– For centuries, aloe vera has been used in traditional medicine, most notably as a topical salve for skin irritations and an oral remedy to relieve constipation. In fact, the plant can be seen on ancient Egyptian stone carvings. Today, in addition to using aloe vera to promote skin and digestive health, some natural practitioners use aloe vera to address the conditions of asthma, dental plaque, gingivitis, diabetes, epilepsy, genital herpes, lichen planus, osteoarthritis, and seborrhea.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the aloe vera plant is now cultivated around the world, particularly in tropical regions. But it can also be grown successfully indoors in most climates, as long as it receives plenty of indirect sunlight and is planted in well-draining soil. The plant is a perennial succulent, and is able to retain large quantities of water. It has spear-like, meaty leaves that feature toothed edges. They are gray-green in color and can reach up to 36 inches in length. The transparent, thick aloe gel is harvested from the central area of the leaves. Aloe juice, a yellow, bitter liquid, is extracted from the green part of the leaf surrounding the gel. READ MORE ABOUT ALOE VERA »
Some studies have shown that aloe gel may be an effective therapy for superficial wounds and ulcers, as well as for improving certain dermatologic conditions that inflame the skin. These include burns, dandruff, dryness, and psoriasis. This is because the substances found in aloe gel demonstrate anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as stimulate skin growth and repair. Other studies have showed mixed results and thus there is no clear evidence demonstrating improved healing from the use of aloe gel.
For those with type 2 diabetes, preliminary studies suggest that aloe juice may be able to help lower blood glucose levels. Yet, there is not enough significant evidence to support this finding and more research is needed to determine whether aloe juice is helpful in diabetes. There is also evidence that the plant can act as a natural laxative. Aloe latex, from the inner lining of the aloe vera leaf, contains anthraquinone glycosides, a known cathartic agent. However, it is no longer recommended to take aloe latex orally for constipation as it can cause severe side effects including painful cramping.
As an herbal supplement, aloe vera is usually sold in capsule, gel, or liquid form. Follow the label’s directions when taking by mouth. Some capsules are available as soft gels. Soft gels may be easier to swallow and digest, or you can snip off the tip of the soft gel to squeeze out the aloe vera and apply it to sunburns or other minor skin irritations. Aloe vera should not be applied to open wounds.
Consult with your physician first before incorporating any supplements or herbs into your diet. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, herbal and dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any herbal or dietary supplement.
If you are in search of natural ingredients that may soothe damaged skin or support overall health, discuss your concerns with your doctor and check out our offerings at drugstore.com. We stock a large selection of supplements, including those from your favorite brands. On each product’s page, you’ll see detailed product information, an ingredient list, directions for use, and reviews. That way, you can quickly and conveniently compare products online, instead of having to drive to your local pharmacy or health food store. And here at drugstore.com, we make sure the products are competitively priced. Our discounts, special offers, and everyday free shipping deals are highlighted on each page. Thank you for shopping at drugstore.com for your herbal supplement needs. BACK TO TOP »
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