Long before modern medicine, plants have been utilized for their medicinal benefits. Take for example Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, two ancient medical systems, both of which are centered around the therapeutic use of botanicals. Today, with a myriad of medical options to choose from, many still see plants as invaluable assets to our health and well-being. Potential advantages of plant medicine are many and include alternative and/or complementing treatment possibilities to more conventional antidotes.

Aloe Vera, a green succulent and common houseplant, has long been recognized as a plant with medicinal value. Aloe Vera is most commonly known for the soothing effect it has on external burns. We’ve all likely reached for the cooling gel at some point, perhaps after spending a bit too much time in the sun or absentmindedly grabbing a hot pan. In addition to calming burns on our skin, studies show Aloe Vera may be helpful in cooling a different kind of burn. If you are a lover of fiery foods, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

Maybe this sounds familiar – you enjoy a delicious, spicy meal and just a short time later you feel the burn start to rise in your chest. You may even start to taste an upsurge of stomach acid. Heartburn and acid reflux are all too recognizable feelings for many. Many different triggers can cause heartburn or acid reflux to occur; some of the most common include drinking alcohol, eating foods high in fat and acid content, and eating an extra-large meal. However, if these symptoms happen quite often for you (sources say more than twice per week), this may be indicative of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a condition where the muscle at the end of your esophagus does not correctly close, allowing the contents of your gut to sneak back up and irritate your esophagus. That being said, acid reflux, heartburn and GERD may occur independently of one another; so, if you have any of these symptoms it is best to speak to a healthcare professional to dial in exactly what is going on with you.

Once you have a better idea of the root cause of that burning sensation in your chest or the sour taste of stomach acid in the back of your throat, you’ll likely be interested in exploring a variety of relief options. In addition to the western medical treatment recommended to you and any changes you decide to make in your diet or eating habits, you may want to consider managing your symptoms through the use of plant medicine, specifically Aloe Vera.

Studies have shown that Aloe Vera syrup, when taken safely and under proper guidance, could be effective in reducing the symptoms of GERD. That’s right – the same plant that provides a cool relief to external burns could also help prevent or ease the internal burn you feel from heartburn and acid reflux. However, you will not want to grab the same bottle of Aloe Vera gel that you slather on your sunburn. Instead, be sure to look for an ingestible version and consult a medical professional before adding this to your treatment or prevention routine.