Aloe vera: magic or medicine?
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Aloe vera: magic or medicine?

Peter Atherton GP and Visiting Research Fellow, Green College, University of Oxford, and works with the Global Initiative for Traditional Systems of Health (GIFTS)

Some recent studies appear to show topical and orally administered aloe vera preparations in patients with chronic venous leg ulcers may aid healing. Despite encouraging results, in the absence of larger research studies, the author cautions against generalisation of this complementary treatment

The healing properties of the succulent plant aloe vera have been known for thousands of years. Belonging to the lily family and related to the onion, garlic and asparagus, evidence supporting the early use of aloe was discovered on a Mesopotamian clay tablet dating from 2100 BC. In Cairo in 1862, George Ebers, a German Egyptologist, bought a papyrus which had been found in a sarcophagus excavated near Thebes a few years earlier. Aloe vera as a herbal preparation, was mentioned in the papyrus no fewer than 12 times.

Nursing Standard. 12, 41, 49-54. doi: 10.7748/ns.12.41.49.s40

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