Inflammation of small bulging pouches (diverticulosis) found in the inner linings of the small and large intestine get infected or swollen and this is called diverticulitis. Many people in the west eat a diet that is low in fiber and high in processed food like white bread and rice, cereals etc. This could cause constipation and make people strain to pass stools. This increases the pressure on the colon causing the formation of diverticulosis. Tiny pieces of feces could become trapped in the diverticulosis leading to inflammation and infection.
Symptoms of diverticulitis could be bloating or gas, fever, chills, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and tenderness in the abdomen (left lower side). Treatment could include rest, antibiotics and a change in diet.
Aloe vera and Diverticulitis
Aloe vera is a perennial evergreen plant that has been native to tropical and subtropical regions like Latin America, South Africa and the Caribbean. Aloe gel is found in the center of each leave and the latex is yellow in color and found below the plant’s skin. Aloe vera gel got from the thick, succulent aloe vera leaves have been used for thousands of years to heal skin infections, wound, burns and other topical skin infections.
Aloe latex contains anthraquinone glycosides that is said to have laxative properties. 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.
One of the ways that you can avoid diverticulitis is to adopt a series of home remedies. Foods high in fiber – whole grains, fruits and vegetables – fluids and regular exercise could improve constipation and soften feces therefore reducing pressure on the digestive tract.
Aloe vera juice is consumed for various health conditions. It could benefit symptoms of diverticulitis by soothing the digestive tract. It also has a laxative effect therefore enabling swift movement of feces through the intestines. This will ease the pressure on the diverticulosis and prevent infection or inflammation. It acts similar to any high fiber diet.
Good quality aloe vera juice could ease the symptoms of diverticulitis. You can consume 1-2 tbsp 2-3 times a day preferably before meals. However do not exceed daily limits that will be mentioned on the label. Always purchase good quality aloe vera juice. The time taken for aloe vera juice to help patients of diverticulitis will depend on their age and general health conditions.
Establishing regular bowel patterns can ease symptoms of diverticulitis. Some supplements which can ease the pain and constipation caused by diverticulitis – vitamin B complex, proteolytic enzymes, vitamin C, garlic, L-glutamine and aloe vera juice.
One product called ‘Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharides’ is a concentrated form of aloe vera extract which is supposed to help treat diverticulitis. The glucose sugar and mannose molecules present in this product is said to ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis, another condition which affects the digestive tract.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) could also cause diverticulitis apart from other medical conditions. There are no scientific studies on the benefits of aloe vera for diverticulitis. One study was conducted on its benefits for IBS. Patients with IBS were selected and given a placebo or aloe vera extract for one month. It was found after this period that some symptoms like diarrhea and alternating IBS improved with aloe vera. Further investigations could be warranted.
Most popular laxatives are made from herbs for their stimulating or bulk-forming properties. Stimulant laxatives contain high levels of anthraquinone glycosides that help with bowel movement. Aloe latex is a stimulant laxative that could induce bowel muscle contractions and ease constipation. However, it is extremely potent and must be used judiciously. Other stimulant herbal laxatives are senna leaves, alder buckthorn, cascara bark and rhubarb.
As such there is no hard and fast dosage of aloe for diverticulosis. But some sources recommend that ½ cup aloe vera juice consumed thrice daily may ease inflammation of the diverticulosis and soothe the digestive tract. 50-200mg aloe latex once a day for 10 days is recommended for constipation. 100ml aloe vera juice twice daily is recommended for ulcerative colitis. However it is also cautioned that it may not be safe to use oral aloe latex for constipation.
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. Taken orally, aloe vera could lower blood glucose levels. Those with heart or kidney disease, liver disease, electrolyte imbalance, appendicitis, ileus must be careful while taking aloe latex by mouth. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking aloe vera orally. It is good to consult a doctor before taking aloe vera orally for diverticulitis.