Aloe vera is a medicinal plant with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Aloe vera benefits can include reducing dental plaque, accelerating wound healing, preventing wrinkles, and managing blood sugar.
Aloe vera, or Aloe barbadensis, is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. It is best known for treating skin injuries but has several other uses that could potentially benefit health.
This article lists eight potential health benefits of aloe vera. It also covers some of the risks associated with use.
The cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries use aloe vera extensively, and the plant has an estimated annual market value of
Aloe vera is known for its thick, pointed, and fleshy green leaves, which may grow to about 12–19 inches (30–50 centimeters) in length.
Each leaf contains a slimy tissue that stores water, making the leaves thick. This water-filled tissue is the “gel” that people associate with aloe vera products.
Aloe vera is
People most often use aloe vera as a
The United States Pharmacopeia described aloe vera preparations as a skin protectant as early as 1810–1820.
Studies suggest that it is an effective topical treatment for first and second-degree burns.
For example, a
The evidence for aloe vera helping heal other types of wounds is inconclusive, but the research is promising.
After 4 weeks of use, the aloe vera mouth rinse decreased plaque, gingivitis, and salivary Streptococcus mutans (a plaque-producing bacterium), making it comparable to that of chlorhexidine.
Studies have shown that aloe vera treatment can accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers.
For example, a 2022 review of nine randomized controlled trials concluded that aloe vera treatment can accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers better than other interventions. It also offers a shorter healing time.
This time, it is the latex, not the gel, that provides the benefits. The latex is a sticky yellow residue present just under the skin of the leaf.
The key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has
However, people have raised concerns about safety with frequent use. For this reason, aloe latex has not been available in the U.S. as an over-the-counter medication since
There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that topical aloe vera gel can slow aging of the skin.
Read more about aloe vera’s effects on the skin here:
However, the quality of these existing studies is not ideal, so scientists do not currently recommend using aloe vera for this purpose.
The benefits of aloe vera for the hair have mainly been studied in relation to seborrheic dermatitis – a skin condition that causes a reddish rash with crusty, yellow-white scales, usually on the face and scalp.
One older study indicated that aloe vera significantly reduces itchiness, scaliness, and affected area size in those with the condition.
Given that seborrheic dermatitis can lead to temporary hair loss, this underscores aloe vera’s potential for promoting hair growth.
Aloe vera can come in various forms, including a topical gel or ointment, it can be used in its raw form, or it can even be consumed as a liquid.
Aloe vera is a safe remedy with few known side effects.
That said, the oral use of aloe vera may cause stomach cramps or diarrhea due to its laxative effects. There have also been
Also, there may be risks associated with non-decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera. This form of aloe vera is taken from the plant’s leaves and is not filtered to remove cancer-causing chemicals.
Aloe vera has a range of therapeutic properties, especially as an ointment for the skin and gums.
People can use bottled aloe vera gel or take it directly from the leaf of an aloe plant. Aloe vera juice has different uses than aloe vera gel.
Oral options should contain decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera to minimize risk.
A person should always speak to a doctor before using aloe products to treat a condition.