The Many Benefits of Aloe Vera
The Many Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of those phenomenal plants that seems to be able to do it all while looking good too. As a medicinal plant, aloe has been used for a variety of health concerns for thousands of years. If you grow it at home, you may have used it directly from the plant. Otherwise, you’ll find aloe in many creams and gels for topical use and in liquid or capsule form to support internal health.
Here are five ways to use aloe vera to support health naturally.
1. Aloe helps soothe skin and heal burns
Aloe vera has natural cooling properties and helps to soothe and moisturize skin, making it a great natural remedy for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. It’s also great for soothing sunburn and preventing nasty skin peeling after too much time in the sun.
In one study, people who used aloe vera gel for superficial and partial thickness burns had earlier wound healing and relief rom pain, with better healing compared to a 1% silver sulfadiazine cream.
2. Aloe helps with acne breakouts
If you’re suffering with a skin breakout, reach for the aloe. As a gel, or as part of a cleanser, toner, or cream, aloe can help lessen redness and inflammation to keep acne in check. This natural remedy also has the benefit of being much less irritating to skin compared to some harsher conventional acne treatments.
A randomized, double-blind, prospective 8-week trial looked at the benefits of aloe vera for people with mild to moderate acne vulgaris. The researchers compared the effects of a combination of aloe and topical retinoids (conventional acne medication) with placebo or topical retinoids alone and found that the aloe combo was significantly more effective in reducing all types of acne lesions. There was also much less redness in the aloe group.
3. Aloe helps soothe psoriasis
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 60 adults aged 18-50 with mild to moderate chronic psoriasis used either a placebo cream or a cream containing 0.5% aloe vera extract for 4 weeks and up to 3 times daily.
Researchers found that the aloe vera cream was well tolerated and had, in the authors’ words ‘cured’ 25 out of 30 patients, compared to just 2 out of 30 in the placebo group. This meant that the aloe vera had cleared psoriatic plaques significantly, with no side effects noted.
4. Aloe supports digestive health
Aloe vera is a well-known natural remedy for those suffering with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That’s because just as it can soothe skin it can also help soothe the lining of the digestive tract. Aloe can also have an anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcerative effect, can help protect the liver, and works as a strong laxative, getting things moving when bowel irregularity and constipation are a problem.
A meta-analysis of three studies found that, compared to placebo, aloe vera significantly improved symptoms of IBS with no adverse effects reported. Aloe vera has also been seen to help inhibit the growth of ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
In another study, people with ulcerative colitis were given either a placebo drink or 100 mL of aloe vera twice daily for 4 weeks. The aloe group had clinical remission in 9 of 30 patients, with 11 patients seeing improvement, compared to just 1 clinical remission and 1 improved case in the 14 patients in the placebo group.
5. Aloe supports a healthy mouth and teeth
Check out the natural toothpaste options in store and you’ll see that many contain aloe vera. This is because aloe toothpaste (and mouthwash) can help reduce plaque, sooth inflammation in the mouth, and generally improve oral health.
Even adolescents can benefit from aloe vera toothpaste. In one double-blind prospective randomized trial, adolescents who brushed with the toothpaste had significant reductions in gingival (gum) inflammation and plaque index scores compared to a matched control group using a triclosan toothpaste for 30 days. The aloe toothpaste users also had reductions in oral Candida (including Candida albicans, the yeast that causes oral thrush) at the end of the study.
Is aloe vera safe?
Aloe vera is very safe for most people, when used topically for minor skin issues. It’s best not to use aloe on any severe burns or cuts, and it is possible for allergic reactions or irritation to occur with aloe (don’t use aloe if you have an allergy to garlic, onions, or tulips), though it’s generally well tolerated. As with any topical treatments, test a small patch of skin before slathering it all over your body.
You should also stop taking aloe internally two weeks before any scheduled surgery. And if you’re pregnant or nursing an infant, or are under the age of 12, avoid ingesting aloe. This is, in part, because aloe vera can have a laxative effect and cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps, in addition to inhibiting the absorption of some medications including some diuretics, corticosteroids, digoxin, warfarin, diabetes mediations, anticoagulants, sevoflurane, and stimulant laxatives.
Internal use of aloe vera should also be avoided if you have certain medical conditions such as hemorrhoids, kidney or renal concerns, cardiac/heart problems, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, or intestinal obstruction, unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.
As with any natural remedy, check with your doctor or other health care professional before using aloe vera internally, or if you have concerns about external use of the gel.
Your best choice for aloe (inside and out!)
If you want to give aloe a try, check out Pukka Herbs Aloe Vera Juice. Made from the highest organic grade of aloe, sustainably cultivated, and carefully selected, this juice contains only inner leaf gel, no bitter outer rind. It has a clean, natural taste as it is made without synthetic preservatives. To use, take 3-6 tablespoons before food once a day, or add the juice to smoothies or juice.
Aloe Pura also offer an excellent range of aloe vera products for internal and external use. For digestive support, check out the convenient Aloe Pura aloe vera capsules and the Peppermint and Chamomile complex with aloe (formerly known as Digestive Aid). If you’re suffering with acne or rosacea, check out the Aloe Pura gel with tea tree oil to help combat the microbes behind skin breakouts, and if you want to help keep your scalp and hair happy and healthy, Aloe Pura even offer shampoo and conditioner!