Aloe vera is a succulent plant grown all over the world. Its medicinal uses can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Both the sap and the thicker gel in the leaves may have health benefits.
Some aloe vera products are taken by mouth, while aloe vera gel is usually applied to the skin.Gel, also known as latex, contains AloinIt has a laxative effect and was not used in some products until 2002, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stopped this use due to cancer concerns.
This article details how aloe vera can be used to treat skin burns and other conditions. It explains mixed research findings supporting its use, as well as considerations when choosing an aloe vera product.
History of Aloe Vera Use
Aloe vera is commonly used in traditional medicine to treat skin conditions.exist Ayurveda Medicine, rooted in ancient Indian practices, is said to have a cooling effect that balances the deterioration of pitadosha. This is Calorie concept during body digestion.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the bitter taste and cooling properties of the gel are said to benefit liver and intestinal disorders.
Today, aloe vera gel is used for its moisturizing, softening effect on the skin. Many cosmetic manufacturers add aloe vera to makeup, soaps, sunscreens, shaving creams, and shampoos. There are even aloe vera tissues, designed to reduce nose chafing.
also known as
- aloe vera
- burning plant
- elephant’s guts
- Kathalai (Ayurveda)
- desert lily
- Lu Hui (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Aloe vera gel is commonly used on the skin to treat sunburns, burns and eczema.It is soothing and may help treat symptoms caused by genital herpes, poison oak, poison ivy, and skin irritation in people undergoing radiation therapy.
Those who support the use of aloe vera say it can speed wound healing and reduce the severity of psoriasis.
When taken by mouth as a juice or dietary supplement, aloe vera’s laxative effects may help relieve constipation. Some advocates say it can be used to treat peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Others believe that aloe vera helps maintain normal blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
In most cases, the evidence to support these claims is mixed.
burns and wounds
One of the most popular uses of aloe vera gel is to help heal sunburns and burns from cooking or other causes. It relieves symptoms of allergic reactions that cause contact dermatitis and helps heal minor cuts and scrapes.
The freshly extracted gel provides short-term pain and itching relief. Whether it can actually speed up the healing process is another question.
2012 Australian Research Review Seven clinical trials were studied investigating the use of aloe vera for burns, skin biopsies, and post-surgical stimulation for hemorrhoids. Researchers couldn’t find any evidence that aloe vera helped heal acute or chronic wounds.
The same results were seen in a study of aloe vera used to treat plaque psoriasis. A small study of 41 adults with stable plaque psoriasis found that applying aloe vera gel twice daily for a month, less It was more effective than a placebo in relieving psoriasis symptoms.
Natural burn medicines and ointments
radiation skin reaction
Radiation-induced dermatitis (RID) is a common side effect of radiation therapy for cancer. Symptoms include:
- red, flaking skin
- blisters often
- Skin atrophy (thinning of the skin)
A 2013 study from Iran evaluated the effects of aloe vera lotion on 60 people undergoing radiation therapy. After four weeks of treatment, apply a thin layer of lotion to half of the irradiated skin. The researchers found that areas treated with aloe vera had less dermatitis than areas without aloe vera.
However, the findings are limited in part by the wide variety of cancers being treated. Other studies have not found similar results, and findings on the use of aloe vera for the treatment of RID remain mixed. There is no evidence that oral aloe vera has any effect on RID patients.
An earlier study from Australia looked at the use of aloe vera cream in 225 women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy. Non-aloe vera creams help reduce pain and peeling skin, while aloe vera creams have little effect.
inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex of digestive disorders. They include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis can cause more severe symptoms, such as:
- abdominal cramps
- rectal bleeding
- Bloody stools
An early study of 44 patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis found that taking a 2-to-1 dilution of aloe vera gel twice daily improved symptoms in most people after 4 weeks.
Findings included 9 complete remission of symptoms, 11 improved symptoms, and 14 showing at least some response.
Some health care providers who practice alternative medicine have long supported oral aloe vera for better control of blood sugar (glucose) in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
A 2016 review from India looked at eight clinical trials on how oral aloe vera could benefit people with diabetes. Research has found that aloe vera can improve fasting blood sugar in people with prediabetes, but has limited effects in people with type 2 diabetes.
Chinese researchers found similar results, with aloe vera showing some benefits for people with prediabetes. However, they pointed to study limitations and a lack of safety testing.
More research is needed to determine whether aloe vera is safe and effective when used to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Aloe vera gel and juice may have health benefits when used to treat certain ailments. Research looks at its use in treating radiation-irritated skin in cancer patients, or how it could help people with type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. The results were mixed and further research is needed.
Natural Remedies for Prediabetes
possible side effects
Aloe vera is generally safe to use when applied to the skin. Side effects, if any, tend to be mild. They can include skin irritation and redness, and sometimes allergies.
