Aloe vera is frequently used in traditional Indian medicine to treat many different ailments including constipation, colic, skin diseases, worm infestation, and infections (1).
The plant can survive for an extended period with little rainfall, which is why it is popular in hot and arid countries.
Aloe vera appears to originate from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but has spread to many other countries such as North Africa, and Spain. You can also find it in Australia, South and Central America, and in the southern part of the US.
Many people believe that aloe vera has health benefits and can improve your skin. This belief has been actively marketed by many skincare products, and these days it is common to see shampoos, shower gels, and skin creams that have aloe vera as the main ingredient, or “essence of aloe vera” written somewhere on the packaging.
It is also sometimes used to treat diabetes (4).
Best Aloe Vera
1NOW Aloe Vera Gels
NOW Foods is one of the most well-known supplement brands available today and their aloe vera product is top notch. In addition to having no additional ingredients, and being certified organic, this supplement contains 50 mg per serving. The extraction process used in the capsule formulation provides up to 10 mg of pure aloe vera extract as well.
This supplement also provides a great deal of value. Each bottle contains 100 soft gel capsules. As each serving requires either 1 or 2 capsules according to your preference, you can easily have a supply that will last approximately 1-2 months.
2Herbal Secrets Aloe Vera
Herbal Secrets Aloe Vera is one of the lesser-known product options, however, it is one of the best products for you to choose from. In terms of purity, there are very few products that can match it. Providing a concentrated version of aloe vera, each capsule provides 25 mg of aloe vera concentrate. The gel capsule formulation does contain animal products such as beeswax, so it is not vegan-friendly.
Herbal Secrets aloe vera contains no additional or artificial ingredients. When taken on a regular basis, this supplement is beneficial to not only your digestive system but also your skin and dental health. For those who would prefer an aloe vera supplement that provides multiple benefits without the need to deal with liquid or powder, Herbal Secrets aloe vera is a great choice.
3George’s “Always Active” Aloe
Versatility is one of the primary concerns when choosing to purchase a supplement of any type. This is even more true of aloe vera supplements. For those who would prefer to use their aloe vera for multiple purposes, liquid aloe vera is the optimum form; and George’s “Always Active” Aloe is the stand out choice.
Though the one-gallon jug of aloe vera can be intimidating or cumbersome at first, it will serve to provide multiple servings for an affordable price. In terms of quality, George’s contains distilled aloe vera meaning that it is free of any additional ingredients that may lessen the natural benefits found in the product. It can also be incorporated into cooking, homemade cosmetics, and other ideas as you see fit. Overall, this is a user-friendly choice for those looking for a both a high-quality and long-term aloe vera solution.
4Nature’s Way Aloe Vera Leaf Juice
With the many aloe vera products available, distinguishing one from the other can be difficult. Nature’s Way seeks to do this using a “PolyMax” extract. This is included with the traditional aloe vera content but enhances the bioavailability and efficacy of this product significantly – making it a great choice for those who may be looking for a fast-acting product.
The only slight drawback here is the lack of research regarding the PolyMax extract. Though it has been found to be successful, there is very little evidence to support long-term use. If you have a preference for products that have a history of success, this is a great choice for you.
5Puritan’s Pride Aloe Vera Gel
Puritan’s Pride aloe vera gel uses the traditional concentration of 200:1 during the manufacturing process. This allows for a more pure and effective aloe vera supplement, providing 25 mg of concentrated aloe vera gel, which equates to 5 g of aloe vera.
The only drawback is that this product contains soybean oil, which may be an issue for those with soy sensitivities.
6Dynamic Health Labs Organic Aloe Vera Juice
Though many aloe vera products may provide a liquid aloe vera, few use both the juice and pulp as a complete solution. The aloe vera juice provided by Dynamic Health gives you the benefits of a digestive supplement complete with micro-pulp.
One of the most distinctive elements of this aloe vera supplement is the manufacturer. Dynamic Health Labs has a reputation for being a laboratory focused on purity testing. This helps to show their commitment to providing you a supplement that contains only the main ingredient with nothing artificial.
7NutriWorth Organic Aloe Vera Gels
NutriWorth’s aloe vera gels is another supplement that focuses on quality rather than quantity. This all-organic supplement provides 50 mg of organic aloe vera gel concentrate. The concentrate is dissolved using olive oil to further boost the benefits of the supplement and increase the bioavailability.
