Sometimes dubbed as the “First Aid” plant because of the soothing gel inside the thick, succulent leaves, aloe vera has incredible, natural, skin care properties. Aloe vera is commonly used on sunburns, cuts, or even consumed. The 2011 2nd edition of Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects cites the extraordinarily long use of aloe vera for its therapeutic benefits, both internal and external.  Its use extends as far back as biblical times and was mentioned in the New Testament as an herb for embalming.
Aloe Vera’s Active Ingredients
Aloe vera could be considered a superfood, the leaf is filled with a gel containing at least 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 200 active enzymes. These compounds have tremendous benefit and potential in external and internal applications.
Skin Care Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been anecdotally cited for quite some time for a topical burn or cut remedy. Multiple studies have examined aloe vera as an agent to speeds recovery of skin wounds and found it to be beneficial, supporting traditional folk use. While this has consumer application, the propensity of aloe vera to stimulate cellular rejuvenation.   
Additionally, The Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Cosmetology at the University in Belgrade, Serbia, published research in 2011 noting that gel from aloe is believed to promote and assist the growth of new cells. 
Additional Benefits of Aloe Vera
- Studies show aloe vera gel is effective at reducing the pain of canker sores and helps them to go away faster. 
- With regard to interaction with ulcers, aloe vera has a cytoprotective action, meaning it helps to increase stomach mucosal production. It is this trait that lead to the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy including it in the development of a medication for ulcers. 
- Has hypoglycemic activity and anti-obesity effects.
- Aloe vera gel has frequently been cited for its powerful antioxidant effect.
- As may be expected, the beneficial components, including antioxidants, amino acids, and enzymes, increase as plant size increases.
- Clinical studies at the Texas Children’s Hospital show that aloe vera offers a strategy to alleviate certain glucose related ailments associated with pre diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Oddly enough, aloe vera may provide relief to persons experiencing symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. 
- May have expanded pharmaceutical applications as a drug absorption enhancing agents in certain drug delivery systems. 
- Iran’s Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences discovered that because of aloe vera’s ability to help with wounds, provide mucous membrane protection, and its antiinflammatory, immunomudulation, antifungal, antioxidant characteristics, it was an effective agent for reducing oral candidiasis in patients undergoing head and neck radiotherapy. 
Choosing the Best Aloe Vera Products
Purchasing an aloe vera product should be done with the same scrutiny you’d use when purchasing any supplement. Quality and purity should be your top priorities. If you’re buying aloe vera juice, organic is an absolute must. Unpasteurized is also mandatory to ensure enzymatic integrity. It’s a personal preference, but I also recommend a concentrated aloe vera juice. Many people find it easier to consume a more potently powerful small dose, as either a straight shot or juice/smoothie additive. Read and understand the labels to ensure you’re purchasing a quality product that’s both effective and pure.
A better idea is to grow your own aloe vera plant (or plants!). Aloe vera is a hearty succulent that is easy to grow as well as attractive. Nurturing your own plant is a great way to save money, have the freshest possible aloe vera gel on demand, and guarantee it’s additive free!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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- Foster M, Hunter D, Samman S. Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22593933
- Dat AD, Poon F, Pham KB, Doust J. Aloe vera for treating acute and chronic wounds. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22336851
- Takzare N, Hosseini MJ, Hasanzadeh G, Mortazavi H, Takzare A, Habibi P. Influence of Aloe Vera gel on dermal wound healing process in rat. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19778236
- Mendonça FA, Passarini Junior JR, Esquisatto MA, Mendonça JS, Franchini CC, Santos GM. Effects of the application of Aloe vera (L.) and microcurrent on the healing of wounds surgically induced in Wistar rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19377785
- Babaee N, Zabihi E, Mohseni S, Moghadamnia AA. Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23162576
- Ranade AN, Wankhede SS, Ranpise NS, Mundada MS. Development of Bilayer Floating Tablet of Amoxicillin and Aloe vera Gel Powder for Treatment of Gastric Ulcers. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23135966
- Saito M, Tanaka M, Misawa E, Yamada M, Yamauchi K, Iwatsuki K. Aloe vera Gel Extract Attenuates Ethanol-Induced Hepatic Lipid Accumulation by Suppressing the Expression of Lipogenic Genes in Mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23132591
- Moniruzzaman M, Rokeya B, Ahmed S, Bhowmik A, Khalil MI, Gan SH. In Vitro Antioxidant Effects of Aloe barbadensis Miller Extracts and the Potential Role of These Extracts as Antidiabetic and Antilipidemic Agents on Streptozotocin-Induced Type 2 Diabetic Model Rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2311742
- Lee S, Do SG, Kim SY, Kim J, Jin Y, Lee CH. Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolite Profiling and Antioxidant Activity of Aloe vera ( Aloe barbadensis Miller) in Different Growth Stages. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23050594
- Devaraj S, Yimam M, Brownell LA, Jialal I, Singh S, Jia Q. Effects of Aloe vera Supplementation in Subjects with Prediabetes/Metabolic Syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23035844
- López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, Molino-Pagan D. Prospective, randomized, double-blind, clinical evaluation of Aloe vera Barbadensis, applied in combination with a tongue protector to treat burning mouth syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22957483
- Beneke C, Viljoen A, Hamman J. In Vitro Drug Absorption Enhancement Effects of Aloe vera and Aloe ferox. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22896832
- Ahmadi A. Potential prevention: Aloe vera mouthwash may reduce radiation-induced oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855041
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