Is Aloe Effective for Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Bowel, Wound Healing, & Burns?

Is Aloe Effective for Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Bowel, Wound Healing, & Burns?
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The risks and benefits of aloe vera.

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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.

“Aloe vera is one of the most popular home remedies in use today, yet most physicians know little about it. In fact, most dismiss it as useless, while their patients firmly believe in its healing properties.” “The usual tendency of most [doctors] is to dismiss as useless any popular remedy that can be purchased without a prescription. However, the aloe plant deserves a closer look, because, surprising as it may seem, there may be a scientific basis for some of its uses.” It has, after all, been used medicinally for thousands of years by a number of ancient civilizations. Only recently, though, has it been put it to the test.

But, the tests have been like finding out if you can use aloe to ameliorate damage to albino rat testicles, or to affect the cholesterol and estrogen responses in juvenile goldfish.

Yes, if you inject aloe in the bloodstream of rats, their blood pressure drops. But, if you feed it to people, it doesn’t appear to have any blood pressure-lowering effect. In rats, drinking aloe causes colorectal tumors to form, whereas it appears to have anti-inflammatory effects on human intestinal lining—in a petri dish. But, when put to the test for irritable bowel syndrome, no benefit was found as to improving symptoms or quality of life in IBS patients.

What about IBD—inflammatory bowel disease? No benefit found there, either.

What about the beneficial effects of aloe in wound healing? Evidently, “so miraculous as to seem more like myth than fact.” Works when you slice open guinea pigs, or when you try to frostbite off the ears of bunny rabbits. But, in people, it may make things worse, with aloe causing “a delay in wound healing.” Twenty-one women were studied who had wound complications after having a Caesarean or other abdominal surgery, healing on their own in an average of 53 days, whereas the wounds treated with aloe vera gel required 83 days—50% longer. They thought it would help, based on the animal research, but when put to the test with people, it failed.

At this point in my research, it was looking like the only benefit of aloe was to improve the quality of cheap beef burgers. But what about burns? Aloe has been used to treat burns since antiquity, but, in their ageless wisdom, they were also applying excrement to burns. So, I wouldn’t put too much faith in ancient medical traditions.

That’s why we have science. What is the effectiveness of aloe vera gel compared with silver sulphadiazine as burn wound dressings in second degree burns? “The introduction of topical antimicrobial agents has resulted in a significant reduction in burn mortality,” and the most commonly used is silver sulfadiazine. Unfortunately, it may delay wound healing, and become toxic to the kidneys and bone marrow. So, they tried it head-to-head against topical aloe gel, and the aloe treated burns healed 50% faster, and the pain went away about 30% quicker. The researchers concluded that aloe has “remarkable efficacy” in the treatment of burn injuries. Anyone see the flaw in that logic, though? What was this study missing? Right, a placebo control group. Why? Because I just told you that one of the side effects of the drug (silver sulphadiazine) is delayed wound healing. So, maybe the aloe worked better just because it wasn’t delaying healing, but wouldn’t have worked better than nothing.

When put to the test against nothing, aloe vera in Vaseline versus the Vaseline alone, the aloe really did seem to help—speeding healing by about a third. And, indeed, put all the studies together, and aloe vera also does appear to significantly speed up the healing of second degree burns. Okay, but blistering burns are thankfully less common than just like sunburns, where your skin just turns red. What is the efficacy of aloe vera in the prevention and treatment of sunburn? “The aloe vera cream was applied…30 minutes before, immediately after, or both before and after” burning people with a UV lamp. And, surprisingly, the aloe appeared to offer “no sunburn…protection and [had] no efficacy in sunburn treatment when compared to placebo.”

But, hey, at least it works for blistering burns. So, should we keep some aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet? The problem is that aloe vera at the store may have no aloe vera at all.

Oh, they say they have aloe vera as the first or second ingredient, but they are apparently lying. See: “There’s no watchdog assuring that aloe products are what they say they are.” “That means suppliers are on an honor system,” and when health and nutrition are mixed with profit, honor, too often, goes out the window.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: casellesingold 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.

“Aloe vera is one of the most popular home remedies in use today, yet most physicians know little about it. In fact, most dismiss it as useless, while their patients firmly believe in its healing properties.” “The usual tendency of most [doctors] is to dismiss as useless any popular remedy that can be purchased without a prescription. However, the aloe plant deserves a closer look, because, surprising as it may seem, there may be a scientific basis for some of its uses.” It has, after all, been used medicinally for thousands of years by a number of ancient civilizations. Only recently, though, has it been put it to the test.

But, the tests have been like finding out if you can use aloe to ameliorate damage to albino rat testicles, or to affect the cholesterol and estrogen responses in juvenile goldfish.

Yes, if you inject aloe in the bloodstream of rats, their blood pressure drops. But, if you feed it to people, it doesn’t appear to have any blood pressure-lowering effect. In rats, drinking aloe causes colorectal tumors to form, whereas it appears to have anti-inflammatory effects on human intestinal lining—in a petri dish. But, when put to the test for irritable bowel syndrome, no benefit was found as to improving symptoms or quality of life in IBS patients.

What about IBD—inflammatory bowel disease? No benefit found there, either.

What about the beneficial effects of aloe in wound healing? Evidently, “so miraculous as to seem more like myth than fact.” Works when you slice open guinea pigs, or when you try to frostbite off the ears of bunny rabbits. But, in people, it may make things worse, with aloe causing “a delay in wound healing.” Twenty-one women were studied who had wound complications after having a Caesarean or other abdominal surgery, healing on their own in an average of 53 days, whereas the wounds treated with aloe vera gel required 83 days—50% longer. They thought it would help, based on the animal research, but when put to the test with people, it failed.

At this point in my research, it was looking like the only benefit of aloe was to improve the quality of cheap beef burgers. But what about burns? Aloe has been used to treat burns since antiquity, but, in their ageless wisdom, they were also applying excrement to burns. So, I wouldn’t put too much faith in ancient medical traditions.