In addition to the dosage amount, these capsules are considered kosher, NON-GMO, and are manufactured in a GMP facility. Though there is a slight concern regarding affordability, this supplement still reigns as one of the better supplements on the market.
8Desert Harvest Aloe Vera
Desert Harvest is a unique aloe vera option. The aloe vera plants used in its product are homegrown which provides the organic formulation.
It also manages to compete in terms of dosage with approximately 20 mg of concentrated aloe vera gel in each capsule. Desert Harvest is also vegan and vegetarian-friendly which isn’t necessarily found in all aloe vera supplements
9Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel
Considered to be one of the most pure and natural aloe vera products on the market, Seven Minerals provides an aloe vera gel that is designed for the promotion of skin and hair care. In addition to the organic components found in this product, you’ll also find a locally grown product source.
This makes it slightly different from other similar products. Additionally, it contains seaweed extract, which has also been shown to enhance the health and look of both skin and hair when used continuously.
10NaturSense Organic Aloe Vera Gel
Though this product is specifically used for skincare, it is still one of the most useful aloe vera gel products available. Designed to soothe sunburns, acne, psoriasis, and eczema, NatureSense Organic Aloe Vera Gel contains 12 oz of aloe vera gel.
The only additional ingredients included are the stabilizers needed for the aloe vera solution.
How We Rank
The first thing we looked at, when ranking the best aloe vera products, was purity. As with many other supplement choices, we placed a higher priority on products that contained only aloe vera gel or extract. While it was not required that aloe vera be the sole component of the supplement, it was important that additional ingredients only be present for either performance enhancement or stabilizing purposes.
This is the primary reason why NOW Foods Aloe Vera and George’s Aloe Vera were placed near the top of the list. Companies like Puritan’s Pride and Nature’s Way ranked high as well because they included olive oil in their formulation – which is scientifically proven to work synergistically with aloe vera. Powdered aloe vera products were eliminated since they often had too many additional ingredients to make them effective.
Next, we reviewed dosages and serving size. Though there is not a dangerous level with aloe vera intake, it was important for ranked products to fit within a range that was scientifically backed. In general, we tried to stay with products that contained anywhere from 19 mg to 25 mg per serving when given in capsule form, like Herbal Secrets. Products in liquid form were a little trickier, however, we aimed to keep their serving size at a limit that was similar to have an even comparison. Products that claimed to have substantially higher dosages than 25mg were excluded.
Lastly, we looked at the delivery method and versatility. Products that were proven to be effective for multiple uses such as consumption, skin and dental care were given significantly higher preference. This is why George’s and Herbal Secrets is at the top of our list.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best aloe vera products on the market.
1Aloe vera may help treat burns. One of the most commonly believed facts about aloe vera is that it treats burns, particularly sunburns. Getting sunburned can be incredibly unpleasant, and the idea of applying a lotion that contains a natural ingredient is very popular with sufferers.
A 1981 study found that aloe vera gel reduced healing time from 16 to 13 days when it was compared to a Silvadene ointment, but the study failed to find a significant difference between the two (5).
A meta-analysis of four studies in 2007 found that aloe vera reduced burn treatment time by nine days compared to conventional treatment (6).
The US army first investigated the use of aloe vera to treat radiation burns in 1957; they found a small benefit to the use of aloe vera to speed up healing time (7).
The issue for aloe vera when it comes to treating dermatological conditions such as sunburn is a lack of thorough research. Studies that have found positive results have been deemed too small in size and suffering from study design related issues (8, 9).
As a result, we can’t say for sure whether aloe vera is truly effective as a treatment for burns, though it could very well be.
2Aloe vera may help treat hyperthyroidism. There does appear to be some evidence that aloe vera may reduce serum T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). Hyperthyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones (10).
The thyroid is responsible for maintaining homeostasis by regulating your heart rate and body temperature (11).
An overactive thyroid can lead to a lot of issues particularly fatigue, palpitations, heat sensitivity, etc. A 2002 study on male mice found that aloe vera leaf extract helped to regulate thyroid hormone concentrations (12).
There are no human studies yet, but aloe vera could very well have a possible role in future treatment for hyperthyroidism.
3Aloe vera is effective in treating mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers or Aphthous Stomatitis is characterized as unpleasant sores in the mouth. They can be caused by a lot of things, but their direct cause is not known yet. While rarely anything more than an irritation, mouth ulcers can lead to difficulties eating and swallowing.
