Aloe is a natural substance that can be used in a variety of home remedies. Related to cactus, aloe plants have leaves that contain a clear gel. When applied to the skin in home remedies, aloe gel may help promote healing for a number of everyday ailments.
The Health Benefits Of Aloe:
Here's a look at several health problems that might improve following treating with aloe home remedies:
Studies show that aloe gel can help promote healing from burns. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggests using aloe to treat first-degree burns (a type of burn marked by redness, pain, and slight swelling when pressure is applied to the skin). However, the AAFP urges seeking medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- A burn on your face, over a major joint (such as the knee or shoulder), or on your hands, feet, or genitals.
- A first- or second-degree burn that covers an area larger than two inches in diameter.
- Third-degree burn. (A type of burn that damages all layers of the skin, third-degree burns leave the skin white or charred. Due to damage in the nerves and tissue, third-degree burns may cause little or no pain.)
There's some evidence that aloe gel may help alleviate sunburn. In a small study published in Skin Pharmacology & Physiology in 2008, for instance, researchers found that use of a product containing 97.5 percent aloe gel helped reduce the inflammation associated with sunburn. In their analysis of tests on 40 volunteers, the study's authors determined that the aloe gel had some anti-inflammatory benefits superior to those of a gel containing 1 percent hydrocortisone (a topical steroid often used in sunburn treatment).
Other Uses for Aloe in Home Remedies:
Research shows that aloe gel contains compounds that help stimulate blood circulation, prevent cell death around wounds, and destroy bacteria and fungi.
People typically use aloe home remedies for the following health problems:
- cold sores
How To Use Aloe Vera In Home Remedies:
Aloe gel is available for purchase in many drugstores and natural-food stores. When purchasing aloe gel, make sure to choose a product that lists aloe as the first ingredient on the label. Look for products with a high percentage of aloe gel in their formula.
You can also source your aloe gel directly from the plant. When using fresh aloe for home remedies, start by cutting off a leaf as close to the stalk as possible. Then, cut the leaf length-wise and scrape out the gel with a knife. Aloe gel can then be applied to the area of skin in need of treatment.
Are Aloe Home Remedies Safe?
Although applying aloe gel to the skin is generally considered safe, some people may experience allergic reactions when using aloe home remedies.
What You Need To Know Before Using Aloe Vera Home Remedies
While aloe gel can help treat minor wounds and burns, it's critical to seek medical attention for serious injuries or chronic health problems. If you're in doubt about the severity of your injury or health issue, contact a medical provider immediately.
In addition, you should contact a medical provider if your injury fails to heal after being treated with home aloe remedies.
American Academy of Family Physicians. "First Aid: Burns." December 2010.
Maenthaisong R, Chaiyakunapruk N, Niruntraporn S, Kongkaew C. "The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review." Burns. 2007 Sep;33(6):713-8.
National Institutes of Health. "Aloe: MedlinePlus Supplements." June 2012.
Reuter J, Jocher A, Stump J, Grossjohann B, Franke G, Schempp CM. "Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of Aloe vera gel (97.5%) in the ultraviolet erythema test." Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2008;21(2):106-10.