That’s why we have science. What is the effectiveness of aloe vera gel compared with silver sulphadiazine as burn wound dressings in second degree burns? “The introduction of topical antimicrobial agents has resulted in a significant reduction in burn mortality,” and the most commonly used is silver sulfadiazine. Unfortunately, it may delay wound healing, and become toxic to the kidneys and bone marrow. So, they tried it head-to-head against topical aloe gel, and the aloe treated burns healed 50% faster, and the pain went away about 30% quicker. The researchers concluded that aloe has “remarkable efficacy” in the treatment of burn injuries. Anyone see the flaw in that logic, though? What was this study missing? Right, a placebo control group. Why? Because I just told you that one of the side effects of the drug (silver sulphadiazine) is delayed wound healing. So, maybe the aloe worked better just because it wasn’t delaying healing, but wouldn’t have worked better than nothing.

When put to the test against nothing, aloe vera in Vaseline versus the Vaseline alone, the aloe really did seem to help—speeding healing by about a third. And, indeed, put all the studies together, and aloe vera also does appear to significantly speed up the healing of second degree burns. Okay, but blistering burns are thankfully less common than just like sunburns, where your skin just turns red. What is the efficacy of aloe vera in the prevention and treatment of sunburn? “The aloe vera cream was applied…30 minutes before, immediately after, or both before and after” burning people with a UV lamp. And, surprisingly, the aloe appeared to offer “no sunburn…protection and [had] no efficacy in sunburn treatment when compared to placebo.”

But, hey, at least it works for blistering burns. So, should we keep some aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet? The problem is that aloe vera at the store may have no aloe vera at all.

Oh, they say they have aloe vera as the first or second ingredient, but they are apparently lying. See: “There’s no watchdog assuring that aloe products are what they say they are.” “That means suppliers are on an honor system,” and when health and nutrition are mixed with profit, honor, too often, goes out the window.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

125 responses to “Is Aloe Effective for Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Bowel, Wound Healing, & Burns?

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  1. My mother always used it on burns and it always took away pain and healed things faster. We had a plant in our bathroom.

    It worked so much better than the first aid creams that I am Utterly shocked by the rest of it.

    I genuinely can’t even fathom that people have the thought, “Let’s sell fake aloe for a living.”

    I don’t even understand that.

    1. I had a rash on my arm that covers the palm of my hand just wouldn’t go away. I’ve tried prescribed topical medicine and it would work for a day or two then the rash erupts again. Finally, I applied aloe Vera on it every night for three days and the rash has disappeared. No scar left behind. My arm has been cleared of that annoying rash for a month now.

  2. It’s hard to beat objective science to gain a better understanding of our world.

    “It’s not that we don’t know a lot, it’s the fact the most of what we think we know, isn’t true at all!”

    So glad I found this NF website!

    1. This was a very deflating article and I very narrow minded. many present day trials and scientific study and data has been left out and this article has been slanted to induce in the reader a particular belief that aloe vera is no good. Very sad but understandable since their is also a profit making model to this site as well.

      Yes I support that Aloe Vera on it’s own will not lower Blood Pressure and may not effect healing of IBS, but Aloe Vera is a plant and on it’s own it will do little more then be a very good air filter for your rooms in your home as studies show this.

      So it makes sense that if you are sleeping in a room with several Aloe vera plants hence breathing more oxygen you will wake in a better state. The body does most of it’s healing while you are sleeping.

      None of your magical vegetables herbs or spices on their own will reduce High Blood pressure either so that means the rest of the information on this site is slanted toward a common goal. To get people to pay money buy into your books training and philosophy so it would seem this site is ruled by the mighty dollar as well.

      Such a shame because up until this article I thought I was in a safe place of honesty until this slander against the benefits of Aloe Vera. what a shame :(

  3. How prevalent is it that our foods and supplements and products have close to zero of the product on the label?

    Is there a website for that?

    I am using all of these organic products now. Are they really organic?

    Are they really the products at all?

    It is so hard to keep up with all of the scams.

    1. Deb, if something is certified organic, it had to undergo inspections to receive the certification so it’s definitely not gmo and it meets organic standards. China i’ve read can be a problem because from my understanding, they don’t allow third party inspections and the Chinese government isn’t exactly the most reputable when it comes to exports and things… I won’t even get STARTED on that… I try to avoid things form China as much as possible. But for things I can’t, I find out where they’re grown and if the companies do their own testing of products and make sure they’re not manufactured in China.
      And unfortunately even organic olive oils have been known to be adulterated, so you need to make sure you get from a company (if you ever use extra virgin olive oil) that is tested to be the real thing.

      1. I am glad that Trump is starting a trade war with China, because I do not trust any Chinese imports in America. I hope America will fire up its manufacturing companies and start making its own products and get away from Chinese contaminated products.

        1. It would be great. We were hoping the same for the UK only to find that our maroon passportsas an example, will revert to blue after Brexit….with the contract going to a French company! The passports are well made in the UK at the moment and the owner of the company does not understand why they will be out of business in a short while. I know this has nothing to do with Aloe but your comment about US manufacturing got me wondering why our countries do not make much of anything and when they do you find out it all one big money making scam from beginning to end.

          1. We buy lots of British products in Europe, maybe we should stop buying ‘Made in Britain’ since you want only to buy British made stuff.
            We will not miss ‘Made in Britain’ as we are very capable to produce everything ourselves. Keep your products on your little Island
            to make sure you have enough of it. International trade is an exchange! Give and take!

        2. If Trump starts war trades with China, where is he going to make his shirts and ties and would Ivanka clothing line disappear? Everything is made in China because of the US greedy companies wanting to make more profit and don’t give a sh#$ about you. Trump is not going to shoot himself in the foot and he changes his mind every five minutes. Wake up.

          1. Disagree on that Tony, I don’t like everything about Trump and some things I can’t stand, but I do think he’s good on these types of issues. But we’ll see in time in any case.

