Aloe vera is a thick green cactus-like plant which was once grown abundantly as weed, is now, a plant of high medicinal value.
Although the medicinal uses of aloe vera trace its history into the ancient Egyptian times, the advent of technology has brought it in limelight.
It is extensively used in almost everywhere; let it be skin treatment, hair care or any health issue, aloe vera finds a cure for all.
The small green stemless plant with fleshy green prickly leaves having a translucent gel inside has a whole world of wonder inside it.
Almost 75 active ingredients have been isolated from the aloe vera gel and all of them have been found to have some therapeutic effect.
The pulp inside the leaf is made up of 98.5% water, and the rest 1.5% has various compounds like vitamins A, B, C & E, minerals, enzymes, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds and organic acids .
Aloe barbadensis, commonly called Aloe vera, has been proven to be beneficial in case of wound healing, as it promotes the formation of blood vessels and thus boosts the healing process.
The natural lining of the stomach protects it from damage.
This thick layer can be reduced by many ways like a bacterial infection, long-term intake of drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, or excessive acidity in the stomach, which results in the digestive juice to eat away the stomach lining and resulting in painful sores called ulcers.
This may lead to symptoms like stomach ache, indigestion, heartburn, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, weight loss etc.
The lesions in the stomach lining can be cured by the use of aloe vera because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity.
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Benefits of Aloe Vera in Stomach Ulcers
Aloe Vera plays an important role in remedying, protecting and healing of the ulcers.
The use of aloe vera juice in easing the pain of ulcers and repairing the walls of the stomach is very well known.
Aloe vera juice in the treatment of ulcers is recommended because of its following properties:
1. It reduces inflammation
Any injury in the body is characterized by inflammation, which slows down the process of natural healing.
Aloe vera is found to be most effective in healing the wound and reducing the inflammation.
Aloe vera juice is shown to have mannose 6-phosphate as an important sugar and this sugar is proven to be actively involved in the healing of the wound and inhibiting inflammation.
It is studied that the treatment with aloe vera is found to reduce the leukocyte adherence (which is increased in case of ulcers) and TNF-α level (which causes the inflammation), elevate IL-10 level (which is an anti-inflammatory agent) and promotes healing by reducing inflammation.
What does this mean? Consumption of aloe vera juice reduces inflammation, which speeds up the process of wound healing in case of Stomach ulcers.
2. It heals stomach ulcers
The stomach ulcers lead to the formation of deep lesions or wound in the wall of the stomach and hence the normal functioning of the tissue is interrupted.
The healing of the wound results in restoring the normal functioning of that tissue. The oral use of aloe vera has been proven to be effective in wound healing.
A study was done to find the compare the effectiveness of aloe vera in ulcer treatment as compared to conventional treatments (Iran, 2015).
The comparative study showed that the use of aloe vera along with the conventional method speeded the healing process.
The cost of aloe vera gel was found to be $2 and that of conventional treatment was found to be $10.
Thus aloe vera was found to be beneficial and cost-effective treatment as compared to the conventional treatment in patients with stomach ulcers.
It is recommended as an effective treatment in developing countries to reduce the financial burden.
What does it mean? Both oral use as well as external application of aloe vera is effective in healing the wound.
3. It has an anti-bacterial effect
Stomach ulcers are mainly caused by the infection of bacteria in the body called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
The antibiotics, as well as anti-bacterial agents, can be used to fight against the bacterial infection in the body.
With the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the new anti-bacterial agents from the natural sources are proved to be very useful in killing the bacteria.
The aloe vera gel has been found to be anti-bacterial against many strains of bacteria. This anti-bacterial activity is found because of the presence of anthraquinones in the leaf exudate of aloe vera.
A study suggests that the use of aloe vera along with antibiotics can act as a very useful anti-bacterial agent for the Helicobacter pylori infection .
What does this mean? Aloe vera has an anti-bacterial property which can kill the bacteria in the stomach and thus killing the cause of the ulcer.
4. It reduces symptoms of acid reflux
The gastric acid (consisting of Hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride) is produced in the stomach which helps in the digestion of the food.
The production of gastric acid in case of ulcers worsens the case as the mucus layer is absent to protect the stomach wall from the acid produced.
The gastric acid production can be regulated by the aloe preparation at low concentration. Aloe vera is found to directly interact with the acid producing cells and inhibit the production of the gastric acid.
A study was conducted on 79 people having gastroesophageal reflux disease, where aloe vera syrup was given for 4 weeks.
Aloe vera was also proven to decrease the symptoms of heartburn, vomiting, gas in the stomach, belching, discomfort in swallowing, nausea, vomiting and acid reflux in the mouth.
This indicates that aloe vera can be useful in case of ulcers to a great extent.
What does this mean? Aloe vera reduces acid reflux like symptoms and can help in the prevention of ulcers.
5. It protects stomach
Aloe vera is proven to have a gastroprotective effect. A study shows that the treatment of the gastric ulcers by aloe vera resulted in a decrease of the Nitric Oxide synthesis and improving antioxidant defense.
This decrease in the Nitric Oxide directly protects the gastric mucus layer from the damages due to ulcers.
The ulcers result in the reduction of the mucus layer of the stomach, which is present there to protect the stomach wall from the acid produced in the stomach.
The reduction in the mucus content results in the destruction of the stomach wall.
Aloe vera is found to increase the mucus secretion in the stomach and thus acting as a cure for stomach ulcers.
What does it mean? The aloe vera has a protective property which protects the stomach from the damages caused due to ulcers.
