Soothe Canker Sores


natural healer

Aloe eases the pain and speeds healing

• WHAT IT IS Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) is a botanical cousin of lilies and tulips, though its spiny, stalklike leaves make it look more like a cactus. Native to southern Africa, aloe--also known as aloe vera--is a popular houseplant.

• WHAT FOLK MEDICINE SAYS Aloe's healing properties have been known for centuries: Ancient Egyptians called it "the plant of immortality," and African tribal healers used it to treat poison-arrow wounds.

• WHAT WE KNOW The leaf contains a gel with 75 potentially active substances, including antioxidants, amino acids, and enzymes. It works by increasing blood supply and oxygen to an injury, which helps the body repair damaged tissues. Aloe also is a proven antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

• WHAT RESEARCH SHOWS Researchers at Baylor College of Dentistry examined the effects of an FDA-approved aloe extract called acemannan hydrogel. In a study funded by the product's makers, dentists gave 90 canker sore sufferers either hydrogel, a freeze-dried form of the hydrogel, or Orabase--an over-the-counter pain treatment recommended by dentists. The patients who applied either of the aloe products healed in about 6 days, compared with 8 days for the Orabase group, and reported feeling less pain.

• WHAT TO USE OraPatch with Acemannan Hydrogel for Canker Sores was used in the clinical study. Cost $19.95 for a pack of 12 patches, which can be ordered via Studies suggest that aloe vera juice, balm, and gel may have the same effect; rinse with the juice or apply directly to the sore as needed.



By Sara Altshul

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