As a topical application, use of Aloe vera for psoriasis lesions is quite common. Aloe vera gel when applied on the lesions, soothes them and relieve the inflammation. It reduces the scale thickness also, if used regularly. Going further, if we drink non flavored, pure aloe vera juice, it acts as a mild laxative and detoxifies the whole digestive tract. It is alkaline in nature with potent immune strengthening properties.
A Brief about the Aloe Vera plant
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant found all across the world. Succulent plants are those whose leaves store a lot of water. Aloe vera is a short stemmed and thick plant that preserves water in its leaves. It has the reputation of a trusted medicinal plant since ages. Along with neem, it is one of the most researched medicinal plants in clinical laboratories. The US FDA has approved aloe vera as an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for skin burns way back in 1959. OTC medicines are those which can be sold without doctor’s prescription. Various studies have revealed that consuming aloe vera juice in higher amounts can encourage the production of white blood cells over a period of time that can help you fight cancer causing viruses. Use of Aloe vera gel has been found extremely useful in healing various inflammatory skin conditions like burn, minor cuts, acne, psoriasis and eczema. Aloe vera juice has been found quite effective in dealing with various gut related disorders like stomach ulcer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, indigestion, acid reflux and constipation.
Aloe Vera Composition
About 99% of aloe vera is water. The rest of the 1% constitutes various nutrients which work in cohesion to bring out the various health benefits of this wonderful plant.
Aloe vera (the gel filled in aloe vera leaves) provides you:
- Vitamins– Vitamins A, B complex (including B12), C and E and folic acid. Benefits of Vitamin A,C and E for skin are well known. These are antioxidants. Vitamin A is a universal immunity booster. B complex vitamins promotes body metabolism. Here, it is important to note that a standard dosage of aloe vera juice (10 to 20 ml per day) is going to provide only a trace amount of most of these vitamins against the daily requirements. But, the good thing is- aloe vera juice would help absorb all these vital vitamins from the other food sources that you would intake. Hence, you would extract more values from the foods if you consume aloe juice along.
- Minerals– More than 9 different minerals- Potassium, sodium, zinc, calcium, chromium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. These minerals are required by various enzymes for proper body functioning.
- Amino acids– 7 out of the 8 essential amino acids (which your body can’t synthesize by itself). In total, 18 amino acids out of 20 amino acids that your body needs. Do remember that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in your body.
- Enzymes– 8 different enzymes to promote gut health and reduce inflammation.
- Fatty acids– Aloe vera contains 4 plant sterols: beta-sitosterol (anti-inflammatory), campesterol, HCL-cholesterol (lowers fat in blood) and lupeol (antiseptic).
- Salicylic acid– Aloe vera contains natural salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic in nature.
- Sugars– It contains monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides (glucomannans). These mono and polysaccharides together can provide anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and immune stimulating properties.
- Anthraquinones– It contains 12 anthraquinones, which are laxatives and promote healthy digestion.
Aloe Vera for Psoriasis
Use of Aloe Vera for Psoriasis healing can be categorized in two different forms:
- Aloe vera gel- Applying aloe vera gel directly on the affected skin is an effective natural alternative against various steroids based topical creams and ointments. These topical steroids based pharma products have long term side effects. On the other hand, aloe vera gel is a natural plant based medicine which is free from any side effects even if used in the long term. Various natural shampoo and soaps also contain aloe vera gel as one of the chief ingredients and can help manage psoriasis symptoms.
- Aloe vera juice- Regular consumption of aloe vera juice can be very effective because it is a natural body cleanser, aids in digestion and it is anti inflammatory in nature.
Aloe Vera gel for topical application
The root cause of psoriasis lies in our gut. The psoriasis lesions on our skin are just a reflection that one internal body health is not in order. Compromised digestive system, food sensitivities, chronic stress and in some cases the faulty genes- these things lead to damaging of intestinal (gut) walls. The leaky gut walls would allow seepage of undigested food, bacteria and body wastes to enter your bloodstream and circulate throughout. Your immune system- the first line of defense against these invaders would comes into action and trigger an auto-immune reaction resulting in skin inflammation and exponential growth of skin cells to develop thick psoriasis patches on various parts of the body.
