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Healthy Living

Aloe Plant

Plant aloe vera: Relieve a cold sore

You're dressing for a special event when a familiar tingling sensation crosses your lips. One quick look in the mirror confirms an unsightly and irritating cold sore. The best modern remedy may be the aloe vera plant, which has been used to heal skin for more than 2,000 years, and recently has gained attention as an alternative treatment for some oral health conditions, according to a study in General Dentistry, the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

Long recognized for relieving itchy skin, poison ivy and burns, the gel from the aloe vera plant is gaining distinction for curing ulcerated lesions, both in and outside of the mouth. The news is good for a growing segment of the population seeking safe, natural treatments for common problems.

"A natural substance can be just as effective, and possibly safer than prescribed pharmacologic remedies," says J. Michael Adame, DDS, FAGD, former pharmacist, and spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education. In addition to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera provides additional benefits to the skin, such as amino acids, B1,B2,B6 and C vitamins. Dr. Adame recommends that cold sore sufferers apply aloe vera lip balm three times per day until the lesion has dried. "It will combat the sore and enhance healing," he says.

More dentists are recommending that patients consume aloe vera juice to treat various internal ulcerations of the mouth, including apthous ulcer, a common condition usually caused by stress, and lichen planus a disease of unknown origins affecting the skin and oral mucus membranes. Recent findings will show that aloe vera cleared up oral lesions associated with lichen planus better than any other traditional treatments.

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