What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of uses for aloe vera?
If you are like most people, you already know that its cooling properties can quickly take the sting out of sunburns. While it is true that aloe vera is great for soothing sunburns, it has a number of other medicinal properties that have made it a useful natural remedy for thousands of years.
What are some of these other uses for aloe vera, and how effective are they? Read further to see how your patients may benefit from aloe vera, other than as a topical treatment.
1. Antioxidant and antibiotic properties
A 2013 study in the journal Organic and Medical Chemistry Letters examined the phytochemical properties of aloe vera extracts. The researchers found that the extracts contained a number of antioxidant and antibiotic compounds, including polyphenols, indoles, alkaloids, ethanol and acetone.1 The polyphenols were found to have the greatest amount of antioxidants, while the antibiotics were most effective against S. pyogenes and P. aeroginosa.1
Such properties could make aloe vera extracts invaluable against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Dental disease
Several studies have looked at the use of aloe vera mouth rinse as a way to fight tooth decay and plaque build-up. A 2014 study in Oral Health and Dental Management found that aloe vera juice was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouth wash in reducing dental plaque over the course of 15 to 30 days.2 Another study with 300 patients compared standard chlorhexidine mouth wash to aloe vera mouth was after four days of plaque growth.3
The aloe vera juice mouth rinse was found to be just as effective as standard mouth wash. It is particularly effective in targeting both the bacteria S. mutans in the mouth, as well as the yeast C. albicans.
3. Canker sores
Given the effectiveness of aloe vera in fighting plaque, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to consider that it can also be effective against canker sores in the mouth. In most cases, these sores will last anywhere from seven to 10 days. However, some studies have shown that treating them with aloe vera can reduce the time it takes for the sores to heal.
A 2012 study in Dental Research Journal looked at the effects of treating recurring canker sores of the mouth with aloe vera for a group of 40 patients.4 The researchers found that not only did the canker sores treated with aloe vera heal faster than those treated with standard preparations, but study subjects reported less pain associated with canker sores treated with aloe vera.
The aloe vera plant has been used as part of natural medicine for thousands of years. However, your patients may only know of one or two of its uses. It may be a great time to open their eyes to more of the benefits they can gain from this plant.
- Fatemeh N-B. Antibacterial activities and antioxidant capacity of aloe vera. Organic and Medical Chemistry Letters. 2013;3:5.
- Karim B1, Bhaskar DJ, Agali C, et al. Effect of aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: Triple blind randomized control trial. Oral Health and Dental Management. 2014 Mar;13(1):14-19.
- Gupta RK, Gupta D, Bhaskar DJ, et al. Preliminary antiplaque efficacy of aloe vera mouthwash on 4 day plaque re-growth model: Randomized control trial. Ethiopian Journal of Health Science. 2014 Apr;24(2):139-144.
- Babaee N, Zabihi E, Mohseni S, Moghadamnia AA. Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Dental Research Journal. 2012;9(4):381-385.