Hence, the actual psoriasis healing would always be inside-out. It consists of -Internal body detox, repairing of the digestive tract and stress management.
Holistic healing of psoriasis has 5 main pillars:
- A restrictive psoriasis diet
- Healthy lifestyle
- Dietary herbs and supplements
- Stress management
- Use of natural/ herbal topical solutions
Among various natural topical treatments (soap, shampoo and creams), use of Aloe vera is quite common. Aloe vera based natural shampoos can help manage scalp psoriasis symptoms without damaging the natural moisture and shine of your hairs. Unlike steroidal shampoos, long term use of aloe vera shampoo wouldn’t make your hairs brittle and lifeless.
Aloe vera gel is very effective in soothing down the skin irritation associated with psoriasis flakes. Also, it lessens the thickness of psoriasis flakes. I am saying it by my own experience.
As mentioned earlier, 99% of aloe vera is water. Hence, it can hydrate and moisturize your skin very well. Also, it can seep through the multiple layers of your skin quickly. Regular use of aloe vera gel on my skin flakes reduced the skin irritation effectively and there were visible reduction in the psoriasis flakes thickness. Aloe Vera gel moisturizes the skin for a longer period of time and develops a protective layer over the skin avoiding the bacterial attacks on the skin.
An animal (mice) research study published in the magazine Phytotherapy Research, April 2012 compared antipsoriatic activity of aloe vera gel against tazarotene. Tazarotene is a conventional pharma based topical formulation to slow down the growth of skin cells. The antipsoriatic activity of aloe vera gel was found to be at par with tazarotene.
Salicylic acid is a proven antiseptic agent. Aloe vera gel contains natural salicylic acid. A lot of steroids based topical creams and ointments for psoriasis contain synthetic salicylic acid. These creams do contain other chemicals also to increase the shelf life and effectiveness. That’s why they can have potential side effects if used in the long term. On the other hand, aloe vera gel contains natural salicylic acid without any side effects.
So, I can surely recommend using aloe vera gel for reducing skin irritation and psoriasis flakes thickness. But let me again assertively say that external topical application should not be considered as a cure for psoriasis. Positive changes in diet and lifestyle (along with dietary supplements) is the best way to deal with psoriasis. Use of natural topical options like aloe vera gel will work in cohesion with dietary and lifestyle changes to speed up the healing process.
Aloe Vera juice for internal healing
Various health benefits of aloe vera juice related to psoriasis can be summed up as:
- Promotes Digestive health
- Reduces body inflammation
- Strengthen the body immunity
How Aloe Vera Juice improves Digestive health
- Aloe vera juice detoxifies the whole digestive tract. Aloe vera is a gelatinous (gel like) plant food. It is the natural tendency of gelatin to attract and bind water to itself. Hence, aloe vera juice would move through the intestinal tract absorbing various body toxins and eliminating them through the colon.
- Its laxative properties (thanks to its anthraquinones content) can treat constipation and promote smooth bowel movements.
- Aloe vera contains 8 enzymes. These enzymes help in breaking down the food sugar and fats to improve digestion and promote healthy bacteria in your gut.
- Aloe vera juice enhances the absorption of vitamins from the food you eat. If you are taking dietary supplements to make up for the nutritional deficiency of various vitamins, then drinking aloe vera juice can enhance the absorption of these vitamins in your body. It is good to know that it is equally effective for both, water soluble (vitamin B12) and fat soluble (vitamin E) vitamins.
- Aloe vera possesses powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. In a study of more than 300 people, it was found that aloe vera juice rinse is as effective as chlorhexidine (mouthwash ingredient) in reducing dental plaque. The point is- aloe vera juice can combat the growth of bacteria and yeast in your mouth (and body). Hence, aloe vera juice can help you to get rid of Candida.
How Aloe Vera Juice helps reduce Inflammation
We have already discussed about the anti-inflammatory action of aloe vera gel on external psoriasis lesions. Aloe vera juice can be quite effective in relieving the internal body inflammation as well.
- It contains beta-sitosterol, a type of plant sterol which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Beta-sitosterol is used by runners and sports athletes to reduce pain and swelling after vigorous running or any other sports activity.
