The Many Uses of Aloe Vera
People have relied on the medicinal properties of the gel and leaf lining of the aloe vera plant for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, for example, the plant was illustrated on stone carvings and included as a burial present for pharaohs. However, aloe is ineffective or even harmful as a treatment for some conditions.
Aloe may help heal and relieve pain associated with burns or cuts. In addition, it may effectively treat psoriasis vulgaris and seborrheic dermatitis, but more research is needed, according to Medline Plus.
Some people ingest the inner lining of the aloe vera leaf for its laxative properties. As of 2010, more research is needed to establish safe doses and compare aloe with other laxatives, according to Medline Plus.
Aloe has also been used to treat cancer, diabetes, HIV and ulcerative colitis. The scientific evidence supporting these uses of aloe is unclear, according to Medline Plus. However, there is some scientific evidence against the use of aloe to treat mucositis, radiation dermatitis and pressure ulcers.
Using aloe gel as a skin ointment does not usually cause side effects. However, oral ingestion of aloe may cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Always tell your doctor if you use any complementary medicine, such as aloe vera treatments.