Aloe Vera Juice

Alternative and traditional medicines have been used for disease prevention and treatment since ancient times, and one such medicinal plant is Aloe vera. Also known as the "healing plant," Aloe vera has more than 400 identified species and belongs to the Aloeacea or Liliaceae family.1,2,3

Aloe vera is a perennial xerophyte plant, similar in appearance to cactus with thick, fleshy, and long leaves.1

Aloe vera leaf has three main layers: 4

  • A clear inner gel – Contains 99% water, and the rest is made of solids such as polysaccharides, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins.
  • The middle layer – Latex, which is the bitter yellow sap and contains anthraquinones and glycosides.
  • The thick outer layer – Cells termed rind, which possesses protective function and synthesizes carbohydrates and proteins.

Aloe vera whole leaf extract or Aloe vera juice is the product obtained from grinding the entire leaf and removing the anthraquinones such as aloin through filtration.1

Aloe vera gel contains 99% water and 0.5–1% solids. The solids constitute vitamins, minerals, enzymes, polysaccharides, polyphenols, sterols, indoles, phenolic and organic acids. Many of the medicinal activities of Aloe vera leaves extract are attributed to the polysaccharides; however, most activities take place due to the combined action of all its chemical materials.6

Aloe vera has been used since 1500 BC for its curative and therapeutic properties. Aloe vera is well-known for its anti-inflammatory, skin protection, anti-bacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and wound healing properties.6,7

Aloe vera gel is a part of many cosmetic and alternative medicines for rejuvenation, wound healing, and other dermatologic conditions such as cold sores.8

Aloe Vera in Herpes Infection

Herpes simplex virus – 1 (HSV-1) infection or herpes infection is a bothersome condition, with acyclovir resistance becoming a common problem. In vitro studies have demonstrated the anti-HSV-1 activity of Aloe vera, which make it a viable candidate for anti-herpetic products.5

Rezazadeh et al. evaluated the anti-HSV-1 activity of Aloe vera gel in a cell culture system. To determine the anti-HSV-1 activity, vero cells (a lineage of cells used in cell cultures) were treated with Aloe vera gel extracts after HSV-1 adsorption. Plaque reduction assays evaluated the antiviral effect of Aloe vera gel extract. The study detected the significant inhibitory effect of Aloe vera gel on HSV-1 growth. As per the authors, this inhibitory effect of Aloe vera against HSV-1 may be due to polysaccharides, emodin, or anthraquinone.5

Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of Aloe vera to treat wounds such as psoriasis, cold sores, ulcers, diabetes, herpes, bedsores, and burn wounds.5

Aloe vera promotes wound healing by increasing the amount of collagen and increasing collagen cross-linking. Aloe vera also promotes proliferation and migration of fibroblasts and keratinocytes and protects keratinocytes from preservative-induced death.5

Chithra et al. evaluated the effect of Aloe vera gel on full-thickness wounds in diabetic rats. The study found that Aloe vera may enhance the process of wound healing by affecting fibroplasia, collagen synthesis, and wound contraction.9

A study by Naeini et al. evaluated the effects of different concentrations of Calendula officinalis gel on collagen and hydroxyproline content of the skin. Calendula officinalis gel was examined in rats receiving a 2 × 2 cm skin incision. The study found that collagen production in the group treated with 7% gel was significantly more than the placebo and the control group.7

Evaluation of the wound-healing effects of Calendula officinalis flower extracts found that the inflammatory phase is influenced by activation of the transcription factor NF-kB activation coupled with increased levels of the chemokine, IL-8. A significant but moderate decrease in collagenase activity compared to control was also observed.8

A 2009 study evaluated the effects of Calendula officinalis flower extract on excision wounds made in rats. The study assessed the days required for re-epithelization and the percentage of wound closure. The results demonstrated potent wound healing activity of Calendula officinalis extract – the percentage of wound closure was 90.0% in the extract-treated group. In contrast, the control group showed only 51.1% on the eighth day of wounding. The days needed for re-epithelization were 17.7 for the control animals, while it was 14 days with Calendula extract.9

The skin regenerative properties of Aloe vera are due to glucomannan, which is rich with polysaccharides such as mannose. Glucomannan affects fibroblast growth factor receptors and stimulates their activity and proliferation, which increases the production of collagen.5,10

Scientific studies show that aloe gel can increase skin flexibility and reduce the skin’s fragility since 99% of the gel is water. Additionally, mucopolysaccharides, along with amino acids and zinc present in Aloe vera, can lead to skin integrity, moisture retention, erythema reduction and helps to prevent skin ulcers.11

Another well-known property that makes Aloe vera a key ingredient in dermatological preparations is its moisturizing properties. The retention of water and the hydration balance in the superficial skin layers ensures the skin’s elasticity and flexibility.12,13

The moisturizing effect of Aloe vera supports its use in the treatment of dry skin. The polysaccharide component of Aloe vera is responsible for the moisturizing properties. When applied to the forearm of 20 female subjects, formulations containing Aloe vera extract increased the water content of the stratum corneum. Aloe vera extract improves skin hydration, possibly through a humectant mechanism.12

  1. Laux A, Gouws C, Hamman JH. Aloe veragel and whole leaf extract: functional and versatile excipients for drug delivery?. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2019;16(12):1283-1285.
  2. Hamman JH. Composition and applications of Aloe vera leaf gel. Molecules. 2008;13(8):1599-1616.
  3. Sánchez-Machado DI, López-Cervantes J, Sendón R, Sanches-Silva R. Aloe vera: ancient knowledge with new frontier. Trends Food Sci Tech. 2017;61:94–102.
  4. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(4):163-166.
  5. Rezazadeh F, Moshaverinia M, Motamedifar M, Alyaseri M. Assessment of Anti HSV-1 Activity of Aloe Vera Gel Extract: an In Vitro Study. J Dent (Shiraz). 2016;17(1):49-54.
  6. Hekmatpou D, Mehrabi F, Rahzani K, Aminiyan A. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review. Iran J Med Sci. 2019;44(1):1-9.
  7. Shelton RM, Aloe vera. Its chemical and therapeutic properties. Int J Dermatol. 1991;30:679–83. 
  8. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(4):163–166.
  9. Chithra P, Sajithlal GB, Chandrakasan G. Influence of Aloe veraon the healing of dermal wounds in diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998;59(3):195–201.
  10. Boudreau MD, Beland FA. An evaluation of the biological and toxicological properties of Aloe barbadensis (miller), Aloe vera. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. 2006;24(1):103-154.
  11. West DP, Zhu YF. Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure. Am J Infect Control. 2003;31(1):40-42. 
  12. Dal’Belo SE, Gaspar LR, Maia Campos PM. Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques. Skin Res Technol. 2006;12(4):241-246.
  13. Fox LT, du Plessis J, Gerber M, et al. In Vivo skin hydration and anti-erythema effects of Aloe vera, Aloe ferox and Aloe marlothii gel materials after single and multiple applications. Pharmacogn Mag. 2014;10(Suppl 2):S392-S403.

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