Uses of Aloe

Aloe vera is a succulent plant with long, thick, waxy leaves that contain gel. People have used this plant for thousands of years to heal various health conditions, primarily skin disorders. According to MedLine Plus, the online health information resource maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, more research is needed to confirm the medicinal benefits of aloe vera. Aloe can be grown as a houseplant and the gel obtained by breaking leaves off the plant. Aloe also is available commercially in gel and juice form and as an ingredient in skin care products.

Skin Benefits

Aloe vera may reduce pain and inflammation and stimulate skin growth, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). A study published in the February 2008 issue of “Skin Pharmacology and Physiology” found that aloe gel showed better anti-inflammatory effects than 1 percent strength hydrocortisone gel. Additionally, a study published in the August 1996 issue of “Tropical Medicine and International Health” indicates benefits of aloe vera for treating psoriasis when applied in extract form as an ingredient in a hydrophilic cream. MedlinePlus notes that aloe may be effective for relieving seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky scales on oily skin. It commonly occurs on the scalp and leads to dandruff. Aloe is a common home remedy for sunburn, minor burns, cuts and scrapes.


Limited evidence from human studies indicates possible benefits of aloe gel for improving symptoms of genital herpes, according to MedlinePlus. The research has focused on men applying aloe in extract form in a hydrophilic cream. The aloe cream treatment has achieved better results than applying aloe gel or a placebo.

Mouth Conditions

Aloe vera may have benefits for some painful mouth conditions, according MedlinePlus. Aloe gel may decrease the pain of recurrent canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, and lengthen the time between the formation of new sores. Aloe also may be beneficial for treating lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lining of the mouth.