Aloe vera is a stemless, drought resistant, thick and fleshy plant which finds its use in almost all the commercial products including beverages, cosmetics, medicines etc.
This widely cultivated ornamental plant, also known as the “Plant of Immortality”, is almost 99% of water.
The gel contains glycoproteins which speed up the process of healing and polysaccharides which stimulate skin growth and repair.
A form of inflammatory bowel disease is Ulcerative colitis which causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon and rectum area.
The ulcer leads to the formation of wounds which bleeds and leads to the formation of pus and mucus and the inflammation results in diarrhoea.
It can be painful and can cause life-threatening complications. The symptoms of Ulcerative colitis include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody stool, weight loss, malnourishment, anaemia, fever, joint pains, etc.
There is no permanent treatment found for ulcerative colitis yet, but various medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery can be done to prevent the worsening and reducing the intensity of the disease.
The use of aloe vera has proven to be very useful in the treatment of ulcerative colitis because it has anti-inflammatory properties and also because of its healing property which helps to reduce the ulcers.
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Benefits of Aloe Vera in Ulcerative Colitis
Aloe Vera's anti-inflammatory property, the speeding up of wound healing, the anti-oxidant property and the lowering of the production of eicosanoids and interleukin-8 by aloe vera, helps in Ulcerative Colitis.
1. It alleviates symptoms of ulcerative colitis
Aloe vera consumption has proven to help in soothing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, mainly claiming to reduce the inflammation in the patients.
Aloe vera has components (aloin, aloesin and aloe-gel), which are biologically active substances for the reduction in the concentration of the factors responsible for inflammation.
Aloesin among the three is considered to be the most effective anti-inflammatory component.
A study was done where the patients with ulcerative colitis were orally given aloe vera gel (100 ml twice daily for one month).
The aloe vera consumption showed a significant improvement in the patients causing a markedly huge reduction in the cellular symptoms and proving aloe vera to be a safe cure for the disease.
What does this mean? Aloe vera has many chemical components which can cause a significant decrease in the symptoms of Ulcerative colitis.
2. It reduces inflammation
The ulcers in the colon and rectum result in the inflammation, which is responsible to slow down the process of natural healing.
Aloe vera is found to reduce the inflammation and helps in the process of healing.
Aloe vera juice is shown to have an important sugar called mannose 6-phosphate and this sugar is proven to be an active substance involved in the healing of the wound and inhibiting inflammation.
It inhibits the production of various inflammatory agents and acts as therapeutics for the patients.
Ulcerative colitis is shown to be caused because of the overproduction of eicosanoids and interleukin-8.
The consumption of aloe vera has proven to have the inhibitory role at a specific concentration and results in lowering the release of the eicosanoids and interleukin-8 .
What does this mean? Consumption of aloe vera juice reduces inflammation, which speeds up the process of wound healing in case of ulcerative colitis.
3. It has anti-ulcer property
Ulcerative colitis includes the formation of ulcers in the colon and rectum.
An ulcer leads to the formation of lesions and causes the adherence of the leukocytes as well as an increase in the TNF-α level in the blood capillaries.
Aloe vera is found to reduce the ulcers by its healing effect.
A study has shown to reduce the leukocyte adherence and the TNF-α level (inflammation causing parameters) in the ulcers after the aloe vera treatment for 8 days.
The plant acts as a protective agent for the body cells and protects the cells against the injurious agents.
Tablets of aloe vera combined with ellagic acid are prepared and have been proven to cure gastric ulcers up to 75% .
Sometimes a bacterial infection can also lead to ulcers. In such case also aloe vera has been proven to have an anti-bacterial activity to treat the bacteria gastric infection and treat the ulcers.
What does this mean? Aloe vera is useful in case of ulcerative colitis as it is proven to help in ulcers.
4. It has anti-oxidant properties
The production of the reactive oxygen metabolites in the body is linked with the ulcerative colitis, thus the anti-oxidant treatment is proven to be very useful in curing the disease.
The consumption of aloe vera has shown to be very effective in case of intestinal inflammation, lesions, pathological condition and chemical as well as mechanical misbalance in the gut.
The aloe vera consumption inhibited the production of harmful reactive oxygen species and thus results in the treatment of the ulcerative colitis.
What does this mean? The anti-oxidant effect of aloe vera leads to decrease in the ulcerative colitis symptoms.
5. It has an immunomodulatory effect
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disorder (abnormal immune response towards the body’s own cells), where the immune cells attack the cells of the colon and lead to the ulcerative conditions.
Aloe vera can be used as an immunomodulator, to stop such an immune response and induce the anti-inflammatory effect.
It is shown to block the immune response by inhibiting the expression of various factors responsible in the process and thus providing a new approach for the treatment of ulcerative colitis .
Aloe vera is shown to have two functionally and chemically distinct compounds which are shown to possess this immunomodulatory effect.
It reduces the activation, propagation and secretion of the immune cells in the blood and thus has a suppressive effect on the immune system.
What does this mean? The consumption of aloe vera has an immunomodulatory effect on the autoimmune condition and reduces the immune response which causes ulcerative colitis.
A number of aloe vera preparations are available in the market.
The aloe vera juice can be directly consumed for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Regular consumption of 10-30 ml aloe vera juice, daily can help.
Please consult a health practitioner before taking aloe vera.
The aloe vera though being very effective has to be used carefully.
The Anthraquinones present in the plant may sometimes be responsible for allergic reactions. Thus, people with an allergy towards lilies and onions must avoid its use.
Aloe latex consumption can have a strong laxative effect. The consumption of aloe vera must be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Aloe vera may interact with diabetes medications and diuretics. Please consult a health practitioner before taking aloe vera.
Including the numerous health benefits that are provided by aloe vera, it has been proven very useful in curing the ulcerative colitis.
The anti-inflammatory property, the speeding up of wound healing, the anti-oxidant property and the lowering of the production of eicosanoids and interleukin-8 by aloe vera, helps in curing the disease.
Thus it is one of the most effective therapy in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
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