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Aloe vera is a natural medicinal supplement used as an herbal medicine for skin infections and burn healing. In North America, aloe vera is widely available in various forms. In Africa, India, and Asia, the aloe vera plant is widely used, so processed versions of an aloe vera supplement are tougher to find in stores. There are four basic ways to use an aloe vera supplement: in gel, pill, juice, or unprocessed forms.
Aloe vera gel is a main form of the supplement used in North America to treat the skin. It provides immediate cooling relief to burns. It comes in a tube similar to a sunscreen container. This is the easiest form of aloe vera supplement to find. It’s widely available in pharmacies, convenience stores, and grocery stores.
The aloe vera plant is also available as a pure plant, completely unprocessed. This is the freshest form of aloe vera but requires some preparation before it can be used. You must strip away the outer layer of hard skin to reveal the usable part of the plant. The inside of the plant is moist, extremely slippery, and neutral in taste.
Anyone can apply unprocessed aloe vera directly to the skin. It works for burns, gashes, and cuts, cooling to relieve pain. You can also consume it orally to treat throat and stomach irritation, acid reflux, and indigestion. Be sure to peel all of the outer skin off of the plant as it is extremely bitter to the taste.
People use unprocessed aloe vera widely in African and southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. As the aloe vera plant is so easily available in Southeast Asia, it is actually difficult to find in stores, especially in juice form. Most residents grow it on their own.
You can use an aloe vera supplement in pill form as a digestive aid. Most herbal medicine shops or organic food stores carry it. You can also use it to help strengthen immunity. Many frequent users of the pill form take it after a meal.
Aloe vera juice is much harder to find in major stores outside of the Western world. In North America, the supplement aloe vera juice is available in organic food stores, health food stores, and some major grocery retailers. You can use this form of aloe vera supplement sooth your throat and esophagus. It can relieve inflammation and irritation.
@strawCake - I think the best way to get aloe vera is really from the plant directly. However, if that isn't an option, I think a reputable health food store is the next best thing.
I bought an aloe vera lotion from the regular drugstore last summer. I had a horrible sunburn, and the health food store is kind of far for me. The aloe vera lotion pretty much did nothing for me! I've used aloe vera for sunburns many times before, and it pretty much always helps. The aloe vera lotion was a big disappointment!
When I was a kid, my mom always kept a few aloe vera plants in the house. There are so many uses for aloe vera it's unbelievable. It's calming to the stomach and calming to the skin!
As an adult, I never got into keeping plants in the house. So I usually just buy aloe vera juice from the health food store in case I need it for my stomach. If you go this route, try to look for a brand that doesn't have anything artificial added to it!