Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera)
Aloe vera is a desert plant that has been used medicinally for 6,000 years, and it is one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States today. Many people keep an aloe plant on their windowsill, and break open a leaf when they need aloe gel for first aid. The clear gel inside aloe leaves is a classic remedy for skin problems of any kind, especially dry skin and burns. Early scientific studies of aloe have been very promising, and suggest that aloe may be useful for healing burns and abrasions. Aloe’s other uses have not been extensively studied yet, however.
Using Aloe Vera to Prevent Dandruff
- Thoroughly rub aloe vera gel into your scalp before bed; shampoo in the morning.
- Repeat whenever necessary.
Why It Works
Aloe contains anti-inflammatory compounds called glycoproteins, so it soothes the itching that is often associated with dandruff. In fact, studies show that aloe is a more effective anti-inflammatory than one percent hydrocortisone cream. And aloe gel has a moisturizing effect on the dry skin of the scalp. But aloe also is thought to contain chemical compounds, called polysaccharides, that stimulate skin growth and repair.
There are no side effects associated with using aloe vera topically.
Some people who take aloe vera orally, by drinking aloe juice or gel, have reported that they experienced abdominal cramps and diarrhea (aloe vera is also used as a laxative). Some studies show that aloe may lower blood glucose, so people with diabetes who take glucose-lowering medications should be cautious about taking aloe orally. In addition, aloe may decrease potassium levels in the body, so it should not be taken orally by people who take diuretics (water pills) or by people who are being treated with digoxin for irregular heart rhythms and congestive heart failure.