There are different types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and two common ones are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in the rectum and inner parts of the colon or large intestine. This is a painful condition which if left untreated can lead to life-threatening complications.
There are no specific causes of ulcerative colitis and the most likely ones are genetics, environment or a faulty immune system.
Some symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss, frequent diarrhea, fever, joint pain, anemia, dehydration, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain accompanied by cramps and bloody stools.
A combination of lifestyle changes and medications can help manage this disease although there are no preventive measures.
Since stress can worsen the symptoms, adopting stress relieving techniques could help. Anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery, complementary therapies, nutritional supplements, herbs and acupuncture are some treatment options available.
Aloe Vera Juice For Ulcerative Colitis
Aloe vera is a perennial succulent plant that has been used for medicinal purposes. Aloe barbadensis is the most commonly used variety.
The plant grows well in parts of Africa, South America and the Mediterranean in tropical and subtropical conditions. Aloe vera can even be grown at home and its gel used to treat minor cuts, burns and skin infections.
Aloe vera gel contains 99% water and 1% glycoproteins, polysaccharides like glucomannan and acemannan, tannins, sterols, lipids, amino acids, enzymes and vitamins C, E, B12 and A, magnesium, zinc, calcium, essential fatty acids and protein.
Aloe latex contains anthraquinone glycosides that is said to have laxative properties.
Herbal therapies are widely used to treat IBD. While there are encouraging results about the benefits of herbs like aloe vera gel, Boswellia serrata, wheat grass juice and others, further research is required to determine their efficacy.
In one double-blinded study involving 44 patients, they were given 100 ml aloe vera extracts twice daily and showed an improvement of 47% in their symptoms as against 14% in a placebo group. There were also no significant side effects.
Various studies have shown that aloe vera gel does benefit symptoms of ulcerative colitis. However these studies show that the underlying inflammation does not improve with aloe vera. Since it is safe, it could be used in moderation to ease symptoms.
In vitro studies on active UC colon biopsies and anti-oxidant measuring systems found that aloe vera gel had positive effects.
One study was used to assess the benefits of aloe vera for IBD – especially its anti-oxidant activities in two cell-free, radical-generating systems.
Aloe vera gel inhibited production of various inflammatory agents and could offer therapeutic benefits for patients with IBD (which include ulcerative colitis).
There is no particular dosage of aloe for ulcerative colitis. According to some 100 ml aloe vera juice twice daily for 4 weeks could improve symptoms and increase chances for remission.
But the quantity will vary based on your age and severity of symptoms.
Topical use of aloe vera usually does not cause any side effects. Anyone with known allergies to plants of the Lilaceae family like onions, tulips and garlic must avoid aloe vera products for prolonged use could cause hives, skin eruptions or dermatitis. There are some specific conditions for which aloe latex must not be taken internally for it is a bowel irritant. These include Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis and kidney diseases. Those with diabetes, those who require surgery or are pregnant and breastfeeding must also avoid taking aloe products internally. Anyone who wants to taken aloe vera for ulcerative colitis must first consult their doctor for there could be interactions with certain medications.