Research Study – Aloe vera Benefits In Acid Reflux & GERD
This study was conducted to analyse the effect of aloe vera juice on the patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease and also compare its effects with other antacids like omeprazole and ranitidine.
The study included 79 patients age between 18-65 years. These patients were randomly given different treatments with Aloe vera syrup, omeprazole capsule or ranitidine tablet. The dosage of each medicine was defined:
- Aloe vera syrup was given 10ml per day. The syrup was standardized to 5.0mg polysaccharide per ml of syrup.
- Omeprazole capsule was given 20mg per day.
- Ranitidine tablet was given 150mg in the morning and then 150 mg before sleep.
The study lasted for 4 weeks. After 2nd and 4th weeks patients were checked for eight main symptoms of GERD (heartburn, food expulsion, intestinal gas, burping, dysphagia (discomfort in swallowing), nausea, vomiting, and acid expulsion).
The goal was to analyse the effect of aloe vera on patients showing the various symptoms of GERD.
How efficient aloe vera syrup is in fighting those symptoms and what relief could this cause to the patient suffering from GERD.
What were the results of the study?
The result of the study shows a significant reduction in the GERD symptoms at an interval of both 2 and 4 weeks of treatment in all the groups.
The aloe vera group showed a reduction in all the GERD symptoms at both 2 weeks and 4 weeks as compared with the baseline or untreated patients.
In the omeprazole and ranitidine group, the frequency of all assessed symptoms of GERD was also reduced significantly compared with the data recorded at the start.
A trend in the increased frequency of heartburn was seen in all the groups at 4th week as compared to that at 2nd week.
Adverse events resulting in two drop-outs each from omeprazole and ranitidine groups while no drop-out took place from the aloe vera group.
This indicates that the side effects from the omeprazole and ranitidine were intolerable to the patients as compared to the relief these chemicals give.
While aloe vera show the least side effects and these few side effects were comparably tolerable.
How does this occur?
It has been believed that GERD is a result of inflammation and oxidative stress. Hence aloe vera reducing the symptoms of GERD is due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe vera inhibits the activity of cyclooxygenase (an enzyme involved in stabilizing superoxide in the cell), has an ability to scavenge superoxide anions, reduce lipid peroxidation and up-regulates antioxidant enzymes; hence it acts as a potent antioxidant.
In a study it was found that aloe vera reduces oxidative damage to the liver due to various toxins like Carbon tetrachloride which can lead to hepatotoxicity.
Also, aloe vera suppress the expression of lipid-producing genes so insulin resistance improves and the toxic effect of lipid on liver get reduced. Since the liver is the most vital organ for digestion, so this hepatoprotectant nature of aloe vera can improve digestion and prevent heartburn (a major symptom of GERD).
It was also found out that aloe vera reduce the chances of leukocyte infiltration (movement of white blood cells outside the blood to the infected area) and TNF-alpha concentration in infection with Helicobacter pylori.
This is the indication of a strong antimicrobial effect of aloe vera against H.pylori (bacteria which has the tendency to damage the gastroesophageal lining) and hence the effect of gastric acid secretion on stomach lining gets reduced.
Aloe vera contains lectins which inhibit the aminopyrin uptake by acid-secreting cells of the stomach so acid secretion is reduced.
Hence, damage to oesophageal lining can be prevented.
Aloe vera leaf extracts contain a glycoprotein called aloctin A, which reduces the volume of gastric juice, acid and pepsin production in the stomach. It also inhibits the appearance of gastric lesions.
Also, the polymer fraction of aloe vera protects the gastric mucosa (outer layer of the stomach) against erosion.
Phytosterols (plant steroids) present in the aloe vera help in lowering blood glucose concentrations; hence digestion is improved and GERD symptoms get reduced.
What does this mean?
This implies that aloe vera syrup provides easy, safe and effective treatment and reduce the frequency of GERD symptoms significantly.
So aloe vera should be given to the patients suffering from GERD on a daily basis to get relief from this disease naturally.
Also because aloe vera is less expensive, easily available and has many therapeutic activities other than treating GERD for example peptic ulcers, diabetes, etc. and also it does not cause any side effect.
Aloe vera syrup can be very beneficial for health if taken regularly.
Read the full article on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26742306
Many aloe vera preparations are available in the market. The aloe vera gel can be directly consumed to treat ulcers. No specific dose is identified.
One can consume 1-2 tsp of fresh aloe vera gel daily. You can also consume 10-30 ml aloe vera juice daily as a part of other juices.
Please consult a health practitioner before consuming aloe vera.
Every ingredient in nature possesses some threats to the health if consumed inappropriately or in an excess amount.
The aloe vera gel can be allergic to a few people and thus the allergic reactions must be checked prior to use.
The aloe vera gel or latex, if consumed orally, can be unsafe for pregnant women.
Prolonged use of aloe vera latex can cause diarrhoea, kidney problem, blood in urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss, and heart disturbances.
Oral consumption of aloe vera gel or latex by children below the age of 12 years is considered unsafe and should be avoided.
Tracing the huge health benefits that aloe vera provides, it has proven to be very useful in the case of stomach ulcers.
Appropriate consumption of aloe vera can help in the reduction of the ulcer condition by altering the mucus content and reducing inflammation of the stomach wall and healing the ulcers.
The aloe vera is proven to be useful in stomach ulcer cases because of its anti-inflammatory property, healing effect, anti-bacterial effect and mucus stimulatory effect, the regulatory effect on gastric juices and cytoprotective effect.
It can be used as a very effective natural remedy for stomach ulcer patients.
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