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aloe vera plantAloe Vera

Aloe barbadensis miller, is a member of the lily family native to northern Africa (but now grown around the world). It is a stemless plant that grows 23-35 inches in height and has fleshy, thorny leaves that are 3-4 inches across at their bases and weigh 3-4 pounds each.

Aloe vera has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Egyptian carvings dating back 6,000 years show aloe vera being used, and use of the plant is recorded in the writings of early cultures in India and China.

The most commonly used part of the aloe vera plant is a clear, jelly-like substance found inside the leaf known as gel. It is known to be effective for soothing a variety of skin irritations, including psoriasis, minor burns, itching, and sunburn. There is also some evidence to suggest that aloe vera gel may help skin wounds heal by promoting blood circulation around the injured area, thus reducing the risk of cell death. Although some natural medicine promoters claim that aloe vera gel taken internally can help osteoarthritis, ulcers and other digestive disorders, and diabetes, scientific evidence for these claims is still lacking.

Aloe vera latex, a yellowish substance which comes from just under the skin of an aloe vera leaf, is said to be a cure for constipation when taken orally, but, again, there is little scientific evidence to either support or refute the claim. There is, however, evidence that aloe vera latex may be toxic if taken in high doses, so anyone considering such use should consult their doctor first.

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The Robinson Library >> Medicine >> Therapeutics

This page was last updated on 02/24/2017.