Aloe – Health Benefits, Uses, Research, Preparation, Precautions
Several species of aloe grow in warm climates across the Earth. Aloe vera is the most commonly used species. Aloe has been used for healing for at least 6000 years. It is used internally and externally.
This article on aloe was written for Insights-on-Health.com by Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG. Find out more about her at the end of this article.
Traditional and Modern Health Uses
Ancient people used aloe extensively. The ancient Greeks used aloe to treat genital sores, hair loss, boils, hemorrhoids, inflammation, and mouth sores. They also used aloe to relieve gastrointestinal ills and to enhance wound healing. Aloe has been used for millennia to treat skin problems, burns, and a wide array of other afflictions. Today, herbalists use aloe to relieve many of the same ailments which the ancients used the plant for.
The German Commission E supports the use of aloe to relieve constipation. Health Canada approves the use of aloe for constipation, and for the treatment of burns and wounds. Aloe is often an ingredient in cosmetic and sunburn products. Aloe may be used to enhance wound healing of burns caused by the sun, radiation, or heat.
The gel contained within the fleshy leaves is the most commonly used plant part. I use the gel to make moisturizers, soothe skin irritation, and enhance healing of burned or frostbitten skin. Internally, I find that aloe is useful as a remedy for constipation, heartburn, gastric ulcers, and to promote comfort after eating heavy meals.
Aloe has proven anti-inflammatory properties. It may help to heal ulcers caused by poor circulation.
Current Research about the Healing Benefits of Aloe
Herbal expert Gayle Engles conducted research reviewing clinical studies which used aloe.
She reported that participants of two out of three studies experienced improvement when topical aloe preparations were applied to the psoriatic plaques.
Lichen planus is a difficult-to-treat skin disorder which causes itching of the skin and mucus membranes. Studies demonstrated improvement and / or complete cure in the vast majority of subjects.
Herbalists and mainstream health care practitioners have recommended aloe as a treatment for minor burns. Engels discusses a 2009 study which demonstrated that aloe likely speeds up the rate of healing in first and second degree burns.
Researchers determined that 100 milliliters of aloe leaf gel consumed twice daily, for four consecutive weeks improved the health of individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis. The researchers concluded that the treatment was safe, effective, and decreased the disease process at the cellular level.
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