        3. Trump has his hands tied by the “Deep State” (career congressmen from both political parties and career appointed Govt officials all in bed with Big Corporations)! Every time he tries to do something to benefit the average American, he is thwarted. The big global corporations who make the big political donations to both political parties are working toward a Global Socialist System where the common person can be easily controlled and told what to do. They see no need for individual “Countries”! Their big stumbling blocks are countries like China and Russia, who want to be at the top of the pyramid at the end of the conversion!

          1. Interestingly, this has been going on in America since before President Trump was born (behind the scenes control of $$$$). Read the silence in the average History textbook and you will see that money has always been in control. When for a brief period the “third estate” or average citizen seized power in France (French Revolution) for a while, the people enjoyed power but went to such excesses (nearly 20,000 guillotine beheadings in a little over three years) that money regained control with a vengeance and has never relinquished power worldwide since. So, If President Trump is thwarted by “deep state,” tis nothing new. He is getting a dose of historical reality as has every American President.

        4. Bill
          Unfortunately, trade wars are not always good because of the retaliation affect. China has cancelled buying our soy, hurting our farmers.

    2. From my experience supplements besides vitamin d, zinc, and an expensive high-quality fish oil do more harm than good. Whole Foods are the way to go. That way you can see that you aren’t getting phony products. It’s hard to fake kale or spinach, whereas if it’s in a pill, who knows what your getting.

      1. I would consider supplementing with zinc to be risky. Magnesium is the only mineral I consider safe to supplement with based on my understanding, however it’s important to get from a trustworthy company, also I don’t think there’s any need to if you’re eating a WFPB diet. I also don’t consider fish oil to ever be safe, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean trustworthy but even the most tested forms of fish oil still contain contaminants and it’s unsustainable as well. I agree about vitamin d but would also add B12 to your list of good supplements.

    3. consumerlab.com
      Pay a small annual fee to access all their articles. They test a wide variety of supplements, including aloe; albeit, these are all ingested products rather than topical.

    1. Thanks! That is a good start!

      Just went to ewg.org and looked up a few of my foods.

      They were missing many of the things on my list, but it was great to see what was there.

      Yesterday, Dr. Greger talked about powdered peanut butter and I was so happy, there is one brand, which scores a low score.

      Laughing, because it was Jif.

      Second time I looked up a product on-line and the “regular brand” won for healthier.

      That is going to happen more and more, where I am looking at the Organic laid back earthy sounding name and the big brand wants to compete and does it right.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised considering it’s a flower and honey was shown to help topically with sores as were some of the flowers they tested themselves. I really hope Dr. Greger addresses the world of topical skin care in depth, it would be AMAZING to have a trusted, reliable person shed some light in this area. I think we’re all getting sick of being ripped off, lied to, and even harmed by not only the food and supplement industries, but cosmetics as well.

  4. It dismays and saddens me greatly how much pain, disfigurement and suffering humans visit upon defenseless animals like the maimed guinea pigs and rabbits shown in this video. I don’t see a lot of difference between these researchers and butchers… both harm animals in the name of the greater good (science vs sustenance.)

    1. Why not join or donate to PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)? I did. It’s lead by Dr Neal Barnard who actively seeks to abolish this in the world of science and medicine.

    2. Ralph, I looked at those photos and can’t even handle what they really are doing.

      I don’t know if they have to use animals before they use humans for testing, do they?

      Either way, they are being barbaric and I don’t even understand that they couldn’t brainstorm something better than what they did here.

    3. Especially since this study is not a cure for cancer or anything of the kind. These findings were never going to save lives.

      This is inflicting horrible pain on someone, almost certainly without anesthesia, to possibly ameliorate someone else’s discomfort. At most. When the vast majority of people already have used aloe, and would be fine having it ‘tested’ on them.

      There is no moral justification for it whatsoever.

      1. Edit: Painkillers not anesthesia. They may have drugged them to make the process easier, but I sincerely doubt they provided them with pain relief afterwards.

      2. Melody, I don’t care if this was a study to potentially find a cure for Alzheimer’s, HIV, and every single cancer known to man… Enslaving, torturing, and murdering others would never justify it. But animal research is dead end anyway, these researchers are a joke and while they clearly have no shame, they should at LEAST have some amount of shame in the amount of time and resources they waste.

        Thanks for the link, Kelly!

        1. Oh and sorry to go on, but I meant to add that no they don’t care about the animals and pain is no issue to the researchers apart form annoyances from screams as I’ve read about one study where “scientists” severed the vocal chords of the animals beforehand. Pretty horrific after “care” too… I’ve seen videos of monkeys being thrown into the trash while still alive after researchers were through torturing them. Their little hand reached up from the trash bin to try to pull themselves up!….

      1. karen grasso, what does that have to do with torturing animals for experimentation? I’ll answer your question anyway though.. I’m against it. Now what’s your stance on enslaving, torturing, and murdering non-human animals? Btw, they abort non-human animals as well for various reasons, sometimes for soft materials.

    4. I don’t see much of a difference between said researchers and monsters, for that matter. And that is putting it lightly. Not to mention how much time and how many resources they’re wasting including tax dollars. Recently tax dollars were spent on torturing monkeys at Duke University by depriving them of water to force them to respond to commercial ads… of course this and so much more goes on all the time.

  5. Wonderful video, the most disturbing thing is the fact that Walmart or your local grocery store is selling a product that says there’s aloe vera in it and this is a lie! What can we do to protect ourselves from scamming? The real question is can we hold the retailer accountable so that the retailer will hold the vendor accountable when they lie to us? My problem is that I don’t like dealing with lawyers and I’m not interested in a class action lawsuit primarily because it’s ridiculously time-consuming and probably not very lucrative except of course for the lawyers! Hey any lawyers out there that want to go after Walmart or Krogers? Thank you dr. Greger great job as usual!

      1. I have had an aloe plant in my house constantly for 22 years. I started when I had babies in diapers. Gel straight from the plant cures a rash literally overnight. I dont understand these “scientific” papers. I use gel straight from the leaf with great results on just about everything.

