Aloe Vera, Miracle Product or Fashionable Fad?

Aloe Vera has become exceptionally popular recently. It is found in lotions and creams, shampoos and skin treatments, and is even available in bottles for drinking as a dietary supplement. Aloe is popular now, but is it just a passing fad, or is it really a miracle product?

A desert plant native to northern Africa, aloe vera, has been used medicinally since ancient times. There is no doubt that it possesses medicinal properties useful in treating a variety of ailments. Some of its uses are backed by scientific evidence, others are not proven scientifically but are supported by testimonials to its effectiveness.

Topical Uses of Aloe Vera

An attractive succulent, aloe vera is commonly kept as a houseplant. Aloe plant owners have been known to take clippings from the plant to treat burns and other wounds. Application of the raw aloe gel directly on skin is soothing, calms inflammation and promotes healing.

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Aloe gel can also be found commercially. The gel is often bottled and marketed as after sun lotion, to accelerate the healing of sunburns. Gel from the aloe plant does have anti-inflammatory properties that aid in healing of and reduce itching associated with minor wounds and burns.

Extract from the aloe vera plant is used commercially in lotions, shampoos and homeopathic medications to treat dry skin, dandruff, and other skin ailments from acne to psoriasis.

Internal Uses of Aloe Vera

Large bottles of aloe juice are available from health food stores. This juice is intended for drinking and as a dietary supplement. It is thought to treat intestinal ailments from irritable bowel syndrome to ulcers and crones disease, among other conditions. These treatments have not been medically proven, but there is evidence suggesting that aloe does support the immune system.

Aloe latex is scraped from the inner layer of skin of the aloe leaf and processed into medicine for the treatment of constipation. Its use as a laxative and has been clinically shown to be effective, though treatments other than aloe latex may be more effective. It is often used as a gentle natural laxative to remedy constipation in holistic medicine.

Is Aloe Vera Worth all the Hype?

Recently, aloe vera has become widely commercialized. Claims that it will treat conditions from acne to constipation, to diabetes and ulcers abound. There is scientific evidence supporting some of these claims, but not all. Calling Aloe Vera a miracle product is extreme, but that does not mean it is ineffective. Fads come and go.

Aloe vera is popular now and it is sure to lose some of its popularity in the future. This is not because it is ineffective, but simply because fads die out. Aloe vera is not a miracle product but it has its uses and will always be beneficial to those who use it appropriately, whether it is in style or not. Aloe is a medicinal plant that has a solid footing in alternative medicine, and also has earned a degree of respect in traditional medicine.

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Copyright 2008 Barry Dyson