Aloe vera - its medicinal uses and side effects

Aloe vera is widely used herb in ayurveda as well as cosmetic industry and widely marketed as a herb having rejuvenating, colon cleansing, healing, or soothing properties.
Synonyms: kumari , ghritkumari , Sthula dala, Dirgha patra, Ambudhisrava, Vipulasrava Amara, Ajara.
Latin name: Aloe barbadensis
General description: Aloe Vera is very short-stemmed perennial succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, which spreads by offsets. Its leaves are thick and juicy, with spiny margins. The flowers are produced on a spike, in dense racemes being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla around 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.
Parts used and dosage: Leaves root and flowers are used in varied conditions.
Dose: Leaf juice: 10 to 20 ml; aloe (dried juice) :125 to 250 mg
Ayurvedic properties: It is bitter and sweet in taste, cold in potency, and has pungent taste after digestion. It also possesses heavy, unctuous and oily attributes. It balances all three doshas but mainly acts on Kapha and vata dosha. According to various ayurvedic texts ,it has been indicated to be used mainly in splenomegaly (enlargement of spleen ), other splenic disorders , hepatomegaly (liver enlargement ),wounds , burns , skin diseases , abdominal pain , fever , constipation , tumours , eye disorders and also as strong uterine stimulant (so often indicated in various menstrual disorders).
Medicinal uses: Aloe vera has been used since centuries for its remarkable health benefits. On basis of ayurvedic texts and research, some of its uses are mentioned below:
⇒Digestive disorders: It is healing and soothing herb ,so it is used for relief of indigestion, stomach distress and ulcers . It is very good appetizer, promotes proper digestion, also helps in abdominal pain, gas. Juice when used in 10 to 20 ml act as mild laxative. So helps in constipation and healthy production of digestive juices .For abdominal distension it can be used with haritaki (Terminalia chebula ) and rock salt or alone .
⇒Spleen disorders: In splenomegaly or other splenic disorders it shows very good results when its pulp is used with turmeric powder externally as well as internally. It promotes healthy blood formation so used in anaemia too.
⇒Liver disorders: Its juice is said to be one of the finest body cleansers, so detoxifies the liver. Its pulp juice is very effective in jaundice, hepatitis and other liver disorders as it is good liver stimulant.
⇒Antihelminthic: higher dose of aloe juice acts as purgative and relieves body worms.
⇒Respiratory disorders: juice of its roasted leaf with a pinch of salt is very effective in cough and asthma.
⇒As anti-inflammatory: Its external as well as internal use relieves inflammation so commonly used in arthritis patients. In backache, chapatti prepared with its leaf juice and cows ghee is found to be very effective.
⇒Skin diseases: It is most wide used herb in cosmetic industries which add its sap to lot of products such as makeup, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, , shaving cream, or shampoos. Aloe Vera gel has the remarkable ability to heal wounds, ulcer and burns.It act as antiseptic and very effective as medicine also in all sort of skin diseases .It is used alone or in combination with turmeric to combat infection or pus formation. It revitalises the skin, prevents ageing by eliminating dead cells and prevents blemishes and wrinkles.
⇒As tonic: Recent researches and ayurvedic texts prove it be very promising herb in strengthening immune system .It works against abnormal body growths , tumours , lymhadenitis etc .
⇒Reproductive system: Its pulp can be used as an aphrodisiac, it also causes cell and tissue rejuvenation. It is often used in all sort of menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea , oligonenorrhea , amenorrhea and other hormonal imbalances in females . Even its external application is found to be highly effective in syphilis and gonorrhoea.
Although its widely used herb but it must not be used by pregnant and lactating women. In normal individuals also it should be used with caution and under medical supervision.