Uses of Aloe Vera
A number of studies have investigated the usefulness of aloe vera as a dietary supplement or a topical product for health purposes in people.
Side Effects of Aloe Vera
Topical use of aloe gel is generally well tolerated. However, there have been occasional reports of burning, itching, and eczema with topical use. Oral use of aloe latex can cause abdominal pain and cramps. Oral consumption of aloe leaf extracts (for as little as 3 weeks and as long as 5 years) has been related to cases of acute hepatitis.
Animal studies have noted an association between aloe vera leaf extract taken orally and gastrointestinal cancer in rats and mice; however, concerns were expressed about the differences in the product used in that study and those commonly used by consumers. Thus, more research is needed to assess the relevance to human health.
Overuse of aloe latex may increase the risk of adverse effects from the drug digoxin, used for some heart problems.
Aloe—both in gel and latex form—when taken by mouth may be unsafe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Dosage Of Aloe Vera
Clinical research suggests that topical application of an aloe-based gel twice daily (along with medical soap and tretinoin gel) may improve affects over a placebo.
In a small European study, 44 adults with ulcerative colitis were randomly assigned to receive aloe vera gel or a placebo twice daily for a month. Almost half of the people treated with aloe vera responded to the treatment whereas 14 percent of those treated with placebo responded.
Aloe vera has been studied in clinical (human) trials for diabetic foot ulcers and dental plaque, but there’s not enough scientific evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for these conditions. A 2009 review article examined data from a mix of laboratory, animal, and clinical trials and concluded that more research is necessary to explore aloe’s clinical effectiveness for a number of different skin conditions.
Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.