The claim: Aloe vera gel can heal burns.
The facts: Aloe vera has been a common skin-care remedy since Greek physician Dioscorides advocated using it for burns in the first century AD.
It’s only in recent years that scientists have conducted research o determine whether it lives up to its reputation, some have found that aloe contains certain anti-inflammatory compounds and may act as an antibacterial agent. However, studies on its effects on minor and moderate burns have been mixed
In 2007, for example, a study in the journal Burns analysed data from four controlled clinical trials involving 371 patients. Some were treated with topical aloe vera and others with placebo.
Patients in the aloe vera group appeared to have slightly shorter healing times, but the evidence was not convincing and the authors recommended further research.
In another study, scientists applied aloe vera to second-degree burns and compared it with other types of treatment. They found that it “hindered the healing process” when compared with a common antibacterial cream.
Then in 2008, still another study looked at aloe vera applied to burns for six weeks and found that it decreased “subdermal temperature within the skin” but did not reduce bacteria or speed the regeneration of skin.
Bottom line: Inconclusive. Studies of aloe vera’s effect on burns have produced conflicting findings.
- The New York Times