Aloe vera is much more than a pretty houseplant. The succulent plant, which hails from North Africa, contains a gel that people value for its healing properties. People have been using aloe vera gel to soothe and treat ailments for centuries. Ancient Egyptians admired aloe vera so much that they called it the “plant of immortality.”
While aloe vera gel has many uses, ranging from culinary to cosmetic, some people use it to soothe hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are relatively common, and the risk of developing them increases with age. Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins present in the extremities of the rectum and anus. They can cause rectal bleeding but aren’t life-threatening. Other hemorrhoid symptoms include itching, swelling, prolapse and soiling. Hemorrhoids can be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the rectum’s inner recesses, while external hemorrhoids take root on the outer parts of the anus.
Several treatment options exist for hemorrhoids, including home remedies such as using aloe vera. While aloe vera for hemorrhoids can provide temporary relief, longer-term treatment options like hemorrhoid banding are more effective at providing long-term relief.
Aloe vera has several soothing properties that have helped it make its way around the world. People in many cultures have used the plant and valued it for its healing properties. Two parts of the aloe vera plant contain compounds that help ease skin irritation and other medical issues.
The first part is the gel, found inside the plant’s leaves. The gel contains 1% glycoproteins and polysaccharides and 99% water. Glycoproteins assist in the reduction of inflammation and pain, while polysaccharides help with skin repair. Glycoproteins and polysaccharides also strengthen the immune system, boosting the body’s capacity to fend off the infections around the anus and rectum.
The second part is aloe latex, a yellow pulp found under the leaves’ outer surface. Aloe latex contains anthraquinone glycosides, which have potent laxative properties. People take aloe latex to soften stool and ease their bowel movements.
Applying aloe vera to the affected area often results in rapid relief of topical symptoms. Aloe vera gel also has astringent properties. When used directly on hemorrhoids, the gel causes a contraction of the tissues that inhibit fluid discharge. The plant also boasts antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you want to use aloe vera gel for hemorrhoids, it’s essential to choose a product wisely. You have a few options. The first is to grow aloe vera at home. The succulent plant is relatively low-maintenance, but requires a sunny spot to thrive, such as a south- or east-facing window.
The ideal plant to use to harvest aloe vera gel will be at least a few years old. To harvest directly from a plant, cut a few leaves off it, removing them close to the stem. Wash the leaves, then gently pry them open to get access to the gel inside. Use a knife to scrape the gel from the leaves, putting it into a clean jar.
If you don’t have a green thumb or a sunny place to grow aloe, you can purchase gel from a drugstore. Look for a product that is “100% pure aloe vera.” Read the label to make sure aloe vera is the first ingredient, not water or alcohol.
You can get temporary relief from your hemorrhoid symptoms using aloe vera in two ways. If you decide to use aloe vera gel to soothe your symptoms, it’s a good idea to speak to your physician first.
You can apply aloe vera gel directly to your hemorrhoids. If you use a topical aloe vera gel, it can be a product you buy from a drugstore or gel you harvest from homegrown plants.
To apply aloe vera topically, squeeze a small amount of gel onto your clean fingers or a cotton ball, then coat the hemorrhoids with the gel. You can wear vinyl or latex gloves at this stage to improve hygiene. Let the gel sit on the hemorrhoids for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
You might also see some benefits from drinking aloe vera juice. Before you drink or otherwise take aloe vera internally, make sure the product you are about to consume is safe for internal use. Aloe vera juice you purchase in the grocery store’s refrigerated juice section or shelf-stable drink aisle is most likely safe to drink.
Besides easing hemorrhoid symptoms, aloe vera juice can relieve constipation, which might help keep your hemorrhoids under control.
You can consume aloe vera juice in a few ways. One option is to drink eight ounces of the juice on its own, once a day. If you’re not a fan of the juice’s taste, you can try to mask it by mixing eight ounces with other ingredients, such as fruit and yogurt, in a smoothie. You can also make aloe vera lemonade by mixing one part juice with one part lemonade.
Aloe for hemorrhoids can do more than provide temporary relief. People have prized this plant’s healthful properties for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits of aloe vera.
The gel inside aloe vera is full of nutritious compounds, such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The gel contains 75 potentially beneficial compounds, such as:
Let’s take a closer look at how the compounds in aloe vera help it benefit you.
Vitamins A, C and E are all antioxidants, which prevent damage caused by free radicals. One major benefit of antioxidants is that they help protect against cancer and other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Free radicals can also damage skin, accelerating the aging process. Using aloe vera gel or drinking pure aloe vera juice can boost the number of antioxidants in your system, protecting your body from free radical damage.
One typical use of pure aloe vera gel is first aid. People often apply the gel to cuts, scrapes or burns. There are a few reasons for doing that. One is that the gel contains antibacterial properties, which can protect wounds from infection.
Another is that the gel can speed up the wound healing process. One study found that applying aloe vera gel to first- and second-degree burns helped reduce healing time by nine days.
Aloe vera latex has laxative properties, and people use it to soften their stool and improve bowel movements. The plant’s laxative effects come from its 12 anthraquinones. If you want to use aloe vera latex to improve constipation, proceed with caution and consult with your doctor first. There is a risk of overuse of the plant’s laxative effects.
Several compounds in aloe vera allow it to reduce inflammation. For example, the plant contains several anti-inflammatory enzymes, such as bradykinase. The sugars found in the plant, such as C-glucosyl chromone, may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, aloe vera contains plant sterols, or plant-based cholesterol, which also have anti-inflammatory properties. Besides fighting inflammation, the plant sterols also provide analgesic and antiseptic properties.