Q. I have noticed that Aloe vera is used in a lot of lotions and ointments for the skin. Is there any science behind this popular use and is Aloe vera helpful at all if taken internally.
A. Aloe vera products, both for internal and external use, are widely used in the United States. Despite this widespread use and acceptance, there are very few controlled studies on Aloe vera. From the information currently available, it can be concluded that Aloe vera can be used topically in the treatment of minor burns, cuts, and abrasions. It does seem to be very effective in promoting healing when applied to the skin.
The use of aloe orally, other than for its well-accepted laxative effect, has not been fully studied. Preliminary and anecdotal studies indicate that when taken internally Aloe vera products may be helpful in asthma, diabetes, immune system enhancement and HIV infection, and healing peptic ulcers. The typical amount of Aloe vera gel taken internally is one tablespoon twice daily.Michael Murray, ND, is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine and a contributor to the Healthnotes, Inc. team of experts. Dr. Murray is the author of A Textbook of Natural Medicine, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, and The Healing Power of Herbs. He also authors Dr. Murray’s Electronic Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, an exclusive Healthnotes product.