific in vitro and in vivo antineuroectodermal tumor activity. The growth of human neuroectodermal tumors is inhibited in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency without any appreciable toxic effects on the animals. The compound does not inhibit the proliferation of normal fibroblasts nor that of hemopoietic progenitor cells. The cytotoxicity mechanism consists of the induction of apoptosis, whereas the selectivity against neuroectodermal tumor cells is founded on a specific energy-dependent pathway of drug incorporation. Taking into account its unique cytotoxicity profile and mode of action, AE might represent a conceptually new lead antitumor drug.

As shown in Fig. 4, A and B, ? after 24 h of treatment a relevant proportion of the cells remained in the G2-M phase of the cycle (20%). After 48 h, a sub-G0 peak (60%) was observed, suggestive of the presence of apoptotic cells with fragmented DNA (Fig. 4C ? ). Typical morphological features of apoptotic cell death, with cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, and nuclear fragmentation, were also exhibited by most AE-treated cells at TEM analysis. A representative picture of this phenomenon is shown in Fig. 4, D and E?

Here we show that AE, a hydroxyanthraquinone present in Aloe vera leaves, selectively inhibits human neuroectodermal tumor cell growth in tissue cultures and in animal models. Neuroblastoma, pPNET, and Ewing’s sarcoma cells were found highly susceptible to AE, whereas human malignant cells from epithelial and blood-derived tumors, as well as human hemopoietic progenitors and normal fibroblasts, were not sensitive to this compound. This is the first report that describes the potential antitumor activity of AE.

2011 Anti-Cancer:

12) Ahirwar, Khemkaran, and Sanmati K. Jain. “Aloe-emodin novel anticancer Herbal Drug.” International Journal of Phytomedicine 3.1 (2011): 27-31. Aloe emodin anticancer Herbal Drug Ahirwar Phytomedicine 2011

Emodin Apoptosis – Anti-Cancer Effect:

13) Ismail, Samhani, et al. “Enhanced induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via the mitochondrial membrane potential disruption in human U87 malignant glioma cells by aloe emodin.” Journal of Asian natural products research 15.9 (2013): 1003-1012.

Aloe emodin, one of the active compounds found in Aloe vera leaves, plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth and death. It has been reported to promote the anti-cancer effects in various cancer cells by inducing apoptosis. However, the mechanism of inducing apoptosis by this agent is poorly understood in glioma cells. This research is to investigate the apoptosis and cell cycle arrest inducing by aloe emodin on U87 human malignant glioma cells. Aloe emodin showed a time- and dose-dependent inhibition of U87 cells proliferation and decreased the percentage of viable U87 cells via the induction of apoptosis. Characteristic morphological changes, such as the formation of apoptotic bodies, were observed with confocal microscope by Annexin V-FITC/PI staining, supporting our viability study and flow cytometry analysis results. Our data also demonstrated that aloe emodin arrested the cell cycle in the S phase and promoted the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential in U87 cells that indicated the early event of the mitochondria-induced apoptotic pathway.

14) Pecere, Teresa, et al. “Aloe-emodin is a new type of anticancer agent with selective activity against neuroectodermal tumors.” Cancer research 60.11 (2000): 2800-2804.

15) Su, Yu-Ting, et al. “Emodin induces apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells through a reactive oxygen species-dependent mitochondrial signaling pathway.” Biochemical pharmacology 70.2 (2005): 229-241.

16) Srinivas, Gopal, et al. “Molecular mechanism of emodin action: transition from laxative ingredient to an antitumor agent.” Medicinal research reviews 27.5 (2007): 591-608.  Molecular mechanism of emodin antitumor agent Srinivas Medicinal research 2007

17)   Lin, Shuw-Yuan, et al. “Emodin induces apoptosis of human tongue squamous cancer SCC-4 cells through reactive oxygen species and mitochondria-dependent pathways.” Anticancer research 29.1 (2009): 327-335.

Rheum palmatum, commonly called Turkish rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb, Chinese rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, Russian rhubarb or rhubarb root (and within Chinese herbal medicine da-huang).[1]

Emodin was isolated from Rheum palmatum L. and exhibits an anticancer effect on human cancer cell lines, however, the molecular mechanisms of emodin-mediated apoptosis in human tongue cancer cells have not been fully investigated. In this study, treatment of human tongue cancer SCC-4 cells with various concentrations of emodin led to G2/M arrest through promoted p21 and Chk2 expression but inhibited cyclin B1 and cdc2; it also induced apoptosis through the pronounced release of cytochrome c from mitochondria and activations of caspase-9 and caspase-3. These events were accompanied by the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (??m) and a decrease in the ratio of mitochondrial Bcl-2 and Bax content; emodin also promoted the levels of GADD153 and GRP78. The free radical scavenger N-acetylcysteine and caspase inhibitors markedly blocked emodin-induced apoptosis. Taken together, these findings suggest that emodin mediated oxidative injury (DNA damage) based on ROS production and ER stress based on the levels of GADD153 and GRP78 that acts as an early and upstream change in the cell death cascade to caspase- and mitochondria-dependent signaling pathways, triggers mitochondrial dysfunction from Bcl-2 and Bax modulation, mitochondrial cytochrome c release and caspase activation, consequently leading to apoptosis in SCC-4 cells.

