Ask The Pharmacist: Aloe vera has 10 impressive uses
Aloe vera made a couple of headlines recently. The first was when the actress Drew Barrymore dabbed some on a facial sore and it instantly took out the redness. The second was when Prop 65 regulations in California called out a known carcinogen in aloe vera called “aloin.”
Don’t worry, aloe will never get banned.
Not to be morbid from the get-go, but extracted compounds from this spiky succulent were used in the middle east during ancient times to clean dead bodies and prepare them for burial.
Plants of aloe vera give us two different substances, one is called “gel” and the other is called “latex. Both have medicinal value. The gel is the clear part that comes from the center of the leaf. You know it well. It looks like jelly and it’s what you put on the skin for cuts and minor burns. The aloe latex is visible just beneath the plant’s outer skin, and it’s yellow in color. This has a laxative effect on the body.
Aloe is very useful for psoriasis, food sensitivities, diabetes, gastritis and gingivitis. If these topics interest you, I have a way longer version of this article which I’ll email to you next week if you sign up to receive my free health newsletter at suzycohen.
10 uses for your aloe plant
- Moisturize yourself – Mix some into your favorite lotion and put on your face or arms.
- Heal bug bites – Dab aloe gel directly onto painful or itchy but bites, or combine the aloe in the palm of your hand with some hydrocortisone cream.
- Cool off burns – Squeeze a dab of aloe vera into traditional burn ointment and use on superficial burns.
- Soothe eczema itch – You can buy any salt or sugar scrub that feels good to you and just mix in aloe vera gel.
- Ease dandruff – Find a selenium sulfide-based shampoo and add some aloe vera gel to the shampoo then massage to your scalp.
- Fix gingivitis – Squeeze some aloe vera gel onto your toothbrush and brush like normal.
- Shave your legs – Instead of using expensive, perfumed shaving cream on your legs, use aloe vera gel.
- Get moving – There are commercially prepared products used as dietary supplements which might help constipation. Some people like this, others react poorly.
- Succulent facial – Do you want softer skin and more radiance without spending a fortune on fancy creams? Apply the gel to your cheeks and forehead, and rest for 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
- Soothe a sunburn – Snap off a stalk from your aloe plant and apply the clear gel onto the sunburned area for a natural cooling balm. It helps with redness and inflammation.
Note: Occasionally with aloe, you hear of unexpected problems such as diarrhea, skin or eye irritation and possibly dehydration from the laxative effect.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.