Aloe vera has been proven to help improve wound healing.
A succulent plant found across the world, aloe vera isn’t known for being exceptionally beautiful, what with its lack of color and intimidating spikes. Despite that lack of aesthetic value, aloe vera has long been heralded for its medicinal uses, especially when it comes to wound care. The plant has been used to treat any number of small cuts, abrasions, skin irritations, and mild burns. It’s been used as a topical ointment and in dressings, but the question still remains: Is aloe vera an effective choice to improve wound healing?
How does aloe vera work?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, while the aloe vera plant is 99 percent water, it does contain two powerful chemicals that improve wound healing. Polysaccharides have been known to increase cellular movement, which leads to faster and more efficient tissue regrowth. Glycoproteins, meanwhile, are not only a pain reliever but can help control the inflammatory response. There’s even evidence that these two compounds together may improve the immune system, and that’s better for the body overall.
Does aloe vera help with cutaneous wounds?
In 2015, a group of researchers performed a through examination of aloe vera’s effect on cutaneous wounds. Publishing their results in the journal BioMed Research International, the team found that aloe vera is quite effective in dealing with this specific wound type. While both polysaccharides and glycoproteins were mentioned, the scientists also brought attention to other compounds. Glucomannan, for instance, stimulates the growth of fibroblasts, and it’s these cells that help build new collagen and tissue. Other chemicals in aloe vera also can foster the secretion of the body’s own insulin-like growth factors, which are mostly responsible for blood vessel regrowth.
Does aloe vera work with ulcers?
This miracle plant may have an effect on cutaneous wounds, but ulcers are a different type of wound entirely. To understand aloe vera’s true impact, a team from India used it to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria in leg ulcers. Publishing their results in the Australasian Medical Journal, the Indian team noted that aloe vera is a cheap and effective alternative to other topical anti-microbial solutions. In fact, the aloe vera was so effective that bacterial growth fell by over 90 percent in just 11 days. So, what makes aloe vera so effective against these nasty bugs? The researchers pointed to hormones and anthraquinones, as both of these have demonstrated antiviral and antifungal properties.
Before you turn to aloe vera, be sure to speak with your physician. He or she may suggest a specific usage or to avoid the plant entirely, based on your unique medical background.
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