Sometimes dubbed as the “First Aid” plant because of the soothing gel inside the thick, succulent leaves, aloe vera has incredible, natural, skin care properties. Aloe vera is commonly used on sunburns, cuts, or even consumed. The 2011 2nd edition of Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects cites the extraordinarily long use of aloe vera for its therapeutic benefits, both internal and external.  Its use extends as far back as biblical times and was mentioned in the New Testament as an herb for embalming.
Aloe Vera’s Active Ingredients
Aloe vera could be considered a superfood, the leaf is filled with a gel containing at least 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 200 active enzymes. These compounds have tremendous benefit and potential in external and internal applications.
Skin Care Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been anecdotally cited for quite some time for a topical burn or cut remedy. Multiple studies have examined aloe vera as an agent to speeds recovery of skin wounds and found it to be beneficial, supporting traditional folk use of aloe vera to stimulate cellular rejuvenation.   
Additionally, The Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Cosmetology at the University in Belgrade, Serbia, published research in 2011 noting that gel from aloe is believed to promote and assist the growth of new cells. 
Additional Benefits of Aloe Vera
- Studies show aloe vera gel is effective at reducing the pain of canker sores and helps them to go away faster. 
- With regard to interaction with ulcers, aloe vera has a cytoprotective action, meaning it helps to increase stomach mucosal production. It is this trait that lead to the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy including it in the development of a medication for ulcers. 
- Has hypoglycemic activity and anti-obesity effects.
- Aloe vera gel has frequently been cited for its powerful antioxidant effect.
- As may be expected, the beneficial components, including antioxidants, amino acids, and enzymes, increase as plant size increases.
- Clinical studies at the Texas Children’s Hospital show that aloe vera offers a strategy to alleviate certain glucose related ailments associated with pre diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Oddly enough, aloe vera may provide relief to persons experiencing symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. 
- May have expanded pharmaceutical applications as a drug absorption enhancing agents in certain drug delivery systems. 
- Iran’s Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences discovered that because of aloe vera’s ability to help with wounds, provide mucous membrane protection, and its antiinflammatory, immunomudulation, antifungal, antioxidant characteristics, it was an effective agent for reducing oral candidiasis in patients undergoing head and neck radiotherapy. 
Choosing the Best Aloe Vera Products
Purchasing an aloe vera product should be done with the same scrutiny you’d use when purchasing any supplement. Quality and purity should be your top priorities. If you’re buying aloe vera juice, organic is an absolute must. Unpasteurized is also mandatory to ensure enzymatic integrity. It’s a personal preference, but I also recommend a concentrated aloe vera juice. Many people find it easier to consume a more potently powerful small dose, as either a straight shot or juice/smoothie additive. Read and understand the labels to ensure you’re purchasing a quality product that’s both effective and pure.
A better idea is to grow your own aloe vera plant (or plants!). Aloe vera is a hearty succulent that is easy to grow as well as attractive. Nurturing your own plant is a great way to save money, have the freshest possible aloe vera gel on demand, and guarantee it’s additive free!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
- Foster M, Hunter D, Samman S. Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2011. Chapter 3.
- Dat AD, Poon F, Pham KB, Doust J. Aloe vera for treating acute and chronic wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD008762. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008762.pub2. Review.
- akzare N, Hosseini MJ, Hasanzadeh G, Mortazavi H, Takzare A, Habibi P. Influence of Aloe Vera gel on dermal wound healing process in rat. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2009 Jan;19(1):73-7. doi: 10.1080/15376510802442444.
- Mendonça FA, Passarini Junior JR, Esquisatto MA, Mendonça JS, Franchini CC, Santos GM. Effects of the application of Aloe vera (L.) and microcurrent on the healing of wounds surgically induced in Wistar rats. Acta Cir Bras. 2009 Mar-Apr;24(2):150-5.
- orać RR, Khambholja KM. Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul;5(10):164-73. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.91114.
- Babaee N, Zabihi E, Mohseni S, Moghadamnia AA. Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2012 Jul;9(4):381-5.
- anade AN, Wankhede SS, Ranpise NS, Mundada MS. Development of bilayer floating tablet of amoxicillin and Aloe vera gel powder for treatment of gastric ulcers. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2012 Dec;13(4):1518-23. doi: 10.1208/s12249-012-9882-4. Epub 2012 Nov 8.
- Saito M, Tanaka M, Misawa E, Yamada M, Yamauchi K, Iwatsuki K. Aloe vera gel extract attenuates ethanol-induced hepatic lipid accumulation by suppressing the expression of lipogenic genes in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2012 Nov 23;76(11):2049-54. Epub 2012 Nov 7.
- Lauweryns JM, Tierens A, Decramer M. Influence of hypercapnia on rabbit intrapulmonary neuroepithelial bodies: microfluorimetric and morphometric study. Eur Respir J. 1990 Feb;3(2):182-6.
- Lee S, Do SG, Kim SY, Kim J, Jin Y, Lee CH. Mass spectrometry-based metabolite profiling and antioxidant activity of Aloe vera ( Aloe barbadensis Miller) in different growth stages. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Nov 14;60(45):11222-8. doi: 10.1021/jf3026309. Epub 2012 Nov 1.
- Devaraj S, Yimam M, Brownell LA, Jialal I, Singh S, Jia Q. Effects of Aloe vera supplementation in subjects with prediabetes/metabolic syndrome. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2013 Feb;11(1):35-40. doi: 10.1089/met.2012.0066. Epub 2012 Oct 4.
- López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, Molino-Pagan D. Prospective, randomized, double-blind, clinical evaluation of Aloe vera Barbadensis, applied in combination with a tongue protector to treat burning mouth syndrome. J Oral Pathol Med. 2013 Apr;42(4):295-301. doi: 10.1111/jop.12002. Epub 2012 Sep 7.
- Beneke C, Viljoen A, Hamman J. In Vitro Drug Absorption Enhancement Effects of Aloe vera and Aloe ferox. Sci Pharm. 2012 Jun;80(2):475-86. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1202-10. Epub 2012 Apr 1.
- Ahmadi A. Potential prevention: Aloe vera mouthwash may reduce radiation-induced oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. Chin J Integr Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):635-40. doi: 10.1007/s11655-012-1183-y. Epub 2012 Aug 2. Review.