Studies have shown that Acemannan, a polysaccharide that is extracted from aloe vera, is an effective treatment of mouth ulcers. A 2013 study in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine found that giving mouth ulcer sufferers a patch containing 0.5% Acemannan led to better results than the control (13).
It was not as effective as the common steroidal medication that is used for ulcers, but many patients prefer not to use steroid medication if possible.
Another study in the Dental Research Journal (2012) found that using a 2% Acemannan oral gel three times per day led to an improved rate of healing and a reduction in pain (14).
4Aloe vera may work as a laxative to treat constipation. In traditional Indian medicine, aloe vera is often used as a treatment for constipation. This has been documented in several studies (15).
A 1974 study by Chapman & Pitelli in the Journal of Current Therapeutic Research found that aloe vera was significantly more effective than a placebo at treating constipation (16).
A 1991 study found that combining aloe vera with several other ingredients (celandine and psyllium) led to more frequent bowel movements, a reduction in laxative dependence, and softer stools (17).
Aloe vera seems to be an effective alternative to traditional laxatives, though as with the mouth ulcer treatments, not quite as effective as traditional medication.
5Aloe vera gel can improve the absorption of vitamins. Increasing the absorption of a vitamin can massively improve its effectiveness, and reduce the amount of that vitamin that you need to take each day. Considering the fact that most people (particularly in developing countries) can be deficient in certain nutrients, an increase in absorption can only be a good thing.
There appears to be increasing evidence that aloe vera, when taken in gel form, is very effective at boosting the absorption of certain vitamins. A human clinical trial on an aloe vera supplement by Fenestra Research Labs found that taking an aloe vera gel at the same time as vitamin C led to a 20x increased absorption rate (18).
A 2005 study published in Phytomedicine looked at the effectiveness of aloe vera on the absorption of vitamins C and E (19).
It found that aloe vera slowed down the absorption of both vitamins and the amount of time that it spent in the plasma. They mentioned that “Aloe is the only known supplement to increase absorption of both these vitamins and should be considered as a complement to them.”
A similar study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements (2010) also found that aloe vera was able to increase the bioavailability of Vitamin C (20).
The study also found that aloe vera could increase the bioavailability of vitamin B 12.
There aren’t many studies that have been done on the improved absorption of vitamins when paired with an aloe vera gel, and at least two of the three studies mentioned here have possible funding issues, but there definitely appears to be some good evidence that aloe vera can increase absorption by slowing down the time it takes to absorb them.
6Aloe vera may help with diabetes. Aloe vera is often taken by people who have Diabetes Type I and Type II, this is not because of doctor’s advice, but from hearsay. However, the evidence that aloe vera has any effect on Type I or Type II diabetes is almost nonexistent. A 2001 study in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research found that aloe vera leaves had an effect on blood glucose levels in diabetic rats (21).
This may mean that aloe vera “could be useful in the treatment of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.”
7Aloe vera may help treat a number of skin issues. Some studies indicate that aloe vera may be effective in treating certain skin conditions. A 2009 review of aloe vera by Feily & Namazi found the following:
“The results suggest that oral administration of aloe vera in mice is effective on wound healing, can decrease the number and size of papillomas and reduce the incidence of tumors and leishmania parasitemia by >90% in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Topical application of aloe vera is not an effective prevention for radiation-induced injuries and has no sunburn or suntan protection. It can be effective for genital herpes, psoriasis, human papillomavirus, seborrheic dermatitis, aphthous stomatitis, xerosis, lichen planus, frostbite, burn, wound healing and inflammation.” (22)
On the other hand, a journal article published in the British Journal of Dermatology (2013) found no evidence that aloe vera was effective in treating psoriasis (a common dermatological condition) (23).
This is another example of small studies with poor study design finding results in mice. These studies are then used to sell aloe vera to humans based on their effectiveness, but as examine.com points out, the actual evidence for aloe vera to say for certain whether it works or not (24).
8Aloe vera can help in the reduction of dental plaque. Tooth decay and gum disease have reached an all-time high and affect a great number of adults and children. Though there are many treatments that can be used, aloe vera has shown great promise in the reduction of plaque which often serves as a precursor to larger issues.
