Saturday, December 3, 2011

Are Aloe Vera Plants Good for Lip Sores?

Aloe vera plants have spear-like, gel-filled leaves that can grow up to 36 inches long.

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Aloe vera is a succulent plant yielding two medicinal substances: latex and gel. Aloe latex is extracted from just beneath the plant's skin, and can be taken orally to treat constipation and a variety of other disorders. Aloe gel, the most commonly used form, is extracted from the plant's leaves to treat wounds and skin conditions, such as lip sores. Aloe products are available commercially, and the plant can also be grown as a houseplant.

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Pure aloe gel can be purchased or extracted from the plant by slitting one of the leaves lengthwise and squeezing out the gel. Aloe is also included as a skin soother in creams, ointments, lotions and cosmetic products. The percentage of aloe used in each product varies.

How It Works

Aloe consists of 99 percent water, as well as glycoproteins and polysaccharides, which are believed to stimulate blood flow and immunity and may produce a mild antibacterial effect. Glycoproteins speed the healing process by reducing pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center's website.

How to Use

Pure aloe gel or aloe products can be applied directly to the skin to treat lip sores in both children and adults. Before use, clean the area around the mouth thoroughly with soap and water and dry gently. Apply pure aloe gel liberally to the lip sore several times daily, or follow the package's instructions on creams or ointments containing aloe. Avoid applying aloe gel to open wounds.

Cautions and Risks

As of 2011, there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support aloe as a treatment for cold sores and other wounds. Consult with your doctor before using aloe to determine if it is an appropriate treatment option for your lip sore. Also, inform your doctor of all medications and supplements you are taking to avoid a potentially negative interaction with aloe products. Topical aloe may cause skin irritation in some individuals, according to WebMD. Discontinue use of aloe products if skin irritation occurs, and contact your doctor if irritation worsens or does not improve after discontinuing aloe use.

ReferencesUniversity of Maryland Medical Center: AloeWebMD: Find a Vitamin or Supplement: AloeWebMD: Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide: Aloe VeraPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/ ImagesRead Next:

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