Aloe Vera Oil

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Aloe Vera oil is the oil that is obtained from Aloe Vera plant by the process of maceration in some carrier oil. It is not 100 % aloe vera, but a kind of infused oil. The most commonly used carrier oil is soybean oil, although other oils like almond oil or olive oil may also be used. This oil is mostly made up of the carrier oil and some essence of aloe vera.



Aloe Vera oil provides brilliant health benefits for the skin, just like the aloe vera gel. Since it is turned into oil, this product has a longer shelf life and can be used even when fresh Aloe Vera plant is not available. Aloe Vera oil is good for treating skin wounds and for scalp conditioning.

Aloe Vera Oil
Aloe Vera Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Source

Aloe Vera oil is made from the gel of Aloe Vera plant. There are many species of this succulent plant. The most common one is Aloe barbedensis. Aloe Vera has tremendous health benefits when applied topically and also when used internally. It has been mentioned often in medicinal books of the past where it is described how this gel is used for skin diseases, wounds and digestive complaints. Modern research also shows that many of these applications of Aloe Vera gel are really effective.

aloe vera used for aloe vera oil
aloe vera used for aloe vera oil ( Photo credit : Jean )

According to traditional Indian system of healing, Aloe Vera oil is produced with many other ingredients like rose water, sandalwood oil and a base oil like Khus oil. This oil is believed to be excellent for hair care. It is known as Ghritkumari oil.



Production – The method used to extract this oil is maceration. In this process, the herbal gel is mixed with oil at higher temperature. The oil soaks up nutrients from Aloe Vera gel. After some time, it is filtered to remove out the plant components. This oil extraction technique is used for many herbal oils.

Properties

Aloe Vera oil contains the therapeutic properties from the base oil as well from the nutrients that it provides to the oil.

  • Emollient – Aloe Vera oil is a brilliant moisturiser for the skin.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – It reduces inflammation and other signs related to it.
  • Anti – Bacterial – It has the ability to kill certain bacteria.
  • Anti-Viral – This property makes it suitable for use on herpes and shingles rashes.
  • Anti-fungal – This oil can be used to kill fungi that cause conditions like ringworm.
  • Anti-oxidant – The oil protects the skin from free radical damage.
  • Cicatrizant – Aloe vera oil speeds wound recovery.
  • Anti-Irritant – reduces skin irritation.
  • Astringent – shrinks the skin and makes it taut.
  • Sun protection – Aloe Vera oil provides minor sun protection, especially in a base oil like Sesame oil.

Aloe Vera oil has been identified to be an excellent carrier oil. It penetrates deep into the skin layers quickly [1]. This makes it a wonderful carrier oil for massage therapy. Because of its powerful skin penetration property. it can carry other products into the skin quite fast, like essential oils.

Health Benefits

Because of its healing properties, Aloe Vera oil is used in many applications for personal use. One can make use of it as a home remedy for certain conditions.

Massage Oil

Aloe Vera oil can be used as a massage oil. It penetrates well and feels soothing to the skin. One can use essential oils with this oil as an aromatherapy massage.

Healing Skin Wounds

Aloe vera provides wound healing nutrients to this oil. One can apply it on a wound, cut, scrape or even a bruise. It prompts the skin to heal faster. It also helps in reducing the scar [2]. However, for burns and sunburns, the pure Aloe Vera gel can be more effective as it is much more cooling and soothing. It is good for healing post surgical scars.

Dermatitis

Aloe Vera oil is an anti-irritant. It also provides some nutrients to the skin, especially amino acids as Aloe Vera gel is rich in them. One can apply this directly for relief from conditions like eczema and psoriasis.



Pain Relief

Aloe Vera oil is used in compositions for pain relief. One can use it as a home remedy to alleviate pain by combining with essential oils of eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint and calendula. One can use few drops of each essential oil in about 3 ounces of Aloe Vera oil. This forms a nice home-made pain relief gel.

Hair Care

Aloe Vera oil can be used for scalp and hair care. It reduces dry scalp condition, dandruff and conditions the hair. The ghritkumari oil is believed to assist in hair growth, keeping hair strong and also in improving the faculties of the mind through the scalp massage of that oil. It also helps in psoriasis of the scalp. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to Aloe vera oil makes it a powerful ingredient for dealing with fungal scalp infections.

Cold Sore

Apply a small amount of Aloe Vera oil or gel onto the cold sores. It aids the body in drying out the sores, like witch hazel. This prevents the blisters to weep and become more painful if used early on. This works because of the compound Aloe emodin, which has been proved to exhibit anti-viral effect against herpes virus [4]. Aloe Vera oil also helps in healing herpes and shingles lesions.

