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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Amanda Olson,DPT, PRPC
Aloe vera plant is has been used for centuries as a medicinal remedy to address a myriad of different ailments. It can be grown at home and harvested or bought in various forms.
The soothing, healing, and moisturizing properties make it an ideal plant to use in many forms. Aloe vera capsules, gels, creams, and ointments are made from the gel in aloe vera plants. They can be applied directly to the skin in topical format or purchased in capsule format and ingested by mouth.
For the best active ingredients and highest concentration, you will need a mature aloe vera plant that is at least a year or two old. To harvest the gel or juice from an aloe vera plant:
Harvested raw aloe vera may be blended with other ingredients into a smoothie, or applied topically to the skin to soothe abrasions, sun burns, dry or irritated skin.
If you plan to consume the aloe slices as a juice, smoothie, or gel snack orally, be sure to consume it within a few days of harvest for optimal freshness and to prevent bacterial growth. It will keep best in the refrigerator for a few days. Aloe vera gel can also be stored in the freezer if you do not intend to use it immediately.
Aloe vera based mouthwash and toothpaste have been shown to decrease levels of candida, plaque, and gingivitis1. The great news is this study shows that subjects who used the aloe-based toothpaste experienced superior oral hygiene without negative side effects.
Aloe not only sooths the skin, but active ingredients can help to decrease acne as well. A study found that an aloe-based blend was more effective at treating mild to moderate acne2.
Topical aloe vera has been shown to be more effective and treating skin burns than medical 1% silver sulfadiazine cream. Aloe vera was not only more cost effective but healed the skin faster3.
Aloe vera used in capsule format has been shown to decrease pain and improve bladder lining health4. A preliminary study on animals found that oral capsule format aloe vera increased the production of the glucosaminoglycan (GAG) molecules- the primary component of the bladder lining.