Aloe vera, commonly called just aloe, produces both a gel and a latex substance. Both of these substances have medicinal purposes. The gel substance is similar to a jelly in consistency and it is clear. You retrieve this from the inside of the plant’s leaves. The latex substance is yellow and you retrieve it from below the skin of the plant. You can use aloe topically by applying it to the skin or you can use it orally, depending on what you are taking it for.
In most cases, aloe is used topically for a number of skin conditions and injuries. Aloe contains a variety of chemical substances that can improve the health of the skin and promote healing. Oral aloe is slightly less common and it is important to note that when you take aloe orally, make sure to take the gel and not the latex form.
How Does Aloe Work?
Scientists are still learning about exactly how aloe works, but when applied topically, it is believed that it actually changes the skin. For example, when used for psoriasis, it changes the skin in a way that improves cell turnover to prevent the buildup of skin that contributes to the characteristic plaques. It also appears to prevent cell death and improve blood circulation. This can promote the faster healing of wounds and other skin issues.
When aloe is applied both topically or taken orally, it has powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties. This makes aloe useful for a variety of infections and other issues related to fungi and bacteria.
Uses for Aloe
The following are some common uses for aloe (always check with your healthcare provider to make sure it would be appropriate for you to try):
- Lichen planus
- Cold sores
- Dry socket
- Dental plaque
- Diaper rash
- Dry skin
Aloe vera is a very popular natural remedy that may be useful for over two dozen different health complaints. Keeping a fresh aloe plant in your home is a quick and easy way to also have access to fresh aloe when you need it. You can also find it in juice and gel form at health food stores. If you purchase aloe, just make sure to choose an organic or all-natural version so that it has the compounds that provide you with the most health benefits.