Remember, aloe vera gel should not be used to treat severe burns or wounds. If you have a deep cut or a large or severe burn, seek medical attention right away.
Oral Aloe Vera
There are concerns about the long-term safety of oral aloe vera. Aloe vera extract has a powerful laxative effect. This can lead to:
- abdominal cramps
- electrolyte disturbances, such as potassium loss
Potassium loss can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeats called Arrhythmia. Long-term use of aloe vera, especially in undiluted gel form, may cause permanent kidney damage.
Some animal studies suggest that whole-leaf aloe vera extract can cause colorectal cancer. One theory is that aloin is a carcinogen that gives aloe latex its yellow color. Filtering out aloin may result in a gel that is safer to use, but further research is needed to confirm this.
The safety of aloe vera in patients with liver and kidney disease has not been established. To be safe, do not take aloe vera by mouth if you have:
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- intestinal problems
- heart disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
Due to a lack of safety research, oral aloe vera should not be used by children and by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Taking aloe vera by mouth may cause certain drug interactions. This means it may block the effects of medicines you are already taking. Or, it might make their effects more powerful. This may cause side effects or problems with treating your existing medical condition.
It’s always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before adding supplements or alternative drug products. This is especially true if you are taking:
- diabetes medications, including insulin
- diuretics (water pills) such as Lasix (furosemide)
- Heart rhythm drugs such as Lanoxin (digoxin)
- Laxatives and Stool Softeners
- Oral or injectable steroids
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or Advil (ibuprofen)
Sometimes you can avoid an interaction by taking your medicines several hours apart. Your dose or alternative medicine may need to be changed.
Aloe vera applied to the skin may also cause interactions. It can improve the skin’s ability to absorb steroid creams, increasing the risk of skin damage.
Aloe vera may have health benefits, but it also has risks. People with certain medical conditions, such as kidney or heart disease, should avoid it. It may also interfere with medications you are already taking for other medical problems. Discuss any aloe vera use with your healthcare provider before you start taking it.
Dosage and Preparation
There is no standard dose of aloe vera. The impact and risk of side effects may vary depending on your age, weight, and current health.
Concentrations of aloe vera products for use on the skin may range from as low as 0.5% to as high as 99%. There are no data to suggest that low doses are less effective than high doses.
Oral forms of aloe vera are available in capsules, softgels, powder, and juice. These supplement doses range from 100 milligrams (mg) to 10,000 milligrams. Larger doses may mean a higher risk of side effects.
For safety reasons, keep the dose as low as possible when using the oral form of aloe vera. Few clinical studies have used more than 500 mg of the drug per day.
While aloe vera gel works on your skin, some products are called cold-pressed “gels” for oral use. These are often labeled as full strength, whole leaf or pure filtered. They are thicker liquids and are usually sold by the gallon to promote digestive health.
If you decide to use the oral gel formulation, do not use it for more than 10 days. Stop immediately if you experience any side effects.
What to Look for in Aloe Vera Products
Aloe vera products are approved for use in cosmetics or dietary supplements. They are not intended to treat any medical conditions and have not been tested for quality or safety.
Since few aloe vera supplements are certified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or similar certification body, stick to well-known brands with established market presence. You should also choose products that are certified organic by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
If you choose to take an oral aloe vera preparation for medical reasons, first consult with your healthcare provider to ensure its safe use. If you buy cold-pressed aloe vera gel, choose only those that have had most of the aloe vera removed.
Aloe vera has been used medicinally since ancient times. It remains an alternative medicine option today, but the research supporting its health benefits remains unclear.
Its most common use is to soothe burns. Other possibilities include relieving digestive disorders and preventing or treating diabetes. Some studies suggest that aloe vera may help treat these conditions, but other studies have found no benefit.
If you choose oral form of aloe vera or aloe vera applied to the skin, choose a reputable brand. Make sure to speak with a healthcare provider first to avoid side effects or drug interactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use aloe vera if I am allergic to latex?
This is probably not a good idea. If you use aloe vera and are allergic to latex, you may experience a reaction. These range from a mild rash or hives to a stuffy nose or difficulty breathing.It’s rare, but aloe latex can trigger a serious and potentially fatal systemic reaction called allergic reaction.
How do you get aloe vera gel from a plant?
With clean hands, cut off one leaf near the bottom of the plant. Place the cut side down in a glass and allow the latex to drain for about 10 minutes. Then remove the leaf tips and use a vegetable peeler to remove the clear gel inside. Scoop it out and store in a clean container.
How do I care for an aloe vera plant?
Plant it in a potting mix for cacti and other succulents. Place aloe vera in bright indirect light. Allow the top third of the soil to dry out before watering to prevent root rot.