A photo of the echinacea plant
Echinacea is one of our top 10 herbal remedies because of its valuable immune boosting properties

Herbal remedies – 10 of the best

12 September, 2011

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Aloe Vera – soothing and cooling to the skin

Applied topically, aloe vera has been shown to be an effective treatment for psoriasis. It has also been shown in reviews published in the early 90’s in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and in the International Journal of Dermatology to heal burns of all kinds from simple sun burn to radiation burns to frostbite.  It can also help heal minor wounds and grazes and reduce pimples and acne.

There are more than 75 different chemical compounds that occur naturally in this desert plant. Aloe gel is thought to have a complex action that includes the ability to act as an anti-inflammatory, moisturiser, emollient and anti-microbial.


There are more than 200 different species of aloe vera but only a few are recognised as having any therapeutic value. Look for products made from Aloe barbadensis and follow instructions for use.

Take care

Side effects from topical aloe vera are rare but be aware that aloe vera gel has been shown to delay wound healing in cases of surgical wounds such as those produced during laparotomy and caesarean section.  It should not be used in the treatment of deep wounds. Aloe should not be taken internally except under the guidance of a qualified practitioner since it can be a serious purgative.


  • Adapted from What Works, What Doesn’t: The guide to alternative healthcare by Pat Thomas. See here for details.