Can Aloe Vera Be Used As An Anti Inflammatory?
A question often searched for and one we are asked here quite a lot is Can Aloe Vera be used as an anti-inflammatory? We will try and delve into some research that we have come across online and try to put a few answers together for you. Inflammation is the main cause of illness nowadays and it is important to treat it sooner rather than later.
There is no part of the body immune to inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to an injury, irritation, or infection.
Inflammation occurs when chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected area as a means of protection.
The release of these chemicals increases the blood flow to the affected area, stimulating regeneration and healing. Also as a result of the increased blood supply and fluids to the area, redness and swelling occur.
Due to the increased tissue activity in the area, warmth may also occur. Sometimes pain accompanies inflammation but not always because if the inflammation is affecting an organ, many organs do not have many pain-sensitive nerves.
Acute inflammation is a sudden, strong reaction to injury, irritation, or infection.
If there is difficulty overcoming the infection the formation of pus may occur. Chronic inflammation is the body’s continual protective reaction to repeated exposure to the causative agent.
Although the process of inflammation is to protect the body, when the response is beyond what is required, then inflammation becomes harmful.
Conditions like arthritis, allergies, and asthma are good examples of the results of an out-of-control inflammatory response.
Treatment for inflammation
Anti-inflammatory medications, herbs and health supplements with anti-inflammatory qualities, and anti-inflammatory foods are various forms of treatment for inflammation.
As mentioned earlier, white blood cells release chemicals when the body has been injured, irritated, or infected.
Some of the chemicals produced during this process are prostaglandins. COX (cyclooxygenase)enzymes are what release the prostaglandins.
One of the effects of Prostaglandins is to aid in regulating the inflammatory process.
Medications, herbs, and health supplements that are used to treat inflammation can inhibit COX enzymes, thus decreasing the swelling of inflammation.
Aloe Vera as an Anti-inflammatory
Researchers in Mexico found that Aloe vera inhibits COX-2, thus it is useful in decreasing the swelling caused by inflammation without the unwanted side effects of COX-2 drugs. (1)
Bradykinin is a peptide that is involved in many physiological processes in the body such as pain, allergies, and chronic and acute inflammation. One of the enzymes in Aloe vera is bradykinase, which breaks down bradykinin. (2)(3)
Lupeol, a plant sterol, is found in several plants including Aloe vera. Lupeol displays antimicrobial, antitumor, and antiinflammatory properties. (4)
MMPs(matrix metalloproteinases) are neutral proteinases that are involved in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions and processes including inflammation and arthritis. MMP-9, a major secretion of white blood cells, is linked to tissue damage and degenerative inflammatory disorders.
The anti-inflammatory activity of Aloe vera has been investigated through MMP inhibition studies. The results showed that Aloe vera caused a significant reduction in the production of MMP-9.(5)
Salicylic acid has pain relieving properties and reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandins. Aspirin (acetysalicylic acid) is chemically derived from natural salicylic acid. Aloe vera contains salicylic acid. (6)
Aloe vera is a good choice as an anti-inflammatory because of its versatility. It not only can be used internally and externally, it reduces inflammation by inhibiting different aspects of the inflammation process, and by promoting tissue regeneration (which also helps to reduce inflammation).
Aloe Vera is natural, gentle, and effective, without the harsh side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
1. Vazquez B, Avila G, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of extracts from Aloe vera gel. J Ethnopharmacol. 1996;55(1):69-75.
2. “Bradykinase Activity in Aloe Extract: Fujita, K., Teradaira, R. & Nagatsu, T., BiochemicalPharmacology 25 205, 1976.
3. Bautista-Perez R, Segura-Cobos D, Vasquez-Cruz B. In vitro antibradykinin activity of Aloe barbadensis gel. J Ethnopharmacol. July 2004;93(1):89-92.
4. Davis, R, Donato S, et al. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of a growth substance in aloe vera. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 1994;84 (2):77-81.
5. Vijayalakshmi, D, et. al. In vitro anti inflammatory activity of Aloe vera by down regulation of MMP-9 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 7 May 2012 (1):542-546.
6. Moghaddasi,S, Kumar Verma, S. Aloe vera their chemicals composition and applications: A review. Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(1):466-471
If you would like to read more about the adverse reactions to taking Aloe Vera please click on the highlighted link.
Stay Healthy Folks ;)