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aloe vera plant

© Steven Foster

An Aloe vera monograph for the home

Latin Name: Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis

Common Names: aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall


This fact sheet provides basic information about aloe vera—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Aloe vera Basics

  • Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.
  • Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.
  • Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

Aloe vera in Health Research

  • There’s not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it.

Aloe vera Research Summary

  • Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with aloe were at one time regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the safety data necessary for continued approval.
  • There’s some evidence that the topical use of aloe products might be helpful for symptoms of certain conditions such as psoriasis and certain rashes.
  • There’s not enough high-quality scientific evidence to show whether topical use of aloe helps to heal wounds.
  • There’s not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses.

Aloe vera Safety

  • Use of topical aloe vera is likely to be safe.
  • A 2-year National Toxicology Program study on oral consumption of nondecolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, based on tumors of the large intestine. Another study in rats showed that decolorized whole leaf aloe vera did not cause harmful effects. This suggests that a component called aloin, most of which is removed by the decolorization process, may be responsible for the tumors seen in rats fed nondecolorized whole leaf aloe vera. More information, including what products are actually in the marketplace and how individuals use different types of aloe vera products, is needed to determine the potential risks to humans.
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe latex. Also, because aloe latex is a laxative, it may reduce the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of some drugs that are taken orally.
  • People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe orally because aloe may lower blood glucose levels.
  • There have been a few reported cases of acute hepatitis in people who took aloe vera orally. However, the evidence is not definitive.

Aloe vera References


PubMed Articles About Aloe vera

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Poordast, T., Ghaedian, L., Ghaedian, L., Najib, FS., Alipour, S., Hosseinzadeh, M., Vardanjani, HM., Salehi, A., Hosseinimehr, SJ., (2021) Aloe Vera; A new treatment for atrophic vaginitis, A randomized double-blinded controlled trial.

Vaginal atrophy is of the most common problems during menopause with significant psychosocial and medical consequences. Estrogen as an approved therapy for vaginal atrophy can be associated with adverse effects and several contraindications in menopause patients. The aim is to compare the effect of Aloe Vera vaginal cream with commercially available estrogen vaginal cream for management of vaginal atrophy in menopause females.

Sayar, F., Farahmand, AH., Rezazadeh, M., (2021) Clinical Efficacy of Aloe Vera Toothpaste on Periodontal Parameters of Patients with Gingivitis-A Randomized, Controlled, Single-masked Clinical Trial.

This study aims to assess the effects of aloe vera toothpaste on dental plaques and gingivitis.

Badooei, F., Imani, E., Hosseini-Teshnizi, S., Banar, M., Memarzade, M., (2021) Comparison of the effect of ginger and aloe vera mouthwashes on xerostomia in patients with type 2 diabetes: A clinical trial, triple-blind.

Ginger and aloe vera are two medicinal herbs mostly used to produce mouthwash. This study aimed to compare the effects of ginger and aloe vera mouthwashes on the xerostomia in patients referred to Bandar Abbas diabetes clinic (Iran).

Zago, LR., Prado, K., Benedito, VL., Pereira, MM., (2021) The use of babosa (Aloe vera) in treating burns: a literature review.

Alo vera is a centenary remedy use for minor wounds and burns, but its mechanism of wound healing has not been know since. This article will evaluate and gather evidence of the effectiveness and safety of the use of aloe vera in the treatment of burns. A systematic review was carried out on the databases: MEDLINE, LILACS, DECS, SCIELO, in the last 7 years, with the descriptors: "Aloe", "Burns" and "treatment". 16 articles were found. After using the exclusion criteria; research in non-humans and literature review; 5 articles were selected. The article Teplick et al. (2018) performed an in vitro clinical experiment in A. Vera solution, and demonstrated that there was proliferation and cell migration of human skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes, in addition to being protective in the death of keratonocytes. That is, it accelerates the healing of wounds. Muangman et al. (2016), evaluated 50 patients with 20% of the total body surface area burned with second-degree burns, between 18-60 years old, with half of the group receiving gauze dressings with soft paraffin containing 0.5% chlorhexidine acetate and the other half receiving polyester dressings containing extracts of medicinal plants mainly Aloe Vera. It had positive results, a higher healing speed and shorter hospital stay compared to the control group. Hwang et al. (2015) investigated the antioxidant effects of different extracts from 2,4,6,8,12 months of Aloe Vera. And the 6-month concentrated extract of 0.25 mg / mL had a higher content of flavonoids (9.750 mg catechin equivalent / g extract) and polyphenols (23.375 mg gallic acid equivalent / g extract) and the greater ferric reducing antioxidant power (0.047 mM equivalent ferrous sulfate / mg extract), that is, greater potential for free radical scavenging and also a protective effect against oxidative stress induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP), suggesting evidence of a bioactive potential of A. vera . However, in the article Kolacz et al. (2014) suggested as an alternative treatment the use of Aloe Vera dressing in combination with honey, lanolin, olive oil, wheat germ oil, marshmallow root, wormwood, comfrey root, white oak bark, lobelia inflata, glycerin vegetable oil, beeswax and myrrh, without obtaining significant and conclusive results that would allow the conventional treatment of burns to be subsidized. Finally, in the article by Zurita and Gallegos (2017), it carried out a descriptive cross-sectional study with 321 people, both sexes between 17-76 years of age, of an inductive nature, exploring the experience of this population and their behavioral attitudes regarding the treatment of dermatoses. Aloe vera had 13.8% cited by individuals in the treatment of acne and 33.6% in the treatment of burns. Even with evidence that suggests the efficacy in the treatment of burns with the use of Aloe Vera extract, further clinical trials with larger sample space on the use of Aloe vera dressings in medium burns are suggested for further conclusions.

Alkhouli, M., Laflouf, M., Alhaddad, M., (2021) Efficacy of Aloe-Vera Use for Prevention of Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis in Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

Oral mucositis can be caused by chemotherapy and can affect a patient's quality of life. Nowadays, to prevent chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis (CIOM) is a crucial point in palliative care centers. This trial aimed to assess the effectiveness of aloe-vera in that concept. The trial was accomplished at Hematology Department of Hospital of Children of Damascus University, Syria. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) children were the population from which 26 children were enrolled in the study. They were aged between 3 and 6 years old and were randomly referred according to the intervention into two groups, Aloe-vera (AV) and sodium bicarbonate 5% (13 each). Spongeous sticks were used to help in applying the material on tongue, labial and buccal mucosa, lips, floor of the mouth, and hard palate. Two blinded external examiners evaluated oral mucosa weekly for up to 2 months using the World Health Organization grading scale. Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyze data. According to the observed findings, CIOM degrees were less severe in the aloe-vera group than in the sodium bicarbonate group. Statistically significant difference of occurrence of different CIOM degrees between groups was recorded in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th weeks of follow-up period. Moreover, Mann-Whitney U test indicated that patients in the sodium bicarbonate group began CIOM sooner than those in the aloe-vera group with a statistically significant difference ( = .001). These findings show that topical application of aloe-vera solution is effective in the prevention of CIOM in ALL children.