- Aloe vera juice improves digestion and promotes healthy gut flora. It would help in neutralizing the disease causing fungi and bacteria to calm down the immune system and hence, lesser inflammation.
- Use of aloe vera juice for various inflammatory bowel symptoms is proven. A case study comprises of 44 patients conclude that oral consumption of aloe vera juice for a stretch of 4 weeks can help reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
- Due to gelatinous nature, it helps in reducing the level of uric acid in your body joints to relieve joint inflammation.
How Aloe Vera Juice helps to regulate the body immunity
- It contains polysaccharides which can stimulate the production and effectiveness of white blood cells. These white blood cells act against various harmful bacteria and viruses which can harm your body.
- Aloe vera is a renowned adaptogen. Adaptogen is a natural substance that can help your body to adjust as per the external conditions to fight illness and diseases. If your body immunity is weak, it can boost it up. On the other hand, if your body immunity is hyper active, aloe vera can calm it down.
- Your gut walls is covered with mucous membrane to protect it from the damaging effect of enzymes and stomach acids present in your gut. The chief component of the mucus is polysaccharides. Polysaccharides contained in aloe vera juice is quite similar to that of mucus. In case of most of the auto-immune disorders, these intestinal walls are damaged. Hence, drinking aloe vera juice an help repair and strengthen the mucous membrane to repair the gut walls and hence, heal leaky gut syndrome. For such conditions, drinking aloe vera juice even up to 50 ml per day for at least 4 weeks is recommended.
Good to know
- Aloe vera juice is an alkaline forming drink. It can help you to maintain a healthy body pH (which is slightly alkaline). Dr Pagano, in his book- Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative– recommends that your diet should contain 80% alkaline forming foods and remaining 20% acidic foods.
Click here to read more: Body pH and Psoriasis
- Due to Body detox and improved digestion, reduction in body weight is an additional advantage.
Considering all these benefits, regular consumption of aloe vera juice is surely an intelligent idea.
How to use
Apply aloe vera gel on your body areas effective by psoriasis after bathing. It is non sticky in nature and readily absorbed by the skin.
Drink 10 ml of aloe vera juice twice a day. Preferably in the morning before breakfast and in night after dinner. Please refer to the dosage instructions mentioned on the aloe vera juice bottle for further information.
How to choose the best product
Picking the right aloe vera gel or juice brand is very crucial in getting the expected results. It is wonderful if you can find aloe vera plants within your reach. Just take the raw aloe vera plant leaves, split them out and apply the gel directly on skin flakes. Otherwise you can buy pure aloe vera gel of any trusted brand available in the market.
An effective aloe vera gel will have aloe vera as the major component- at least 95% of the total composition.
Similarly, while choosing the aloe vera juice bottle, make sure that it is of a trusted brand. Generally, citric acid or any other natural stabilizer is added to increase the shelf life of the product. This is not harmful. But keep a check for artificial flavors. Sometimes, manufacturers would add some artificial flavoring chemicals to make the juice tastier and more appealing. Opt for pure aloe vera juice which is non flavored.
From where to buy
You can get aloe vera gel or juice of a trusted brand from a store near you. Alternatively, you can buy it online. Please check the below Amazon links:
Aloe Vera Gel
If you are from USA- Click here
If you are from India- Click here
If you are from UK- Click here
Aloe Vera Juice
If you are from USA- Click here
If you are from India- Click here
If you are from UK- Click here
Aloe Vera juice is laxative in nature, hence consumption of aloe vera juice in higher quantity can induce diarrhea. Also, some people may feel skin irritation if they exposed their skin to the sun immediately after applying aloe vera gel.
Pregnant ladies, breastfeeding women and people with kidney disorders need to consult their physicians before drinking aloe vera juice regularly.
Apart from this, there are no such serious side effects associated with the use of aloe vera in gel and juice form.
Use of aloe vera gel on psoriasis lesions would give you instant results- within 2 to 3 days, you would see lesser inflamed skin patches.
Drinking aloe vera juice would take at least 3 to 4 weeks to show significant results. Dosage less than 20 ml per day would not be much effective.