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Anti-inflammatory property of Aloe vera

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eMediNexus    20 July 2018

Aloe vera plant has been used since time immemorial for its medicinal and skin care properties. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) belongs to Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family. Aloe vera has 75 potentially active constituents including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. Aloe vera yields 4 plant steroids - cholesterol, campesterol, β-sitosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory properties while lupeol also has antiseptic and analgesic properties. It also contains alprogen, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, and C-glucosyl chromone, an anti-inflammatory compound. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Aloin and emodin, found in aloe vera, have analgesic, antibacterial and antiviral effects. Besides lupeol and salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulphur found in aloe vera also have inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria and viruses.1

The anti-inflammatory action of aloe vera is characterized by inhibition of the cyclooxygenase pathway and reduction of prostaglandin E2 production from arachidonic acid. The bradykinase enzyme in aloe vera has been found to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin.1On account of its several beneficial properties, aloe vera is use to treat seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis vulgaris, skin burns, wound healing, radiation dermatitis, acne vulgaris, lichen planus, bacterial and fungal skin infections, etc.1 Aloe vera also has a beneficial role in treating stretch marks. It also accelerates wound healing.2

Aloe vera has potential moisturizing and anti-aging effects as well. It stimulates fibroblast which produces collagen and elastin fibers, thus making the skin more elastic and less wrinkled. Aloe vera also has skin softening effects. In the treatment of dry skin, aloe vera has been shown to improve skin integrity, decrease the appearance of fine wrinkles and decrease erythema.1 Reuter et al have suggested that aloe vera could be useful in the topical treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.3

Aloe vera has emollient, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. The amino acids of aloe vera soften hardened skin cells and the zinc content of aloe vera acts as an astringent to tighten pores. Aloe vera is known to improve skin integrity and reduce erythema. Its cooling effect and moisturizing properties make it a potential agent to be used topically to manage skin irritation. Aloe vera soothes the skin, and keeps the skin moist to help avoid flaky skin.4

Therefore, aloe vera can serve as a potential topical agent to manage skin irritation and rashes.

References

  1. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: A short review. Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
  2. Tabassum N, Hamdani M. Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacogn Rev. 2014 Jan-Jun; 8(15): 52–60.
  3. Reuter J, Jocher A, Stump J, et al. Investigation of the Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Aloe vera Gel (97.5%) in the Ultraviolet Erythema Test. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2008;21:106–110.
  4. Sahu PK, Giri DD, Singh R, et al. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Aloe vera: A Review. Pharmacology and Pharmacy 2013;4:599-610.

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