    1. Dave Mink, I totally agree with you… this has to stop. The laws are a joke. We need to demand change and for the reasons you’ve explained our best bet is probably through the spreading of awareness, calling out companies, and going out of our way to only buy that which we know is legit.

  6. 100% natural and organic aloe vera answers to common questions
    Who are you ALORGANIC organic aloe?
    ALORGANIC (ALORGANIC) is a “boutique manufacturer” that manufactures products in Israel
    Aloe vera based on natural and organic.
    Barbdensis Miller’s aloe vera plants grow lovingly in the fields of the Negev
    In which the optimal climate corresponds to optimal development of the plant.
    Aloe Vera is under the organic supervision of Agrior. The plants are fortified
    Compost and organic probiotic fertilizers.
    What is the difference between your frozen aloe vera and other aloe drinks?
    Our whole product is made in blue and white country. It starts with growing aloe vera plants
    Barabdensis Miller, on an organic farm in the northern Negev (supervised by Agrior)
    And organic probiotic fertilization. Continues to manufacture a boutique of 100% pure aloe vera gel produced by cold pressing from Aloe Vera Center
    Mature, without shell and without alwine (a laxative found between the shell and the inner gel of the leaf) and ends with frozen casings Of 2.1 kg aloe vera in cubes, which are refrigerated to the customer’s home.
    Unlike the products of other companies, our product is not industrial, there are no preservatives, no condensates, no chemicals additives and sweeteners. The gel
    Pasteurized, not made of powder. The entire production process takes place in one place. From picking fresh leaves, producing a full natural gel and rich in all the medical benefits of the plant, to a deep freeze of aloe vera gel cubes at low temperature
    To stop the process of oxidation and to keep the product fresh.
    ALORGANIC’s natural aloe vera gel is carefully manufactured and has been researched and tested for years, and especially with patients with gastrointestinal and immunological problems, autoimmune diseases and diabetes.
    What is the advantage of cold pressing?
    In contrast to crushing a home blender, cold pressing does not use knives that cause oxidation of the ingredients in the gel, which preserves all the vitamins and antioxidants, so that the resulting product is very close
    To the source.
    What health problems can Aloe Vera help?
    Aloe Vera drinking has been proven in the treatment of effective infections, from irritable bowel and intestinal infections) Crohn’s and inflammation of the skin, joints or fibromyalgia.
    The natural aloe vera gel nourishes the body and blood with many vitamins, essential amino acids and antioxidants and thus strengthens the immune system, balance the dysfunction of the digestive system, helps metabolism at the cellular level, and in blood sugar levels.
    The aloe vera gel re-nourishes the mucosa and internal tissue surrounding the intestine and so on may significantly alleviate all problems related to the digestive system: Ulcer,
    Ulcers, syringes, Helicobacter and Candida, constipation, diarrhea and hemorrhoids.
    The substances in Aloe Vera reduce acidity in the blood and help strengthen the capillary walls (blood vessels), which helps in transporting oxygen efficiently for all cells and detoxification. Aloe Vera Gel works to dilute the blood and lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
    Aloe Vera helps to detoxify the liver. According to studies, aloe vera stops growth of cancerous tumors.

    1. Yisrael Kempinski
      Aren’t you the guy who tried to sell me a 50% interest in the bridge you’re building in the Negev?
      I’m guessing that you are.
      So, where can I get some of your miraculous products?

      1. Reminds me of the adv selling powdered ‘fruits and veggies’. What rot! Just take this powdered ‘fruits and veggies’ capsule and you can continue to scarf down you SAD diet and all will be well. It is just amazing what some people will do to protect their addictions and also to make a fast (but dishonest) buck!

  7. Hi,
    I think it’s neat they are using tilapia skin to help with burn repair. I saw a blerb about a vet using it on Bears paws that were burned in the recent fires,and it helped them get back in the wild quicker. Problem was they wanted to eat the tilapia skin!!
    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/california-thomas-fire-bear-cougar-paw-burn-tilapia-fish-skin-bandage-spd/
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/brazilian-city-uses-tilapia-fish-skin-treat-burn-victims
    mitch

    1. mitch, super glad the bears were helped <3 but the oceans are dying from overfishing alone (not to mention plastic pollution and toxic waste), also tilapia are living, feeling animals. It's better to look for healing properties of plants for the following reasons: morals/ethics, sustainability, and the fact that the only reasons animals have within them what they have within them, is due to their consumption of plants in the first place.
      Also animals like bears who need to hunt for fish have a harder time doing so due to humans depleting populations.

  8. I would also like you to tell us more about these researches as to who is conducting them. I am sure they are done by the medicine companies who don’t want you to believe that a plant can cure or help in management of health or injury because then how do they make money.
    You are just another puppet of those companies who is always promoting against natural and healthy living. Shame on you.

    1. Henry- Dr. Greger consistently and routinely points out conflicts of interest in research. Maybe get to know him a little better before finger pointing and name calling… In fact, Dr. G is a staunch advocate of using plants and lifestyle to support health, prevent disease, and treat disease- when the research supports it.

      1. I have subscribed him now for a long time but haven’t seen a single report which doesn’t promote the pharma industry. He just collects all these researches which are paid by companies to promote their interests and creates another story of his own. Show me one report where he has done any research on any pharma product.

        1. Henry, I have only been here a few months, but I have heard him mention “Big Pharma” and “Big Supplement” himself. He has so many natural products on here. If you search by topic, you will find healing by so many spices and fruits and veggies.

          If you want an example, the blog has the studies, which calcium supplements don’t work well, but if you go to osteoporosis, he has videos on dried prunes and almonds for helping osteoporosis.

          In the COPD section, he has broccoli.

          If you go to the topic of Cancer you can find flax and turmeric you can find all types of foods versus cancer.

          If you go to Diabetes, he points to Dr. Barnard and Esselstyn and Fuhrman and if you go to heart, you will find Ornish.

