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 the 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. The plant is also used as 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 who have been 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 reaction 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 in 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).
Aloe vera is an interesting medicinal plant and catches popular imagination for its laxative and skin moisturizing properties. The scientific support for many of its traditional medicinal uses is not yet been fully established.
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