According to a study conducted in 2014, aloe vera juice produced results equal to that of chlorhexidine, a common product in mouthwash. During the study, those who used 100% aloe vera juice as a daily mouthwash for 4 days reduced their plaque buildup by 5%. This was increased to 20% when used for a period of 30 days (25).
It is believed this occurred due to the plaque bacterium killing properties found in aloe vera. Aloe vera contains multiple plant compounds that naturally eradicate Streptococcus mutans in the mouth and yeast (26).
These studies have not been significantly expanded but they do indicate that the use of aloe vera is substantially beneficial to those looking for an alternative to mouthwash products that contain artificial chemicals or ingredients like Listerine.
9Aloe vera can be beneficial in the treatment of heartburn. Aloe vera juice is a natural preventative for acid indigestion and has shown a great deal of promise for this particular ailment. According to a study conducted in 2015, aloe vera juice helped to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. This included regurgitation, burning sensations in both the stomach and chest and nausea.
This is believed to have been caused by the natural anti-inflammatory properties found within the aloe vera plant. As aloe vera soothes the lining of the stomach, acid production is lessened and therefore the possibility of acid reflux and the severity of its symptoms also decreases (27).
Though studies so far have been promising, it is important to remember that these are extremely preliminary and more studies need to be conducted to understand the long-term effects of aloe vera usage for heartburn relief.
1Aloe vera can induce hepatitis. It appears that aloe vera may affect different people in different ways, with those that are hypersensitive to aloe vera having issues with it interfering with the liver’s function. In 2007 a case study with aloe vera induced hepatitis was reported in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy (28).
A 2010 study in the Journal of Korean Medicine found another three examples of women who had taken aloe vera substances (a 57 year old, 62 year old, and a 55 year old) and had been admitted to hospital for “aloe-induced toxic hepatitis” (29).
Once they had stopped taking the aloe vera, their symptoms also cleared up.
A study in the British Medical Journal: Case Reports (2012) discussed a report of a 45 year old woman who “presented with jaundice and marked elevation of serum transaminases” (acute hepatitis) after taking an aloe vera product called “Euforia Juice” for a month (30).
The symptoms stopped after she ceased taking Euforia juice, returned 6 months later, but had wholly vanished after 18 months.
Finally, a 2005 study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology also found an example of aloe vera leading to acute hepatitis, this time in a 57 year old woman (31).
Considering how many people take aloe vera, and how few case studies there are of sufferers, it seems fair to assume that aloe vera hypersensitivity is uncommon.
According to examine.com, “the only human study on aloe vera used 300mg twice daily” (32).
They point out that this dosage was adequate, but that there is no evidence to say what the ideal dosage is. Again, the complete lack of human studies on the benefits of aloe vera is a major stumbling block.
Due to the absence of any real side effects, unless you are hypersensitive of course, you can be confident that taking dosages of <300mg will be completely safe.
Can I use aloe vera to flush my system? Adding aloe vera to water or smoothies during a cleanse is a great way to support good daily bowel movements and keep waste and toxins moving out of your system
Can I leave aloe vera gel on my face overnight? Yes, you can. Mix aloe vera gel with almond oil, and massage that oil at night for smooth skin.
Can I drink aloe vera juice on an empty stomach? Yes, there are no adverse effects. For balancing digestion and elimination: Take 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel in the morning on an empty stomach
Can aloe vera remove pimples? The antibacterial properties of aloe vera gel are very effective in acne treatment and reducing the redness caused by it. It prevents bacteria from infecting acne wounds and accelerates the process of healing. Its antifungal properties are useful in treating inflammation like boils and cysts on the skin.
Can aloe vera get rid of dark spots? Yes, aloe vera has shown dramatic results in helping improve dark spots and pigmentation.
Is Aloe Vera good for skin whitening? Aloe vera is useful for dealing with some skin problems and also for skin lightening. This plant contains some essential minerals and vitamins that may help to reduce the pigmentation and lower the production of melanin in the skin
Can aloe vera heal stomach ulcers? Yes, the same way aloe vera gel soothes and stimulates healing in burns, ulcers are soothed, protected and stimulated towards healing.
Can Aloe Vera help get rid of dark circles under eyes? Yes, aloe vera gel helps to improve blood circulation and reduces the puffiness under your eyes, resulting in a reduction of your dark circles.
Can aloe vera remove acne scars? While this is not a complete solution to getting rid of acne, aloe vera is a great treatment to help heal acne scars.
