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Not many home remedies have been used for thousands of years AND find a place in mainstream medicine, but Aloe Vera can. Common names for Aloe vera include aloe, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall, and burn plant.

This common houseplant is a true medical powerhouse.  Its botanical name is Aloe barbadensis, and it contains a gel-like juice and latex layer under the skin that have medical applications.  People have been using the gel-like juice from the aloe plant to treat burns, wounds, skin infections, and other skin conditions for years.  The inner latex layer of the leaf lining is sometimes used as an oral laxative.  Aloe vera is found in many products today because of how popular it has become.


The gel-like juice and latex are sourced from the Aloe barbadensis plant.  Aloe is a succulent plant that can be found all over the world and grows well in a tropical climate.  It is often found in homes where owners are growing it in a pot for decorative purposes and/or for medicinal use.  It is also cultivated by companies to be used for agricultural and medicinal uses.

Medicinal Components:

Interestingly enough, the main component in the Aloe vera plant is water.  It has a content of water that ranges from 99 to 99.5 percent.  The rest of the material has over 75 active compounds that scientists are still working to understand.  These include minerals, vitamins, simple and complex polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, organic acids, and enzymes.  They have identified soluble sugars like glucose as well as calcium in the rind and pulp.

Medical Conditions This Can Treat:

Researchers are continuing to test and investigate what medical conditions Aloe vera can treat, so this list can certainly grow.

Wound healing

– Wound inflammation

– Burns

– Oral Disorders, such as canker sores, healing periodontal surgery, ill-fitting dentures, dental implants

– Germicidal benefits

Lowering cholesterol

– Reducing glucose levels

– Genital herpes

– Psoriasis

Antiinflammatory uses

Skin hydration


As aloe can vary quite a bit based on preparation, doses should be consider as “ballpark” guidelines rather than absolutes.

Example Oral Doses –

Dental disease and plaque – three times a day over a 30 day period

Constipation – .04 to .17 grams of dried juice

High cholesterol – 10 to 20 milliliters a day orally over a 12 week period, or a 300-milligram capsule of aloe extract orally twice a day for two months

Diabetes – five to 15 milliliters of aloe juice taken orally twice a day, one 300 milligram capsule of aloe extract orally twice a day for two months, or one tablespoon taken by mouth for 42 days twice a day

Inflammatory bowel disease – 100 milliliters of aloe gel taken two times a day orally for a four week period

Oral dosages have not been evaluated in children under the age of 18.  Topical use for children has been seen as just as effective as for adults.

Topical Doses –

Genital herpes – aloe extract cream should be applied three times a day for only five days during the week for a total of two weeks with ten days of application

Psoriasis – an aloe cream or can be applied three times a day for five consecutive days for four weeks

Radiation skin injuries – an aloe gel applied twice a day to the skin along with any other prescribed care

The dosage for Aloe vera will depend on which brand (or fresh plant) you are using, how you are using it, and what condition you are using it to treat.  If a consumer product, the label should provide some helpful information as they may have variable ingredients and ingredient amounts.  Ask your provider if you have any specific questions on your brand and your condition.


As with taking any supplement or medication, it is always better to speak with your doctor or other health care provider about what you are putting into your body.  This information will help to ensure safety and coordination with other treatments you may be receiving.

Side Effects:

Topical use of Aloe vera is not shown to have any significant.  Oral use of Aloe vera, however, may have some potential side effects.  Some users have reported that they have cramping and diarrhea due to a laxative effect; this is more commonly found in “whole leaf” preparations than the “inner filet.”  Aloe may lower blood glucose, and may interact with other blood glucose lowering medications to cause a cumulative drop in blood glucose.  Some cases have been reported of acute hepatitis, but there is not definitive evidence that it was caused by the Aloe vera.  Whole leaf extract of Aloe vera was found in an extensive study to have carcinogenic activity in rats.

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