- What is in Aloe Vera?
- Aloe Vera May Help Back Pain
- How to Use Aloe Vera?
- Consult Your Doctor for Back Pain
The aloe barbadensis miller plant is better known as aloe vera. It is a cactus-like plant that has fleshy layered leaves full of healthy compounds. For thousands of years, Aloe vera has been recognized as a healing plant for the skin. Now medical researchers are finding it can be used for more than soothing and healing skin. It can also be used to reduce joint and back pain.
What is in Aloe Vera?
The aloe vera plant looks like a cactus because it has thick shiny leaves. The leaf’s thickness is due to its three layers.
- Outer layer – a thick rind protects the inner layers of the leaf and synthesizes proteins and carbohydrates
- Middle layer – yellow sap or latex contains glycosides and anthraquinones
- Inner layer – the clear gel is made mainly of water (99 percent), with the other one percent made up of lipids, amino acids, glucomannans, vitamins and sterols
The Aloe vera plant contains a rich mix of at least 75 healing elements that can relieve pain and speed healing. The active healing components include the following.
- Vitamins – contains antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, B12, choline and folic acid
- Minerals – minerals include calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and sodium, with some being antioxidants
- Enzymes – has eight enzymes that include bradykinase, which can reduce skin inflammation
- Sugars – contains monosaccharides and polysaccharides, with some, like C-glucosyl chromone having anti-inflammatory properties
- Anthraquinones – contains 12 anthraquinones with emodin and aloin having analgesic, anti-viral, and antibacterial properties
- Hormones – gibberellin and auxin hormones aid with wound healing and can reduce inflammation
- Fatty acids – has four plant steroids which are cholesterol, B-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol and can reduce inflammation
- Amino acids – contains salicylic acid, which is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; saponins that have antiseptic and cleansing properties and lignin which enhances the ability of other ingredients to penetrate the skin
Aloe Vera May Help Back Pain
With so many active compounds, it is not surprising that this remarkable plant can deliver several health benefits. It is best known for its ability to relieve skin issues from things like burns, psoriasis, wounds, acne and issues related to diabetes. Now medical researchers are investigating Aloe vera for pain relief for more than skin conditions.
For example, researchers have found that Aloe vera has analgesic properties that can reduce neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is pain due to disease or injury impacting the somatosensory system, the neuron network that concerns your perception of pressure, touch, temperature and pain. Aloe vera contains the polysaccharide Acemannan, which was found to produce significant positive results for neuropathic pain associated with sciatic nerve ligation. This means aloe vera may reduce back pain as it reduces neuropathic pain too.
In an animal study on the effects of Aloe vera on intervertebral disk degeneration, Aloe vera gel was orally administered to several groups of rabbits in which several disks were punctured. The result was a statistically significant finding indicating a halting and then a slow reversal of spinal disk degeneration. Lumbar disk degeneration commonly causes low back pain in humans, meaning this research suggests that aloe vera may bring natural back pain relief and may reduce the need for surgery.
Back pain may also be due to muscle, tendon or ligament strain. Since it has antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, people apply Aloe vera gel for muscle pain to relieve back pain when it is due to muscle injury or inflammation. In fact, a clinical study is in progress to investigate the use of Aloe vera to treat skeletal muscle soreness and inflammation that develops due to exercise.
Aloe vera may help people experiencing joint pain due to osteoarthritis or other health issues causing joint inflammation. For example, aloe vera for knee pain can help because the herb is an anti-inflammatory agent and can help immobility. Researchers found that aloe vera gel makes an effective base for NSAID drugs for topical application for rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the oral administration of aloe vera drinking gel was found to enhance the production of antibodies which benefits the immune system.
There are different forms of aloe vera products, and they are designed for topical application or oral use. Learning how to use aloe vera for muscle pain or aloe vera for inflammation is easy. Following are some tips for using aloe vera.
- Aloe vera leaf – If using the plant’s leaves rather than a product, break open a leaf to reach the gel and apply the gel to the desired area of the skin or the joint
- Aloe vera cream – Rub into the skin or joint
- Aloe vera gel – Rub into the skin or joint
- Aloe vera juice – Drink sugar free aloe vera juice
- Aloe vera capsules, softgels and powder – Take orally
- Aloe vera powder – Made with ground dried plant leaves, mix with water, drinks or smoothies and drink or mix with just enough oil or liquid to make a paste and apply to the body
If you are using aloe vera to reduce inflammation of the skin or joints, gels and creams are a good choice.
Consult Your Doctor for Back Pain
As one of the herbs for back pain, aloe vera is considered safe when applied topically and can deliver some pain relief through the action of its many natural and healthy compounds. If you want to take aloe vera orally, be aware that some people experience side effects like abdominal cramps. Some people may also discover they have a skin allergy to some of the plant’s compounds. No matter what form of aloe vera you choose, it is important to consult your doctor first to find out the best form of aloe vera to use and to make sure it can safely meet your needs.