Can aloe vera help hair growth? Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes which repair dead skin cells on the scalp. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair.
Is aloe vera good for skin tightening? There is evidence to show that aloe vera promotes skin tightening. The recommended method to yield skin tightening benefits is to apply a layer of the aloe vera gel to your skin and then wash it off with lukewarm water once it dries.
Can aloe vera help in the treatment of poison ivy? Yes, aloe vera has been shown to be highly beneficial when treating poison ivy or sumac exposure. The anti-inflammatory properties found in the compounds of aloe vera make it an ideal treatment component. This also provides a less messy option than other products typically used such as calamine lotion.
Can I drink aloe vera every day? While aloe vera consumption is generally well-tolerated and presents very few concerns, it is not recommended that you drink aloe vera daily for extended periods. Aloe vera provides multiple health benefits including digestive regulation, however, continued use could lead to stomach pains, diarrhea, and, in rare cases, liver problems. Though these are possible side effects, they are fairly rare and should not deter you from using aloe vera as a short-term solution.
What is the best way to purchase aloe vera? Purchasing aloe vera can be done in multiple ways. In general, local natural grocery stores will provide the largest variety of aloe vera products available. These stores will usually be more prone to carry more natural and organic brands as well. If you prefer to purchase your aloe vera products online, it is highly recommended that you choose to do so from a reputable source with a wide range of reviews.
Is it better to use aloe vera directly from the plant or purchased it in a store? As with many products, getting aloe vera directly from the source itself is preferred when possible. As many regular stores sell aloe vera plants in multiple sizes, accessibility is generally not a problem. Though this is preferred, aloe vera purchased in a store or even online can still provide the same benefits if a high-quality product is selected.
Can aloe vera gel help in the treatment of stretch marks? No, there are currently no studies to suggest that the use of aloe vera on a regular basis will resolve issues or concerns related to stretch marks. Though there have been no current studies conducted on this specific issue, aloe vera is a skin softener and natural healing agent. This could result in some improvement of stretch marks but there is no guarantee and other treatments exist that may be more effective.
Can you overdose on aloe vera? No, consuming aloe vera in large amounts would not present symptoms of an overdose or cause life-threatening issues in general. In most cases, consuming large amounts of aloe vera may produce slightly uncomfortable or moderately inconvenient symptoms such as bloating or diarrhea. If other unexpected symptoms occur, it is highly recommended that you contact your physician to determine the source.
Are allergic reactions common after aloe vera use? Generally, well-tolerated, allergic reactions to aloe vera juice or gel is not common. This does not mean, however, that the possibility of an allergy does not exist. There are many people with existing allergies to plants or pollens that may also find that aloe vera use causes similar symptoms. If you experience symptoms indicating the presence of an allergy, it is important to stop the use of the product and consult an allergist who will be able to perform skin testing to confirm the allergy.
Additionally, it is important to be cautious if you suspect a predisposition to aloe vera allergies if you choose to consume aloe vera products. Oral consumption could result in life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis. If you suspect this, seek out medical attention immediately.
What is aloe vera good for? Aloe vera is known to be beneficial for many uses including keeping skin hydrated and clear, maintaining digestive functionality, and providing multiple anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, aloe vera can provide an added boost of Vitamins A, E, and C resulting in increased health benefits specific to those vitamins.
Is aloe vera dangerous? Aloe vera is considered to be generally safe, except for use in pregnant women. Aloe vera latex can be harmful to pregnant. The aloe vera latex and other components of the plant may result in increased uterine contractions which may also cause birth complications or possible miscarriage. If you believe you have consumed aloe vera in error, it is important to contact your OB/GYN as soon as possible to avoid any unforeseen issues or concerns.
Aloe vera is a popular plant, that is often used in holistic medicine. It is one of the few natural ingredients out there that has gained widespread popularity, and benefits from excellent marketing.
Sadly, the complete lack of human studies is a significant issue, and there are many detractors out there who point out that all of the favorable studies on aloe vera have either been performed on animals or have been poorly designed.
There does seem to be some evidence that aloe vera is effective in treating mouth ulcers, and it may also be useful in treating radiation or thermal burns.
However, the problem is that current medicine often comes out on top when comparing the two. Steroid medication may not be as appealing to a consumer as aloe vera, but it absolutely works better at treating mouth ulcers.