          1. I genuinely have found more information on healing myself naturally here versus other sites, because he has it organized by topics.

            But he also points out when the natural product doesn’t have a gold standard study with a control group or that the supplements often don’t have the product in it or don’t test as well.

            1. If you listen to his video or podcast about whether you should get an annual physical, he points to over diagnosis and over medicating patients as high risk factors and he is not for having tests or doctors appointments without symptoms and wants people to change their lives with WFPB, rather than medicines.

              1. What I agree with you about is that studies often have biases and Dr. Greger points out who funded almost every study as part of his process.

                I agree with you that I don’t trust every study, but he has made it very clear that neither does he and, in the end, bias is in everybody and it is hard to know who to trust, but that is why he searches for double blind studies with control groups and why when he finds studies, which aren’t, he points them out.

                In the end, he is reading the journals, which are out there, but what I will tell you is that you could go to Dr. Barnard or Dr. McDougall or other sites and many of them will refer to the same studies, because that is all we have right now.

                I have seen him change his mind, when the studies change, so if aloe gets studied again and is good for something other than burns, I suspect he will be the one who will do an update.

                I ask though, what is it you want to use aloe for, which has upset you?

                For me, the fact that most of the aloe sold won’t have the product is genuinely upsetting and even if the studies were more favorable, there might be another food, which might help better.

          2. When I think Big Pharma, I think Statins and he has pointed to things like flax outperforming BP pills.

            I think of Cancer meds and he has the study of treating Prostate Cancer through diet and has put up a strong argument against treating Stage 0 Cancer, which has to be a multimillion dollar industry, if not a billion dollar one.

            He is doing projects like What the Health, Eating You Alive, Prescription Nutrition, etc. These aren’t things Big Pharma wants.
            He has also stood up to the industries and he is not the one getting the proceeds from his books.

            I am not saying that he doesn’t have biases, because I genuinely know we all have biases, but he is not Big Pharma.

        2. Omg Henry, you’re either mixing Dr. Greger up with someone else or you haven’t actually been watching his videos or reading his work and are just talking nonsense.

    2. Henry, you can find the information you want below the video under Sources Cited. Also, you’re probably new to this site, and you can learn more about Dr G’s integrity on his website. To the left of his picture on the landing page there is a button that says Find Out More. When you click it, you’ll go to a brief introductory paragraph followed by several short videos that explain the important information behind NutritionFacts.org.

      1. Thanks for pointing that as when I checked it proves my point that most of these researches are done by pharma companies who don’t want you to use natural products because they don’t make money on them

        1. Henry,
          After listening to Dr. G’s videos for years and years, I don’t think anyone would agree with that point. I do agree with you that we need to watch for pharma bias. Most of the studies are paid for by big Pharma, so that’s what we have to use. Dr. G is very independent of big Pharma. Watch a few more videos.
          John S

        2. “most of these researches are done by pharma companies who don’t want you to use natural products because they don’t make money on them” I’m not sure about “most,” but Dr. Greger always points out those conflicts of interests and teaches people to pay attention to them, so it’s ironic that you would accuse him of pushing for big pharma.

    3. Try looking at the actual articles (the sources used are listed above). They usually include financial disclosure statements.

      Frankly though, this comment seems typical of the “alternative health” crowd who make all sorts wild claims (with little or no evidence) to justify their supposed “cures”.

      In my experience, the people who make these claims of financial conflicts of interest, are often selling stuff themselves. Apparently though, if you are an “alternative health” advocate and making money from selling stuff or speaking fees, this doesn’t count as a financial conflict of interest. No Siree, their motives are pure and they speak only a higher Truth.

  9. Best to use aloe directly from living plants. Here in Southern California, aloe is readily available everywhere, if not already in one’s garden. Scooping real organic aloe from the leaves is easy. Aloe extends healing time for wounds because it heals without leaving scar tissue; not to mention it leaves no toxic chemicals or heavy metals in the blood stream, items present in almost all pharmaceutical drugs. That’s one of the main reasons for using aloe… eliminating scar tissue. I agree with previous poster, some of the sources in the reports smell fishy (smell fishy… how’s that for science?). There is not one mention in the studies re: the type and origin of the aloe used for research; fresh? Organic? From Walmart maybe? And I won’t even get started on how disgusting it is that our FDA is being run by corporate death squads who worship stock value over human life.

    1. Have you got any actual evidence for these statements?

      All I can see in your post is unsupported accusations, unfounded claims, wishful thinking and a conspiracy theory. That’s fine if you’re selling aloe products but the rest of us would rather see the facts than rely on marketing claims.

      1. Tom I totally appreciate where you’re coming from and thoroughly agree, however I don’t mind theories and speculations, I just want to see them put to the test if they haven’t been, or actual evidence if they have.

        1. Thanks S

          Sure. I enjoy them too and they are very interesting.

          I get concerned, though, when opinions and speculations are presented as fhard acts

          1. And I’m glad you and others get concerned, me too now. I used to assume the claims about natural products were being stated as facts because they actually had been studied and was just “known.” If people were held accountable for claims more, we would probably know a lot more and be flooded with far less misinformation.

    2. Anthony, I was actually just wondering about that… so it slows wound healing, but why? Maybe the wounds were healing better. Seems like how they healed should be noted as well.

  10. It doesn’t surprise me that store-bought aloe doesn’t contain aloe. What aloe was used in these studies?

    Also, I’ve read a lot of websites recommending aloe for things like face-masks. Have there been any studies done on aloe and skin aging, or aloe and skin appearance in general? Even if it doesn’t have any actual healing effect, aloe is at least soothing to put on sunburns, and it’s an easy-to-take-care-of plant… so it’s nice for decoration in your house/patio/yard…. :)

    1. Valerie, more than just a beautiful plant, NASA did a study on various house plants and found aloe to be effective at air purification :) It’s also non-toxic to cats which is a must for me – I wouldn’t feed them the plant but I can’t keep poisonous plants inside.

