The succulent aloe plant has been valued since prehistoric times for the treatment of burns, wound infections, and other skin problems. Medicinal aloe is pictured in an ancient cave painting in South Africa, and Alexander the Great is said to have captured an island off Somalia for the sole purpose of possessing the luxurious crop of aloe found there.
Oral aloe is also sometimes recommended as an aid in the treatment of asthma , stomach ulcers , and general immune support , but there is no meaningful evidence that it is effective for any of these purposes.
There are contradictory results regarding the effectiveness of aloe cream for treating psoriasis.
Lichen planus is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy, flat, scaly patches. It can occur in various parts of the body, including the wrists, legs, trunk, mouth, and vagina.
Evidence from two human trials suggests that aloe gel can improve blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes .
Although these are promising results, large studies that are double- rather than single-blind will be needed to establish aloe as an effective treatment for hypoglycemia.
Topical aloe vera cream typically contains 0.5% aloe and is applied three times daily.
For the treatment of diabetes, a dosage of 1 tablespoon of aloe juice twice daily has been used in studies.
Other than occasional allergic reactions, no serious problems have been reported with aloe gel, whether used internally or externally. However, comprehensive safety studies are lacking. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Keep in mind that if aloe is used as a treatment for diabetes, and it proves effective, blood sugar levels could fall too low, necessitating a reduction in medication dosage. Close monitoring of blood sugar levels is, therefore, advised.
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- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 10/00/2013 -