Facial Oil

One can use Aloe vera oil is a soothing oil for the face. It moisturizes the skin and keeps it strong and supple. Aloe Vera oil provides many nutrients directly to the skin. However, it might not be good for acne prone skin as the carrier oil may be comedogenic. In that case, one should look for Aloe Vera oil prepared in a non comedogenic oil like jojoba oil.

Insect Bites

Because of its anti-inflammatory effect, it reduces swelling and inflammation caused by insect bites, like that from bees and wasps.

Dental Care

Aloe Vera nutrients have been identified to aid in peridontal disease. One can use Aloe vera oil as a massage oil for the gums and teeth to keep them healthy and lower the risk of dental problems like caries, plaque and gingivitis. [5]

Home Remedies

One can devise numerous home remedies using aloe vera oil and combining it with other products in the house. It can be used in home made formulations for soap, shampoo, lip balms, salves, toothpaste, moisturizers and massage oils. One can experiment with a variety of essential oils and use them in aloe vera oil to impart their therapeutic properties to our skin.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Aloe Vera oil is generally safe to be applied on the skin. However, it should not be ingested. Aloe Vera contains certain nutrients and compounds which can be toxic in larger concentrations. The quality and composition of Aloe Vera oil also matters a lot. One should look for organic aloe vera oil as it does not contain added chemicals used during extraction process. Internal use of Aloe Vera oil, or Aloe Vera gel or juice may lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems like nausea and vomiting. In some cases, it may cause more sever reactions like kidney failure.
Some people may be allergic to Aloe vera. They should avoid using Aloe vera products as they can cause contact dermatitis on the skin.

Interactions

Aloe vera compounds can interact with medications like laxatives, diabetes medication and diuretics. The diarrhea induced by it can lower potassium levels in the body, which can affect the potency of certain medications. Consult your doctor before taking Aloe Vera products while using any medication.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

The nutritional value of Aloe Vera oil depends on Aloe vera gel and the extraction. Only a small fraction of the nutrients from Aloe vera leaf gel pass onto the Aloe Vera oil. Aloe Vera gel contains a brilliant array of nutrients in small amounts, which lend the gel its therapeutic properties. The presence of carrier oil, like soybean oil may help in absorption of oil soluble nutrients coming from Aloe vera gel. So, the total nutrition of Aloe vera oil is a synergistic action between the nutrients coming from base oil, like omega fatty acids and the entire array of nutrients from Aloe vera gel.

Nutrition from Aloe Vera gel

The leaf gel of Aloe Vera provides a spectrum of nutrients of various types. [6]

  • Vitamins – It provides Vitamin C, Vitamin A ( as β Carotene ), Vitamin E ( as α – tocopherol ), Choline, Folic Acid and B Vitamins ( B1, B2 and B6 )
  • Minerals – Aloe vera plant is known for its ability to extract minerals from the soil. As a result, it is rich in most common minerals but it also provides numerous trace minerals to the human body. It is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, manganese, sodium and potassium.
  • Anthraquinones – These compounds have special health boosting properties in small amounts. Prominent anthraquinones in Aloe vera are Aloe emodin, Aloin and cinnamic acid ester.
  • Amino Acids – Aloe Vera gel provides 20 amino acids, and 7 out of the 8 essential amino acids.
  • Lipid compounds – Aloe vera gel contains Arachidonic acid, γ – linoleic acid ( anti-inflammatory ) and many phytosterols.
  • Polysccharides – Aloe vera gel contains a wide variety of these carbohydrate molecules which have powerful properties. They have been identified to aid in dealing with cancer, tumor, diabetes and immune function.

Lots of nutrients from Aloe vera gel pass into the the Aloe vera oil. The concentration of some may be enhanced, while of some others may be reduced. This makes Aloe vera oil a powerful skin care ingredient. Its significant advantage is that it can be stored longer than the gel and can be carried along.

Buying and Storage

One should go for a high quality Aloe Vera oil from a reputed manufacturer. Since a base oil is used to make this product, there is a chance that this oil may be filled with fillers and additives. One should look for organic Aloe Vera oil.
The storage characteristics depend on the base oil used. Some oils, like sesame oil are resistant to rancidity, while others like linseed oil can get rancid quickly. So, one should know what base oil is used to make the Aloe Vera oil and then use appropriate storage.

References

1. Skin permeation enhancement potential of Aloe Vera and a proposed mechanism of action based upon size exclusion and pull effect. Louise Cole, Charles Heard . International Journal of Pharmaceutics
2. Chapter 3Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.
3. Using mixture of plant extracts. US 6444238 B1
4. Antiviral activity of Aloe vera against herpes simplex virus. K. Zandi
5. Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing healer to periodontal disease. Geetha Bhat, Praveen Kudva, and Vidya Dodwad. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2011 Jul-Sep; 15(3): 205–209.
6. Composition and Applications of Aloe vera Leaf Gel. Josias H. Hamman

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