  11. I will speak to my personal experience: I started drinking one cup of aloe vera juice a day after a friend raved about how it got rid of his lower back pain. The reasoning was that his pain was the result of an old injury that caused inflammation and aloe juice purportedly reduces inflammation in the system when ingested. Worth a try, right? So I did. A month later, my back pain was still with me BUT my bursitis was gone and has never returned. Surprise, surprise. And delight. Dr. Greger doesn’t address the ingestion of aloe vera, which is a big part of how it is used. BTW, you can get a gallon jug of the stuff at Trader Joe’s for about $7.

      1. It is a plant. All plants have antioxidants. A succulent like aloe vera is exposed to a higher degree of radiation from the sun and would therefore need to produce more antioxidants to heal itself. Plants are healthy to ingest in part because we can hijack these mechanisms for ourselves. Cacti and succulents are regularly consumed in many parts of the world. It is not far fetched to assume they would have the same generalized anti inflammatory and antioxidant benefits as virtually all other commonly used plants. It’s just a matter of specific therapeutic value for condition x. Not whether there is value at all. So most likely not ‘just’ the placebo effect. If you were discussing homeopathy, I would agree with you, but there are established biological pathways by which plants heal people.

        I would also like to add all the alduteration and deception that goes on in the supplement industry, definitely needs to be considered as a confounding factor in herbal studies. Echinacea works in one study but not another. Well that other study might not have even been studying the same plant. Or even a plant at all. The same could just as easily be true with aloe unfortunately.

        And even if it were just the placebo effect, her bursitis is healed using an ethical, most likely benign, substance. She feels better. That is the whole point of medicine.

        1. Guess I should have said “maybe”. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to tell what the reason was in a solitary case like that. Soft tissue injuries typically heal themselves if a person does not keep re-injuring the site. You have no evidence that “most likely not ‘just’ the placebo effect”. Your lecture on plants, antioxidants, etc. does nothing to clarify the situation.

          1. I don’t know what the salycic acid content aloe vera is but adding a cup of something with even a moderate amount of it to one’s diet would most likely impact pain. That is just one example of a potential mechanism. The words most likely indicate a hypothesis, based on previous data, not a theory.

            Anecdotal evidence is evidence. It is the weakest form of empirical evidence, and should be contexualized and examined further, not automatically dismissed.

            The placebo effect is often referred to in a dismissive fashion, like it is just in people’s minds. But it can literally shrink tumors in some instances in control groups. Physical changes happen from it, and I feel like responsible medicine should do more to deliberately harness it in conjunction with using the best empirically tested science currently available. Like I love that Dr. Gregor wears a white lab coat, because patients respond better to prescriptions administered to doctors who wear lab coats compared to doctors who don’t. That is an example of using the placebo effect to do even more good. I would link to the study here, but I am on a phone.

            From the knee jerk approach that there probably nothing to here learn, we are guaranteed to learn nothing. So yeah, I’m going to critique that approach.

        2. “Echinacea works in one study but not another. Well that other study might not have even been studying the same plant. Or even a plant at all. The same could just as easily be true with aloe unfortunately.”

          VERY good point. You’d think they’d use the whole plant, make their own concoctions from the whole plant, or at least test the supplement thoroughly to know for a fact it is what it’s claimed to be before performing experiments with them. That should be mandatory.

          We could learn so much more if studies were never done wastefully such as making sure time and resources aren’t wasted to perform flawed studies, experiments on animals, etc. And also if the world’s priorities were straight and things were about learning and educating as opposed to gaining and profiting.

      2. Gengogakusha, I used to get really bad sores on the tip of my nose. I tried breaking an aloe vera leaf and putting some of the gel on the sores. Relief! And they healed. True–no control group, but that’s what I experienced. I still have the plant. I also wonder where the researchers got their aloe vera for their studies….

        1. Thanks for the reply. If you repeat a treatment several times and it works, and if when you don’t use it, you find the problem does not resolve, then I would also assume it’s effective. I do this sort of thing, and have no problem with that personal approach. But that does not seem to be the case with Jocelyn’s experience. In retrospect, I should not have said “probably” because, of course, I don’t know. But I’ve dealt with many soft tissue injuries and I know they can come and go, sometimes quite mysteriously.

    1. Jocelyn,

      Congratulations on clearing up your bursitis with aloe. In his notes, Dr G says this is the first of a series on aloe, and he will release them over the next few months. He’ll probably get to ingested aloe along the way.

  12. It takes seconds to prove aloe Vera’s efficacy. Molten plastic splashed on my arms and legs. I had an aloe plant nearby. I quickly applied it to the trauma sight as it was stinging like a wasp bite. The pain went immediately.

      1. I find this hard to believe. Aloes is astringent, it closes wounds, I wouldn’t place too much credence here. And what about all the science done by the Ambrotose people who showed this old mono saccharide (sugar) increased communication between cells?

        Kahl Read

        Virus-free.
        http://www.avg.com

      2. so disappointed about sunburns though :( I want to know if the whole “aloe vera strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier” thing is true!

    1. A liquid might well reduce the pain. Is it better than water I wonder?
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23059135

      Also what about the long term effects on burn wound healing? Some studies suggest that there is no benefit

      “Many alternative therapies are used as first aid treatment for burns, despite limited evidence supporting their use. In this study, Aloe vera, saliva and a tea tree oil impregnated dressing (Burnaid) were applied as first aid to a porcine deep dermal contact burn, compared to a control of nothing. After burn creation, the treatments were applied for 20 min and the wounds observed at weekly dressing changes for 6 weeks. Results showed that the alternative treatments did significantly decrease subdermal temperature within the skin during the treatment period. However, they did not decrease the microflora or improve re-epithelialisation, scar strength, scar depth or cosmetic appearance of the scar and cannot be recommended for the first aid treatment of partial thickness burns.”
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18603378

      Of course, results might be different in the case of extended application and there might well be different effects in humans (the above study used pigs). Someone once commented that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. There isn’t a lot of good evidence for these home remedies but the long history of aloe vera use on burns suggest it does help. However, whether it is better than water, zince cream or silver cream etc, is I think still unknown.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23188597

      That said, aloe vera has an anti-microbial effect which is impotant in burn treatment so it would probably be preferable to water as immediate first aid for (minor) burns. Zinc, tea tree and silver remedies are however also anti-microbial but which is the best choice is something that I think we do not yet know.

