4 Supplements for Canker Sores: Aloe Vera, Berberine, Licorice, Lavender Oil

You most likely have experienced one of these nasty ulcers at least once in your life. Probably when brushing your teeth, you accidentally hit any part of your mouth with the toothbrush, then the next day you notice some discomfort or pain in that area. After checking on the mirror, you see a white ulcer in your mouth – this is a canker sore. If you are currently dealing with one of these, you can help speed up the natural healing process by trying any of these supplements for canker sores:

Supplements for canker sores

Are you currently dealing with one of these ulcers? Here’s a list of 4 supplements for canker sores that can help you with the symptoms. See below the details of the results obtained in their medical studies.

Aloe Vera

Study 1

  • Title: Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis.
  • Length: 14 days.

Subject information

  • Number of subjects: 40.
  • Health status: minor aphthous lesions.
  • Mean age: 29.25 for the control group, and 27.95 in the placebo group.

Method used

Patients were randomly allocated in either the case group (A.V. gel) or the control (placebo) group. The healing time (days after gel application), the patient’s pain score; the lesion and its surrounding inflammation diameters were recorded for 2 weeks.

Results

The duration of complete wound healing, pain score, wound size and inflammation zone diameter in the A.V.-treated group were significantly lower than the control group on specific time points after treatment.

Conclusions

It seems likely that A.V. 2% oral gel is not only effective in decreasing the recurrent aphthous stomatitis patients’ pain score and wound size but also decreases the aphthous wound healing period.


Study 2

  • Title: Acemannan, a polysaccharide extracted from Aloe vera, is effective in the treatment of oral aphthous ulceration.
  • Length: 7 days.

Subject information

  • Number of subjects: 280.
  • Health status: 100 healthy and 180 with recurrent canker sores

Method used

A skin patch test was performed on the healthy subjects, and 0.5% acemannan (aloe vera extract) was applied to the oral mucosa of the lower lip of 50 healthy subjects 3 times/day. Oral examinations and blood tests measuring liver and kidney function were performed prior to, and following, 7 days of application to assess the side-effects of acemannan when used on oral mucosa. The other group of subjects with recurrent canker sores randomly received one of three treatments: 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide, 0.5% acemannan, or pure Carbopol. Medications were applied to the ulcers 3 times/day. Measurements of ulcer size and patient satisfaction ratings were performed on days 2, 5, and 7. Pain ratings were recorded daily.

Results

No subjects exhibited allergic reactions or side-effects to acemannan. There were no significant differences between the blood test values before and after 7 days of acemannan application. The effectiveness of acemannan in reducing ulcer size and pain was superior to that of control, but inferior to that of 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide. Patients were mostly satisfied with 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide and acemannan treatment.

Conclusions

Aloe vera products can be used for the treatment of canker sores in patients who wish to avoid the use of steroid medication, although the effectiveness was less than these types of steroid medications.


Berberine

Study Information

  • Title: Effects of berberine gelatin on recurrent canker sores: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial in a Chinese cohort.
  • Length: 5 days.

Subject information

  • Number of subjects: 84.

Method used

A gelatin containing berberine (5 mg/g) was applied 4 times per day. Clinical evaluation included pain level, size, redness, and fluid secretion of certain ulcers on days 1, 2, 4, and 6.

Results

Berberine gelatin treatment reduced the ulcer pain score compared with placebo gelatin. Ulcer size was significantly reduced and redness and fluid secretion also decreased with berberine treatment.

Conclusions

Berberine gelatin may be a safe and effective treatment for recurrent canker sores.


Lavender Oil

Study Information

  • Title: Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration.
  • Length: 5 days

Subject information

  • Number of subjects: 115.
  • Mean age: 38.
  • Gender: Male.
  • Mean weight: 75 kg.
  • Health status: Recurrent canker sores.

Method used

Lavender oil was screened against bacteria obtained from swab specimen of human subjects’ canker sores.
Subjects were divided into two groups of subjects topically treated with lavender oil or placebo. The clinical efficacy was assessed by inflammation level, skin redness, swelling, ulcer duration, ulcer size, ulcer size, healing time, and associated pain intensity and reduction.

Results

Lavender oil showed a broad antibacterial activity against all tested strains; it exhibited significant inhibition on tested bacteria. Patients treated with lavender oil showed a significant reduction in inflammation level, ulcer size, healing time, from 2-4 days [2 days (40%), 3 days (50%), 4 days (10%)], and pain relief mostly from the first dose, compared to baseline and placebo. No side effects were reported.


Licorice

Study Information

  • Title: A controlled trial of a dissolving oral patch concerning glycyrrhiza (licorice) herbal extract for the treatment of aphthous ulcers.
  • Length: 8 days

Subject information

  • Number of subjects: 46.
  • Health status: Recurrent canker sores.

Method used

Subjects were randomly assigned to either an active drug group (patch with extract of licorice) or placebo patch treatment group (both groups of 23 subjects) at onset of a lesion. Lesion size and pain report (unstimulated and stimulated) were assessed at intervals. A no-treatment group also was recruited and assessed similarly.

Results

By the eighth day, the ulcer size for the active treatment group was significantly lower, while the by the fourth day, the active treatment group lesions in the no-treatment group increased 13% from baseline. Reported significantly less pre-stimulus pain; at this point, 81% of this group reported no pre-stimulus pain, compared with 63% of the placebo patch group and 40% of the no-treatment group


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Sources

This article makes use of information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

  1. Plewa MC, Chatterjee K. Aphthous Stomatitis. [Updated 2020 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431059/
  2. Bhalang K, Thunyakitpisal P, Rungsirisatean N. Acemannan, a polysaccharide extracted from Aloe vera, is effective in the treatment of oral aphthous ulceration. J Altern Complement Med. 2013;19(5):429-434. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0164
  3. Martin MD, Sherman J, van der Ven P, Burgess J. A controlled trial of a dissolving oral patch concerning glycyrrhiza (licorice) herbal extract for the treatment of aphthous ulcers. Gen Dent. 2008;56(2):206-224.
  4. Babaee N, Zabihi E, Mohseni S, Moghadamnia AA. Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2012;9(4):381-385.
  5. Jiang XW, Zhang Y, Zhu YL, et al. Effects of berberine gelatin on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial in a Chinese cohort. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2013;115(2):212-217. doi:10.1016/j.oooo.2012.09.009
  6. Altaei DT. Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration. Am J Dent. 2012;25(1):39-43.
4 Supplements for Canker Sores: Aloe Vera, Berberine, Licorice, Lavender Oil
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