What are the benefits of aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a cactus-like plant with medicinal properties. Aloe vera benefits include uses in skin treatment, wound healing, diabetes control, treatment of peptic ulcers, oral applications and more.
Aloe vera is a cactus-like plant that grows in hot and dry climates. It is farmed in the subtropical areas, including the southern border areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 2002, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ruling that required manufacturers to remove aloe from over-the-counter laxative products because of a lack of safety data.
However, the limited evidence that we have gathered from studies conducted all over the world point to the uses of aloe vera in various skin conditions and wound healing.
The gel obtained from fresh aloe vera has many therapeutic effects and can be used for the following
- Psoriasis (a genetic condition that presents with scaly, itchy and dry skin)
- Dermatitis due to sunburn, insect bites and heat
- Seborrhea (scaly red scalp)
- Skin abrasions (cuts) or minor burn
- Skin injuries caused by radiation
- Herpes cold sores
How much should I use?
It is the key ingredient in many creams, sunscreen lotions, ointments, gels, soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, etc. It is available even in tablet or capsule form for oral consumption. The dosage of aloe vera depends on your illnesses such as
- Burns: Mostly creams or gels for minor burns contain 0.5 percent of aloe vera and they vary in dosage.
- Psoriasis (scaly itchy skin): Creams for psoriasis may contain as much as 70 percent aloe vera.
- Constipation: 100 to 200 mL aloe juice or 50 mL of aloe extract daily can be used as a laxative, depending on your age.
- Diabetes: One tablespoon of the gel can be enough to consume orally. Avoid a high dosage of aloe vera and consult a doctor before use.
Are there any side effects?
Although aloe vera is beneficial to health, there are some side effects too
- Skin irritation
- Abdominal cramps
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Digestive tract irritation
- Skin allergy
- Toxicity (high doses)
What things should I remember when using aloe vera?
You must remember that natural does not always mean safe. Always consult your doctor before starting aloe vera supplements.
- Oral consumption of aloe leaf extracts in some individuals (for as little as three weeks and as long as five years) has been related to cases of acute hepatitis (liver swelling).
- The aloe latex may interact with digoxin, a drug universally used in heart failure, causing a serious reaction.
- Some people have reported eczema and allergies with the use of aloe vera gel. Never apply it directly to deep cuts or severe burns.
- Avoid the consumption of aloe vera if you have kidney problems and a tendency for electrolyte imbalances.
- Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women must avoid its consumption.
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Medically Reviewed on 1/27/2021
Medscape Medical Reference
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
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