Can Aloe Cure Cancer?

Can Aloe Cure Cancer?
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From a case report to a randomized controlled trial, aloe is put to the test against cancer.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For a half-century, aloe vera “[g]el processors and distributors armed with biblical quotes and anecdotal testimonials” have sought “recognition for their products”—too often “accompanied” however, by “misinformation,” none of which were more elaborate than promoting aloe vera for the treatment of cancer. But, check out this recent case report. A 64-year-old Hispanic woman with a tumor on her eyeball, which looked like a classic case of ocular surface squamous neoplasia, a type of eye cancer. And, therefore, surgery was recommended to remove it. “[B]ut the patient declined [the surgery], and instead initiated the use of concentrated [aloe] vera eye drops 3 times [a day] based on a friend’s suggestion.” Just some off-the-shelf aloe vera gel product, and to the doctor’s surprise, the lesion showed significant improvement after just one month. And, two months later, it went from this to gone completely. At the time of writing, it was six years later, and it appeared the cancer was gone, and had stayed gone.

Now, normally, you’d go in and cut out the cancer “with wide margins” to make sure you get it all, because “[d]espite the best efforts of the ocular surgeon, recurrence rates as high as [worse-than-a-flip-of-a-coin] have been reported,” because there’s little bits of cancer you miss on surgery. And, here, there’s this tumor that disappeared without surgery.

Are we sure it was cancerous, though? Well, she “refused [a] biopsy.” So, we don’t know for certain. However, it did have all the defining characteristics. And so, to see it disappear without any side effects, and stay gone, is pretty extraordinary. “Surgical resection” still remains the recommended treatment, but at least there’s an option for patients to try if they don’t want to go down that route.

Of course, this was just a single case report, no control group. It’s not like she had tumors in both eyes, and just tried the aloe on one. There was a controlled study suggesting aloe could prolong survival in those with advanced untreatable cancer, but it wasn’t a randomized controlled study, but a decade later, there was.

Hundreds of patients with metastatic cancer “randomized to receive chemotherapy with or without Aloe,” and the aloe group had three times the number of complete responses, significantly greater objective tumor responses, and two-thirds had some level of disease control, compared to only half in the non-aloe group. But, does that translate out into improved survival? Yes. For example, at one year, 70% of the aloe group was still alive, whereas most in the non-aloe group were dead.

And, as a bonus, the chemo was “better tolerated” in the aloe group, with less fatigue, for example, and better maintenance of their immune system. So, given the better disease control, given the better survival, “This study seems to suggest that aloe may be” a successful add-on therapy in terms of both tumor regression rate and survival time.

Now, this was a randomized controlled study, but not a randomized placebo-controlled study. It’s not like the control group was getting like some fake aloe drink. So, some of the tumor response may have been like a mind-over-matter placebo effect.

Now, there are potential downsides. As I explained in a previous video, swallowing aloe can, in rare cases, trigger liver inflammation, and cause electrolyte imbalances, due to diarrhea or vomiting. For example, there was a case reported of “aloe-induced [low potassium] in a patient with breast cancer,” which rapidly resolved once she stopped the aloe—thought to be due to the laxative effect aloe can have.

If you want to talk to your doctor about giving it a try, note this was not aloe vera, but aloe arborescens, a tree-like aloe that can grow to be like 10 feet tall. The concoction they made was a mixture of about two-thirds of a pound of fresh aloe leaves to a pound of honey, plus about three tablespoons of 40% alcohol, given orally at a dose of two teaspoons, three times a day, “starting 6 days prior to the onset of chemo[therapy].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: WikimediaImages via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For a half-century, aloe vera “[g]el processors and distributors armed with biblical quotes and anecdotal testimonials” have sought “recognition for their products”—too often “accompanied” however, by “misinformation,” none of which were more elaborate than promoting aloe vera for the treatment of cancer. But, check out this recent case report. A 64-year-old Hispanic woman with a tumor on her eyeball, which looked like a classic case of ocular surface squamous neoplasia, a type of eye cancer. And, therefore, surgery was recommended to remove it. “[B]ut the patient declined [the surgery], and instead initiated the use of concentrated [aloe] vera eye drops 3 times [a day] based on a friend’s suggestion.” Just some off-the-shelf aloe vera gel product, and to the doctor’s surprise, the lesion showed significant improvement after just one month. And, two months later, it went from this to gone completely. At the time of writing, it was six years later, and it appeared the cancer was gone, and had stayed gone.

Now, normally, you’d go in and cut out the cancer “with wide margins” to make sure you get it all, because “[d]espite the best efforts of the ocular surgeon, recurrence rates as high as [worse-than-a-flip-of-a-coin] have been reported,” because there’s little bits of cancer you miss on surgery. And, here, there’s this tumor that disappeared without surgery.

Are we sure it was cancerous, though? Well, she “refused [a] biopsy.” So, we don’t know for certain. However, it did have all the defining characteristics. And so, to see it disappear without any side effects, and stay gone, is pretty extraordinary. “Surgical resection” still remains the recommended treatment, but at least there’s an option for patients to try if they don’t want to go down that route.

Of course, this was just a single case report, no control group. It’s not like she had tumors in both eyes, and just tried the aloe on one. There was a controlled study suggesting aloe could prolong survival in those with advanced untreatable cancer, but it wasn’t a randomized controlled study, but a decade later, there was.

Hundreds of patients with metastatic cancer “randomized to receive chemotherapy with or without Aloe,” and the aloe group had three times the number of complete responses, significantly greater objective tumor responses, and two-thirds had some level of disease control, compared to only half in the non-aloe group. But, does that translate out into improved survival? Yes. For example, at one year, 70% of the aloe group was still alive, whereas most in the non-aloe group were dead.

And, as a bonus, the chemo was “better tolerated” in the aloe group, with less fatigue, for example, and better maintenance of their immune system. So, given the better disease control, given the better survival, “This study seems to suggest that aloe may be” a successful add-on therapy in terms of both tumor regression rate and survival time.

Now, this was a randomized controlled study, but not a randomized placebo-controlled study. It’s not like the control group was getting like some fake aloe drink. So, some of the tumor response may have been like a mind-over-matter placebo effect.

Now, there are potential downsides. As I explained in a previous video, swallowing aloe can, in rare cases, trigger liver inflammation, and cause electrolyte imbalances, due to diarrhea or vomiting. For example, there was a case reported of “aloe-induced [low potassium] in a patient with breast cancer,” which rapidly resolved once she stopped the aloe—thought to be due to the laxative effect aloe can have.

If you want to talk to your doctor about giving it a try, note this was not aloe vera, but aloe arborescens, a tree-like aloe that can grow to be like 10 feet tall. The concoction they made was a mixture of about two-thirds of a pound of fresh aloe leaves to a pound of honey, plus about three tablespoons of 40% alcohol, given orally at a dose of two teaspoons, three times a day, “starting 6 days prior to the onset of chemo[therapy].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: WikimediaImages via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

In case you missed the previous video, see Aloe for the Treatment of Advanced Metastatic Cancer.

Speaking of alternative cancer treatments, what about Black Salve as an Alternative Cancer Cure? Or, see my recent videos on shark cartilage: The Risks of Shark Cartilage Supplements and Shark Cartilage Supplements Put to the Test to Cure Cancer.

Does Oil Pulling Help with Cancer? Find out in the video!

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