18) Hsu, Shu-Chun, and Jing-Gung Chung. “Anticancer potential of emodin.” BioMedicine 2.3 (2012): 108-116. Anticancer potential of emodin BioMedicine Hsu 2012

19) Huang, Pao-Hsuan, et al. “Emodin and aloe-emodin suppress breast cancer cell proliferation through ERa inhibition.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013). Aloe emodin suppress breast cancer ERα inhibition Huang 2013

20) Ma, Junchao, et al. “The anthraquinone derivative Emodin inhibits angiogenesis and metastasis through downregulating Runx2 activity in breast cancer.” International journal of oncology 46.4 (2015): 1619-1628.

21) http://www.anti-agingfirewalls.com/2009/06/22/emodin-%E2%80%93-a-moving-substance/ Emodin – a moving substance  Posted on 22. June 2009 by Vince Giuliano

22) Buy Emodin Powder- http://www.extract-powder.com/extracts/Emodin%20powder

Inflammatory Bowel Disease – UC:

23) Langmead, L., et al. “Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 19.7 (2004): 739-747.

Background : The herbal preparation, aloe vera, has been claimed to have anti-inflammatory effects and, despite a lack of evidence of its therapeutic efficacy, is widely used by patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Aim : To perform a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of aloe vera gel for the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis.

Methods : Forty-four evaluable hospital out-patients were randomly given oral aloe vera gel or placebo, 100 mL twice daily for 4 weeks, in a 2 : 1 ratio. The primary outcome measures were clinical remission (Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index = 2), sigmoidoscopic remission (Baron score = 1) and histological remission (Saverymuttu score = 1). Secondary outcome measures included changes in the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index (improvement was defined as a decrease of =?3 points; response was defined as remission or improvement), Baron score, histology score, haemoglobin, platelet count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and albumin.

Results : Clinical remission, improvement and response occurred in nine (30%), 11 (37%) and 14 (47%), respectively, of 30 patients given aloe vera, compared with one (7%) [P = 0.09; odds ratio, 5.6 (0.6–49)], one (7%) [P = 0.06; odds ratio, 7.5 (0.9–66)] and two (14%) [P < 0.05; odds ratio, 5.3 (1.0–27)], respectively, of 14 patients taking placebo. The Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index and histological scores decreased significantly during treatment with aloe vera (P = 0.01 and P = 0.03, respectively), but not with placebo. Sigmoidoscopic scores and laboratory variables showed no significant differences between aloe vera and placebo. Adverse events were minor and similar in both groups of patients.

Conclusion : Oral aloe vera taken for 4 weeks produced a clinical response more often than placebo; it also reduced the histological disease activity and appeared to be safe. Further evaluation of the therapeutic potential of aloe vera gel in inflammatory bowel disease is needed.

Curcumin for UC:

24)  Hanai, H., et al. “Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association 4.12 (2006): 1502.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Dec;4(12):1502-6. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Curcumin is a biologically active phytochemical substance present in turmeric and has pharmacologic actions that might benefit patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). The aim in this trial was to assess the efficacy of curcumin as maintenance therapy in patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis (UC).

METHODS:Eighty-nine patients with quiescent UC were recruited for this randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial of curcumin in the prevention of relapse. Forty-five patients received curcumin, 1g after breakfast and 1g after the evening meal, plus sulfasalazine (SZ) or mesalamine, and 44 patients received placebo plus SZ or mesalamine for 6 months. Clinical activity index (CAI) and endoscopic index (EI) were determined at entry, every 2 months (CAI), at the conclusion of 6-month trial, and at the end of 6-month follow-up.

RESULTS:Seven patients were protocol violators. Of 43 patients who received curcumin, 2 relapsed during 6 months of therapy (4.65%), whereas 8 of 39 patients (20.51%) in the placebo group relapsed (P=.040). Recurrence rates evaluated on the basis of intention to treat showed significant difference between curcumin and placebo (P=.049). Furthermore, curcumin improved both CAI (P=.038) and EI (P=.0001), thus suppressing the morbidity associated with UC. A 6-month follow-up was done during which patients in both groups were on SZ or mesalamine. Eight additional patients in the curcumin group and 6 patients in the placebo group relapsed.

CONCLUSIONS: Curcumin seems to be a promising and safe medication for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent UC. Further studies on curcumin should strengthen our findings.

25) Rubel, Barry Lee. “Possible mechanisms of the healing actions of aloe gel.” Cosmetics and Toiletries 98 (1983): 109-114. Mechanisms of healing actions of aloe gel Barry Lee Rubel

Aloe for Cancer – Colon:

26) Pan, Qin, et al. “Inhibition of the angiogenesis and growth of Aloin in human colorectal cancer in vitro and in vivo.” Cancer Cell Int 13.1 (2013): 69. Inhibition of Angiogenesis Growth Aloin Human Colorectal Cancer_Pan Qin Cancer Cell 2013

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