Aloe vera is one of the world’s most popular botanical therapies. The medicinal uses for aloe vera date all the way back to King Solomon, who was reported to have used the leaves of this succulent plant as a laxative. Hippocrates mentioned at least 14 different concoctions containing this botanical, and Alexander the Great conquered an island in order to supply his troops with aloe vera.
More than 200 biologically active compounds have been identified in the aloe plant, and it has dozens of therapeutic uses.
Medicinal Uses for Aloe Vera
- Speeds healing of wounds, burns, and more. Aloe is best known for its wound- and burn-healing properties. Aloe has antimicrobial properties and has been demonstrated to be effective against many common bacteria and fungi. In a clinical trial, patients with comparable second-degree burns on two different areas of the body were treated with silver sulfadiazine (a topical antibacterial widely used in emergency rooms and hospitals) on one site and aloe cream on the other. The aloe-treated burns healed significantly faster and were completely gone within 16 days, compared to 19 days for the silver compound. Studies have shown that aloe creams can help heal cold sores, too. Apply every two hours. And always wash your hands thoroughly after touching a cold sore—you can actually re-infect yourself in different areas if you’re not careful.
- Relieves other skin conditions. Another use of aloe vera is to soothe the discomfort associated with sunburn and insect bites, as well as dry skin, eczema and psoriasis, when applied topically (in creams or gels).
- Alleviates gastrointestinal woes. In addition to relieving constipation, aloe vera juice improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. In fact, I’ve received dozens of reports from people with ulcers of 10 or more years’ duration being completely healed by drinking aloe vera juice.
- Supports healthy immune and digestive systems. Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) from the gel of the inner leaves of the aloe plant have been shown to activate several immune system components. And other compounds, such as enzymes and amino acids, found in aloe help promote overall digestive health. Take advantage of these medicinal uses of aloe vera by drinking aloe juice or taking supplements that contain aloe extracts.
Conventional medicine may dismiss this time-honored remedy, but there’s a reason why traditional medical therapies such as aloe have endured for thousands of years. Keep an aloe plant on your windowsill or in your garden to use on minor burns, cuts, and scrapes or check your local health-food store for aloe gels or creams, as well as oral preparations (juice and supplements). Use as directed.