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Nom scientifique : Aloe vera

Synonyms : lily of the desert

Part(s) used 

The latex (sap) and the gel from the leaves

Principal constituents

The latex (sap) and the aloe gel both contain essential amino acids, trace elements, vitamins and enzymes. The sap also contains molecules with powerful laxative properties (antraquinones) and the gel contains pectins with powerful emollient properties.

Recognized therapeutic effects 

  • Applied externally, aloe vera gel treats skin lesions (fairly deep wounds, such as first and second degree burns)
  • Taken internally, aloe vera sap relieves occasional constipation 

Traditional use

  • Taken internally, the sap is used as a laxative
  • Used externally, aloe vera gel is used to treat minor burns and cuts, as an emollient and to promote healing of minor wounds. 

Contraindications

Sap

  • Children under 12
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Abdominal pain of unknown origin
  • Intestinal obstruction, acute intestinal inflammation
  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic or serious constipation
  • Ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Appendicitis
  • Kidney disorders
  • Varicose veins
  • Prolonged use (more than 8 to 10 days)

Gel

  • Hypoglycemia (when taken internally) 

Drug interactions

Sap (in high doses over a prolonged period)

  • May deplete potassium, resulting in increased toxicity of antiarrythmics (Procan SR, Quinidine, Inderal-LA, etc.)
  • May increase potassium deficiency caused by certain diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosémide, etc.) and the corticosteroids (Prednisone, cortisone)
  • May increase the effect of Lanoxin
  • May reduce absorption of oral medications due to an acceleration of intestinal transit (may even occur with recommended doses or with a single dose)

Gel

  • Amplifies the action of oral hypoglycemic agents (Diabeta, Diamicron)
  • Compounds the effect of oral hypoglycemic agents (Diabeta, Diamicron)

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