Aloe vera is a succulent plant from the lily family. Traditionally, the plant has been used for medicinal purposes by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Indians, Mexicans, Japanese, and Chinese. The gel was used as a beauty mask and for treating wounds. There is a reference to the plant in Dioscorides’s De Materia Medica. Aloe vera is also a laxative in Ayurveda and other herbal medicinal systems.
The plant has also been used to treat skin disorders. Aloe vera has been tried on head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy. It is claimed that Aloe vera mouthwash can reduce radiation-induced mouth ulcers. This is attributed to its wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties (Richardson et al., 2005). However, no evidence has been found on the plant preventing or minimizing radiation-induced skin reactions in cancer patients (Richardson et al., 2005). It has been found to inhibit the proliferation of cancer and induce cancer cell death. But clinical studies indicate that the plant did not prevent radiation-therapy-induced lesions. Lesions’ appearance is delayed.
It is not recommended to be taken either orally or by injection (Ahmet et al., 2016). Bryant et al. (2002) also observed that the plant did not help with radiation-induced side effects. It was further observed not to help reduce radiation-therapy-induced ulcers in head and neck radiotherapy cases or improve patient well-being (Su et al., 2004). Some of the potential benefits of the plant include:
- Skincare: Its gel has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help with skin conditions such as sunburn, cuts, and rashes.
- Wound healing: The plant has been shown to have antimicrobial and wound-healing properties, which can help promote the healing of cuts and burns.
- Digestive health: Aloe vera juice has been used as a natural laxative to help relieve constipation.
- Immune system support: The plant contains antioxidants and polysaccharides that can help boost the immune system.
- Anti-inflammatory: Anti-inflammatory properties can help with conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Aloe vera is an interesting medicinal plant that catches the popular imagination for its laxative and moisturizing properties. The scientific support for many of its traditional medicinal uses is not yet been fully established. Aloe vera is used in a wide range of products, including skin care, cosmetic, health food and beverage, and personal care products. According to some market research reports, the global Aloe vera market is expected to grow at a significant rate in the coming years, driven by increasing demand for natural and organic products, growing awareness of the health benefits of Aloe vera, and increasing use in the food and beverage industry.
As of 2021, the Asia-Pacific region is the largest market for Aloe vera products, followed by Europe and North America. The growth of the Aloe vera market is expected to continue, driven by factors such as increasing consumer demand for natural and organic products and growing awareness of the health benefits of Aloe vera. However, it’s important to note that the industry’s size using Aloe vera as an ingredient may vary depending on the region and the product category, and the market size estimates can vary between different sources.
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