Inflammation of small bulging pouches (diverticulosis) found in the inner linings of the small and large intestine get infected or swollen and this is called diverticulitis.
Many people in the west eat a diet that is low in fibre and high in processed food like white bread and rice, cereals etc.
This could cause constipation and make people strain to pass stools.
This increases the pressure on the colon causing the formation of diverticulosis.
Tiny pieces of faeces could become trapped in the diverticulosis leading to inflammation and infection.
Symptoms of diverticulitis could be bloating or gas, fever, chills, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and tenderness in the abdomen (left lower side).
Treatment could include rest, antibiotics and a change in diet.
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What is Aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a perennial evergreen plant that has been native to tropical and subtropical regions like Latin America, South Africa, and the Caribbean.
Aloe gel is found in the center of each leave and the latex is yellow in color and found below the plant’s skin.
Aloe vera gel got from the thick, succulent aloe vera leaves have been used for thousands of years to heal skin infections, wound, burns, and other topical skin infections.
Aloe latex contains anthraquinone glycosides that are said to have laxative properties. Aloe vera gel contains 99% water and 1% glycoproteins, polysaccharides like glucomannan and acemannan, tannins, sterols, lipids, amino acids, enzymes and vitamins C, E, B12 and A, magnesium, zinc, calcium, essential fatty acids, and protein.
One of the ways that you can avoid diverticulitis is to adopt a series of home remedies. Foods high in fiber – whole grains, fruits and vegetables – fluids and regular exercise could improve constipation and soften feces, therefore, reducing pressure on the digestive tract.
Aloe vera juice is consumed for various health conditions. It could benefit symptoms of diverticulitis by soothing the digestive tract.
Let us learn how aloe vera can help with diverticulitis.
3 Proven Benefits Of Aloe Vera In Diverticulitis
Aloe vera can help diverticulitis patients in several ways. Thanks to aloe vera's anti-inflammatory, laxative, and prebiotic properties, it can help patients of Diverticulitis.
1. Aloe vera as a prebiotic can strengthen gut health
Microorganisms found naturally in the gut are known as probiotics.
These probiotics play a very important role in the prevention of constipation, diarrhoea and even diverticulitis.
The progression of intestinal diseases is marked by a disturbance in this natural intestinal flora. An important intestinal microbe is E. coli and it plays a very important role in the cure of diverticulitis.
Prebiotics are an important class of foods which promote the growth of probiotics.
These foods are generally non-digestible and remain in the gut for a prolonged period of time, thus promoting the growth of intestinal microflora.
Prebiotics help in the regulation of bowel movements, metabolism of lipids and glucose, prevention of pathogenic attack, etc.
The intestinal microflora depends on several factors such as health, age, genetics, etc.
Studies have shown that Aloe vera mucilage increases and promotes the growth of intestinal bacteria.
The ability of Aloe vera extracts to acts as a prebiotic mainly comes from the vast array of bioactive compounds it contains.
The extract is rich in compounds such as lectins, enzymes, vitamins, polysaccharides, anthraquinones, and amino acids.
The fermentation of Aloe extracts by these intestinal microbes improves the intestinal characteristics and helps cure diseases like diverticulitis.
What does this mean? Aloe vera extracts as prebiotics for the promotion of intestinal microflora and hence help in the cure of diverticulitis.
2. Aloe vera has a laxative property
Diverticulitis causes several intestinal complications. It causes intestinal obstructions whereby, the intestines are partially or completely blocked.
The normal bowel movement pattern is disrupted and it leads to constipation and discomfort for the patient.
Laxatives are certain substances which are used to ease constipation. They increase the bowel movement and loosen the stool to promote easy passage through the intestines.
Aloe vera extracts are known to have laxative properties. A certain organic compound, known as latex is what gives Aloe vera extract laxative properties. Latex is obtained from the pulp of the outer leaf of Aloe vera.
The latex contains a compound known as anthraquinone. Anthraquinone is a phytochemical and is one the most bioactive component of Aloe vera extracts.
One of the many kinds of anthraquinones present in the Aloe vera extract in Aloin.
Hence, consumption of Aloe vera juice helps relieve constipation and intestinal obstructions which are caused as a result of Diverticulitis and promotes normal bowel movement patterns.
What does this mean?
Consumption of Aloe vera prevents bowel obstructions caused by diverticulitis.
3. Anti-inflammatory activity of Aloe vera benefits in diverticulitis
Diverticulitis occurs due to inflammation of the large intestine. The inflammation in Diverticulitis is either localized or can even spread.
In cases where the inflammation spreads, the entire abdominal lining can get infected. This situation is known as peritonitis. Peritonitis leads to abdominal pain and spasms.
The inflammation in the case of diverticulitis is large because of an imbalance in the number of cytokines and interleukins. Hence, the control of inflammation in diverticulitis is very important.
Aloe vera extracts have been found to have anti-inflammatory activity.
The active component in the anti-inflammatory mechanism of Aloe vera is bradykinase.
This compound basically breaks down another substance called Bradykinin, which is involved in the inflammatory pathway and is a mediator of pain.
Hence, bradykinase inhibits the activity of bradykinin and stops inflammation.
Aloe vera gel also contains a compound called C-glucosyl chromone which is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
What does this mean? Consumption of Aloe vera prevents inflammation caused during Diverticulitis.
The dosage of Aloe Vera
As such, there is no hard and fast dosage of aloe for diverticulosis.
But some sources recommend that ½ cup aloe vera juice consumed thrice daily may ease inflammation of the diverticulosis and soothe the digestive tract.
In the case of internal consumption, it is generally advised to consume around 250 mL of the extract daily, in the form of juices. Start with small doses such as 10-30 ml per day.
However, it is also cautioned that it may not be safe to use oral aloe latex for constipation.
Aloin is a component which is found in Aloe vera extracts. This compound causes diarrhoea, cramps, and other intestinal disorders.
The side effects of Aloe vera are rooted particularly due to the concentration of Aloin.
Pregnant women are advised against the consumption of Aloe vera as it might cause contractions and miscarriages.
The consumption of commercially available Aloe vera juice is safer as Aloin is absent in them.
Diverticulitis is a disorder which can be harmful if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Consumption of Aloe vera is a very good means to prevent and cure diverticulitis and gives relief from the abdominal pain and discomfort.