Aloe has a great reputation for helping heal damaged tissues and is probably most well-known for its healing properties for burns. So it’s worth a try if you’ve been out on a beach revealing the hard work you’ve put into your body and need a little relief from too much sun. It also appears to be effective for helping heal insect bites, cuts, welts, bruises, and even acne.
Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe capensis, Carrisyn™, Aloe vulgari, Curacao aloe, Cape aloe
Over 200 varieties of aloe grow all over the world in dry climates. The gel of the leaves is used for medicinal purposes and is typically applied to the skin.
If you fall off your mountain bike and get some scrapes or sunburn your skin during an afternoon run or a day at the beach, you may want to reach for this well-known plant. Best known for helping soothe burns and minor wounds, aloe may also help speed healing. Research is also finding that when aloe is taken orally, it may help fight viruses, fungi, and bacteria, while boosting immune functioning.
No deficiency conditions are known to exist.
Research indicates that Aloe may be useful in the treatment of:
A prominent ingredient in moisturizers, cosmetics, and hair-care products, aloe has a great reputation for helping heal damaged tissues. It’s probably most well-known for its healing properties for burns, whether caused by the sun or intense heat. It also appears to be effective for helping relieve insect bites, cuts, welts, bruises, and even acne.
Less commonly known, aloe can also be consumed to help relieve intestinal disorders, including stomach upset, constipation, and ulcers. Some herbal literature also recommends it for helping fight infections, relieving arthritis, colon cleansing, and healing varicose veins.
The gel of the aloe plant can be taken directly from the leaves of the plant (or a commercial preparation can be used) and applied to burns or wounds. Most people feel immediate soothing, and inflammation may also be reduced. Because aloe appears to help encourage tissue regeneration, it may also help encourage more rapid healing.
Aloe juice, capsules, and powders may be consumed and are said to have numerous healing properties. The juice, in particular, is claimed to have a wide range of benefits, from improved injury recovery to arthritis relief, even to helping with weight loss.
Much of the research on aloe comes from an extensive study in Thailand that showed aloe may, in fact, relive pain, blistering, and peeling of burns, including sunburns. Plus, this study showed that aloe helped speed the healing process by a formidable 25%. Another study offered evidence that aloe has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have demonstrated that aloe may be effective against a number of common bacteria and fungi.
One aloe extract, called Carrisyn™, has been shown in research to promote wound healing and to stimulate immune-system functioning by increasing white blood cell activity. It’s also been shown to fight viral infections.
While the anecdotal reports about aloe’s effectiveness abound, the research still remains rather sparse. Still, most people who have tried this herb for the relief of minor cuts and burns report immediate soothing. And it’s certainly worth a try if you’ve been out on a beach revealing the hard work you’ve put into your body and need a little relief from too much sun. Plus, there’s mounting evidence that it may help fight infections and inflammation.
Aloe gels can be applied topically throughout the day on an as-needed basis.
Two to six ounces of aloe juice per day can be consumed in two divided dosages. (No more than one quart should be consumed per day.) Or, 100-mg capsules of aloe may be used up to 3 times a day.
The gel can be taken directly from the plant — just cut off part of a leaf and apply the oozing gel to the irritation. If there’s extra gel, wrap the leaf and store it in the fridge for later use. Commercial preparations can also be purchased. If going with the store-bought variety, search for those that are at least 97% pure aloe for the highest quality products.
Psyllium fiber and aloe may work well together for relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
While not common, allergies to aloe are not unheard of, so experts recommend applying small amounts to the skin to make sure no stinging or rash occurs with use.
If you are pregnant or nursing, aloe consumption is not recommended. (It may still be applied topically.)
Aloe has actually been shown to slow the healing of deep, vertical wounds (think surgery) and is therefore not recommended in these cases.
When consuming aloe, use over two weeks is not recommended without the care of a physician because it may lead to a potassium deficiency.
The risk for a potassium deficiency may increase if aloe is taken (by mouth, not topically) with thiazide diuretics, cortico-steroids, and licorice root.
None known with topical use. When amounts over a quart are consumed for over two weeks, it may lead to electrolyte and fluid imbalances.