Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) plant has fleshy leaves that are juicy due to the viscous-like substance inside these leaves. This plant has been used for hundreds of years by many traditional societies around the world for its healing properties by ingesting it and applying its gel on the skin as well. There are other species of this plant that have beneficial compounds, but Aloe barbadensis is the common plant used in this country.
Although there are not many scientific studies I have personally seen that, demonstrate the benefits of this plant to the immune system. However, I think science will sooner or later validate these wise traditional uses of this wonderful healing plant like many other plants which have been used for millennia, and it is just a matter of time for the field of science to catch up. At the same time, you need to be careful when companies are selling these aloe vera products and claim this plant is the cure or the mother of all of the remedies.
Let’s look at some of the compounds in aloe vera that have healing properties.
Aloe vera leaves contain:
Aloe vera is used traditionally and in our present time for many health purposes such as; wound soothing and healing; antifungal property; gentle laxative effects; antidiabetic due to its Hypoglycemic effects; anti-inflammatory; soothing for the digestive system; and as immunomodulatory (1).
The laxative effect of aloe vera gel is believed to a particular nutrient called glucomannans which are water-soluble polysaccharides. Another polysaccharide called mannose can neutralize some of the harmful yeast (candida yeast) and lower their numbers so they can be managed in the colon.
Acemannan is another type of polysaccharide that is found in aloe vera and shows to have an immunomodulatory effect on the immune system by stimulating the formation of white blood cells; leukocyte and lymphocytes through bone marrow and spleen(2).
Acemannan also shows to have antiviral and antitumoral properties by stimulating immature dendritic cells(3).
Anthraquinone compounds such as aloin and emodin are found in aloe vera that has laxative action by stimulating the bowel movement which can be used as relief from constipation. Anthraquinones also show to have an antimicrobial effect and more specifically against pathogenic bacteria Streptococcus progenes and Shigella flexneri (4).
You don't only benefit from consuming olives and olive oil, but you can also utilize olive leaf extract for other health benefits. The silver-green olive leaves have been used for various medicinal effects for hundreds of years. One of the primary phenolic compounds in olives (and olive leaves) is called Oleuropein that boosts the immune system due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties likely to an active ingredient called Elenolic acid in oleuropein. It is also considered to be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activity, and hypoglycemic effect (6).
Hydroxytyrosol is a polyphenol found in olive leaf extract and has been shown to be a potent antioxidant that has a protective action against atherogenic diseases and as well as anti-cancer properties (6).
Like many other medicinal plants, olive leaves contain various types of flavonoids (ex., luteolin, rutin, apigenin) that are showing to be antioxidants and possibly anti-cancer however I haven’t seen many scientific studies to demonstrate the case for being an anti-cancer constituent. That doesn’t mean they are not but scientific studies are limited on that, therefore, relying on the wisdom of traditional usage is what we have now which I believe strongly.
Choosing Your Supplement or Make it at Home
Choosing your supplement for aloe vera or olive leaf extract is critical like other buying any other supplements for several reasons:
Or you can buy organic olive leaf whole to make teas or tinctures which I believe is the best way to get the best quality otherwise do your best to find a good supplement company that processes these plants in a way that they don’t lose their active medicinal properties. The same thing goes for aloe vera where you can grow it in your house and use the gel freshly which nothing beats that. Your immune system deserves that so don’t do it cheaply and then ending up wasting your money, time, and possibly your health.