  13. Most of these studies with captive animals prove absolutely nothing. Seems it’s just an excuse for cruelty and sadism,
    Makes me sick! Time to stop it all!
    Experiment on people with the actual problems, better data.

  14. What about aloe for cancer? There is a bunch of stuff out there, just not sure what it all means. It would be great if you could look at this. Love all that you do!!

    Aloe-Emodin Suppress Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation through ER α Inhibition https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23864887

    Aloe-Emodin Influence on the Lysosomal Compartment of Hela Cell https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29286219

    Anticancer Potential of Aloes: Antioxidant, Antiproliferative, and Immunostimulatory Attributes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22516934

    A randomized study of chemotherapy versus biochemotherapy with chemotherapy plus Aloe arborescens in patients with metastatic cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19368145

    1. He might get to those later. He called it the first of a WHOLE BUNCH.

      When he was doing his live Q&A yesterday, he said that some of these topics have so many resources to look through.

      I know that people take it as negative that he put the negative results of genuine studies, but I am so glad that he did.

      The fact that I use the plants for burns and that is something, which studies well, but I might have made the mistake to use if I had a wound and might have caused it to heal slower.

      He is sticking with studies and I need that from him.

      That is what I want from him.

      1. But I would rather see how well the wounds healed rather than how quickly. Could it be simply slowing the healing process due to interruption somehow or could it be causing the wounds to heal better? Someone above mentioned it causing less scar tissue but didn’t supply any information on that, still a relevant theory and something I’d like to see “put to the test.” But for now I think I’d just avoid using it for wounds other than burns. Hopefully he’ll not only have more on ingestion of aloe but also a bit more insight into the topical use. I’m REALLY anxious to know if the claims about aloe strengthening our skin’s moisture barrier have any truth to them because I’ve heard that so many times. Also I hope he addresses aloe and hyper pigmentation as I’ve read this in studies but unfortunately I can only think of an animal study.

    2. Sue, it was fun reading the studies.

      I have to say, the fact that the products sold don’t have any aloe in them, means you might have to make your own aloe juice.

      Wiki-How gives a recipe.

      I wonder if there are side effects. Waiting to hear that before I take it.

      (Although, I did buy a drink at the grocery store with it once and couldn’t drink more than two sips, so I am going to have to use the flax seed and broccoli sprouts and dandelion leaf and root tea and turmeric and Brussel sprouts and kale and white button mushrooms and walnuts and pecans and cabbage and garlic and onion and spices and green tea and white tea and lemon and cranberries and cloves etc.)

      I genuinely had Cancer symptoms, and they genuinely have gone away sometime during this process, but I am not stopping.

    3. IMost of these studies are lab studies. Many things kill cancer in the lab from bleach to beer and from urine to the blood of vegans, The last study you linked was interesting though. However, as we know, many cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation etc) also increase the risk of later cancers. There is a possibilty that this could be the case here also

      I recall reading somewhere that regular consumption of aloe vera juice promoted colorectal cancer. This was from a study in rats though. Can’t find it now but I did find this paper below which discusses various studies on both mice and rats which indicate that aloe vera consumption can cause problems including increased cancer rates eg

      “Incidences of adenomas and/or carcinomas of the ileo-cecal and cecal-colic junction, cecum, and ascending and transverse colon were significantly higher than controls in male and female rats in the 1 and 1.5% dose groups. There were no neoplasms of the large intestine in mice or in the 0 or 0.5% dose groups of rats. Increased incidences of mucosa hyperplasia of the large intestine were observed in F344/N rats, and increased incidences of goblet cell hyperplasia of the large intestine occurred in B6C3F1 mice. These results indicate that Aloe vera whole-leaf extract is an intestinal irritant in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice and a carcinogen of the large intestine in F344/N rats.”
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537128/

      I sure wouldn’t want to regularly consume aloe vera juice as a cancer preventive measure, even if it may have some role/benefit in cancer treatment.

  15. I am glad you did a video on aloe. I am terribly allergic to aloe and get terrible hives from it–so bad, in fact, that I have to take prednisone for a few weeks to control the hives until they subside.

    Aloe is a fad just a coconut oil is a fad. It is today’s wonder cure all!!!

  16. Dr. Greger, can you please shed some light on more effective, natural moisturizers and other natural alternatives for topical skin care and protection? It gets very confusing. I’ve always heard that aloe vera strengthens our skin’s own natural moisture barrier, so I’ve been recently using it straight from the plant. The slowing of wound healing is concerning but the success for burns is uplifting making me wonder what is in this that is so beneficial to burns – extremely disappointed in the sunburn news though (my world is shattered!). Then I came across this which concludes that after various applications, aloe has skin dehydrating effects: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078333/
    I’ve also heard it works successfully for hyper pigmentation – I don’t know if that was tested on humans.
    They put aloe in almost all skin care products, both natural and non. Could we be harming our skin? Could it be helping? Is it neither helping nor harming?

    Then you have promising research about red raspberry seed oil having about an spf of 40 with a large amount of protection against UVB rays and a not as large but still significant amount of protection against UVA rays. Then you have argan oil, rosehip, broccoli extract, seabuckthorn berry, shea, etc. etc… A lot of us are trying to get away from the unnatural products and even the “natural” and “organic” products that contain harmful chemicals. So I think choosing safer alternatives which may actually work much better is a beneficial thing for overall health (and can be more sustainable, avoiding unsustainable ingredients found in most products), but it gets confusing. I even read one study saying that olive oil resulted in trans epidermal water loss, so sometimes it even gets a little scary!

