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Medicinal Uses of Aloe Vera

Updated on July 29, 2009
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

The health benefits and medicinal uses of aloe vera have been noted for centuries. It has been used by numerous cultures as a remedy and a beauty product.

The earliest mention of aloe vera seems to be a Sumerian tablet from about 2200 B.C.. By the Middle Ages, aloe vera was in widespread use among the people. During the Crusades the aloe vera was discovered by Europeans and the dried sap of the plant began being imported to all areas of Europe.

From there the plant gained popularity as a remedy for external irritations and skin problems. The explorers brought it with them to the New World, where it flourished in the Caribbean, Central and South Americas. It was planted around the missions as part of the medical herb gardens that helped treat the missionaries, as well as the native people, for illness.

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Modern Medicinal Uses of Aloe Vera

Modern society is rediscovering the value of the aloe vera plant. It can be used internally as well as externally for a variety of illnesses.

Externally

  • Rub gel on burns
  • Wounds
  • Blisters
  • Surgical wounds
  • Chicken pox
  • Shingles
  • Insect bites
  • Poison ivy
  • Psoriasis
  • Wrinkles
  • Sunburn
  • Acne
  • Dry skin
  • Fungus

Internal

  • Laxative
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney infections
  • Acid reflux
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Irritable bowel
  • Colitis

Using Aloe Vera

The most common way to use aloe vera is to snip one of the pulpy leaves off the plant and squeeze the gel on the affected area. For the healing of scars and burns the leaves can be sliced in half vertically and applied to a larger area, held in place with an elastic wrap if necessary.

To prepare aloe vera for internal use, cut the leaves from the plant. Don't cut too many at once or you could kill the aloe vera. Carefully rinse them and then peel. There may be a brown substance that comes from it as you cut. Be sure to rinse this off the gel as it will have a strong laxative effect.

Place the gel in your blender with enough purified water to make a juice. It is very important that you check with your doctor before you ingest aloe vera. There are certain people who should not take aloe vera internally. Some of the reasons are listed below.

Aloe Vera Side Effects and Cautions

Some people do experience side effects when using aloe vera. Some of these are:

  • Dehydration due to frequent stools
  • Stomach cramping
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lowered potassium levels

In addition you should not take Aloe Vera internally if you have:

  • Kidney problems
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnant
  • Nursing
  • Allergies to onions, garlic, or tulips

If you are are medication there can be a reaction with your medications, so be sure to check with a health care provider.

Growing Aloe Vera

It is easy to grow aloe vera as a house plant. They don't need a lot of care and can be easily propagated.

Just keep the plant in a sunny window during the cool months. The planter should be wide and shallow with plenty of gravel in the bottom for drainage. Soak the soil with water and then do not water again until it is completely dry.Fertilize once a year, usually just before you move them outside, with a 10-40-10 fertilizer diluted to half strength.

In the summer the plant can be moved outside. Keep them in a lightly shaded area for the first few days and allow them to adjust to the change.

The mature plant will grow small aloe veras at the base. These are called offsets and can be removed when they are about three inches tall and replanted.


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    • Organicpixie profile image

      Organicpixie 5 years ago from London

      Voted up, Aloe is a favourite ingredient of mine :)

    • profile image

      Goodness Atuchukwu 5 years ago

      God bles you for revealing the natural benefits of aloe vera,i wil start using it immediately.

    • profile image

      yogesh sood 5 years ago

      excellent piece of work i really like it keep it up !!!:-D

    • mabmiles profile image

      mabmiles 5 years ago

      Aloe Vera is an excellent component to hair volume!

    • Cedar Cove Farm profile image

      Cedar Cove Farm 6 years ago from Southern Missouri

      Aloe is most excellent stuff, we keep several plants growing in our home. There is a lot here I didn't know, though, so thanks for sharing this.

    • profile image

      From jormz 7 years ago

      hai..will you give extra informations about the contents of aloe vera...please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      patro 7 years ago

      a nature gods gift . a cheap and good solution for health problems.thanks for your very valuable information.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      We had hundreds of aloe vera plants along the slopes of our house in Wickenburg Arizona. This plant is so prolific it will spread out of control if the ground isn't as hard as cement! Those offshoots (we called them babies) are prolific.

      Aloe also flowers in orange and yellow and the hummingbirds and butterflies love these flowers. Aloe is pretty and green and really drought tolerant. We never wanted for a sunburn soother. Like your other readers I didn't know it had so many medicinal qualities.

    • healthwriter profile image

      healthwriter 7 years ago from USA

      great article...aloe vera is very useful in healing skin problems..

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      My son used Aloe Vera to heal his stomach when he had been to doctors and tried everything else, he was told to just cut off a stem everyday and keep it in a glass of water, refilling throughout the day, but it does make more sense and less waste to blend a smaller amount, but for someone lazy I guess his way would beat not trying it. Good hub. You write about some interesting things. Im sure I will want to check them all out.

    • Joshua Miguel profile image

      Joshua Miguel 7 years ago

      very interesting post,i also read somewhere that aloe very can also cure cancer.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Marye Audet, Nice Hub!

      Thank you for these great tips on uses for Aloe Vera1

      Thank you for sharing! Blessings!

    • edguider profile image

      edguider 7 years ago

      I have an aloe vera plant in my back yard and use it all the time! Glad I read this hub, thanks!!!!

    • Sterling Sage profile image

      Sterling Sage 7 years ago from California

      So glad I read this hub!

      I was just wishing I had a natural laxative, but I didn't think about aloe. I have a plant right here--time to chop off a leaf!

    • RK Sangha profile image

      RK Sangha 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for telling the benefits of aloevera. I rated up.

    • profile image

      strato 7 years ago

      Great information about aloe vera. Congrats!

    • Sophia Heresford profile image

      Sophia Heresford 7 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub! I really love aloe vera, I need to get a new plant!

      Sophia

    • NZUNG SERAPHINE profile image

      NZUNG SERAPHINE 7 years ago

      I did not know aloe vera had so many functions.this is a wonderful hub with useful informations.i love it and thanks alot for it.

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