    And then what about making our own sun screen with our own zinc oxide?

    Would be nice to know the best ways to be natural, effective, and safe.

    Then there’s this FDA document stating how a lot of medications and products (some even natural) increases sensitivity to light: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/SurgicalandTherapeutic/UCM135813.pdf

    We need more science in skin care for overall health, safety, and so we don’t waste money following the confusing claims.

  17. I live in San Antonio, Texas and the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio has a large stem cell department. They are doing a lot of clinical studies on people in all areas of medicine in order to regenerative human tissues. Here is a link to their webpage.
    http://www.uthscsa.edu/research/areas/regenerative-medicine
    All major universities, and cities are doing a lot of research in stem cell therapy with good results. Now, a few people do not respond to stem cell therapy, but that does not mean that the rest of us cannot benefit from it. Not everyone benefits from chemo therapy, but it does help some people. Interesting I was talking to my periodontal dentist today, and he told me that he uses in his practice the patient’s venous blood when he does a artificial tooth implant. He said that if you inject the patient’s venous blood into the socket where the implant tooth is to go, then those stem cells secrete cytokines which in turn super charge your surrounding tissues to act like young healthy cells and they start producing growth hormone and other related molecules which brings greater success to the tooth implant. My endodontists told me that this is now common practice among periodontal dentists. So, we are finally seeing the use of stem cells in dentistry for everyone. Hopefully, the FDA will give a green light to all the major hospitals and universities to start using stem cells to treat the public. Stay tuned and investigate this new science. Here is the LINK to the University Of Texas stem cell department. It is impressive:
    http://www.uthscsa.edu/research/areas/regenerative-medicine

  18. It might be better if all those studies could have been repeated using real (!!!) extract of Aloe Vera leaves, produced by cold press, and maybe frozen to stop any degradation process!
    Am I right?

    1. Avi,

      Considering the work done by Carrington labs ….you’re on the mark.

      One of the issues we all face when addressing natural products is the often time many methods of preparation and processing, needed to achieve a finished product, have substantial impact and are far from the fresh origins.

      I’m a fan of the having a simple aloe plant for burns…

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  19. This is completely off-topic but people might find a recent journal article interesting nonetheless. It was published in Nature a few days ago. The article headlines and link are below. A low fat WFPB diet is of course.usually lower in calories than alternative dietary strategies,

    “Reduced-calorie diet shows signs of slowing ageing in people
    Most comprehensive study yet demonstrates that cutting people’s energy intake dials down their metabolism.”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03431-x

  20. Like most people I grew up with granny using aloe Vera. I have many aloe products in my medicinal arsenal and to find that actually it doesn’t work for ANYTHING is disappointing…other than as a placebo that is. The miraculous claims for aloe is plastered all over the product labels, the internet and the sellers of the products are seemingly well versed in the wondrous properties of aloe Vera. Do they all just prey on our desperation to feel better then we do and actually knowingly defraud us?

    1. “Do they all just prey on our desperation to feel better then we do and actually knowingly defraud us?” It really is horrible and unacceptable….

      But he does have more videos coming out on aloe so perhaps we’ll see more good news. However it does show that it works well for burns, just not sunburns. Also it’s a great house plant as it was listed as one of the top plants for air purification based on NASA studies and is nontoxic to cats and I also believe dogs so it’s safe.

      Also this video doesn’t address other claims about its topical use. There have been promising results from aloe used for hyper pigmentation, however I don’t know if there were human studies on this. And then there’s the claim that it strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier which I’d really like to see either proven or debunked. Also, I’ve said this before but while it shows to slow down the healing process, what about how well it heals… someone else here claimed that it reduces scar tissue and while that’d be nice there was no information linked, just the claim. Anyways, I’m hoping he addresses as many of the claims about aloe as possible. Incidentally, it would amazingly as a pre-shower conditioner for me… at least lol.

  21. Perhaps researches have not yet discovered the existence of an enzyme under the skin of the Aloe leaf that destroys the beneficial effects of the Aloe Gel within 24-30 hours the leaf is cut from the “mother” plant! This enzyme must be addressed and eliminated in order to evaluate the benefits of aloe gel. I believe the long-chained carbohydrate present in a “stabilized” Aloe product I take daily has prevented or controlled the deadly effects of auto-immune disorder Pemphigus Vulgaris for several years. The Research and Development Company from which I purchase this product had to first address and solve this problem.
    As long as I take an aloe-containing product every day of my life I am free of destructive and life-threatening Pemphigus Vulgaris. FDA Rules prevent anyone from naming any natural product that “heals” a disease. Aloe gel, freshly-cut, will quickly heal burns, cuts and other skin abrasions. I know of many other beneficial results. I am not a doctor or researcher-just someone whose life has been restored.

  22. I don’t trust the storebought “aloe vera” gels and just go with an actual plant. If I burn myself, I cut a piece, split it open and tape it over the burn. It stings for a second, then stops ALL the pain. If the burn is bad, I may replace the chunk of plant several times over the course of a day. It also heals the burn much faster than OTC antibiotic ointment. So I don’t run a household without at least one aloe vera plant in residence! It is certainly NOT a placebo effect.

    I also drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice once a day to boost my immune system.

  23. My understanding is, that the main active compound in aloe vera is enzymatically destroyed within a few hours after harvest. In order to have effect, the gel must be used immediately, or in a stablized form. If the aloe in these studies met neither of these conditions, they are useless to find the truth. If the scientists knew this, their study was purposely misleading. If they didn’t know it, shame in them for not doing a review of the available literature, to understand what they were studing. Neither scenario reflects well on the researchers or their work.

  24. Stanford University Medical System is doing extensive research on stem cells to regenerate tissue in humans. Here is the link. http://med.stanford.edu/stemcell.html

    Here is a link to Dr. Neil Riordan giving a lecture on how stem cells work to regenerate cells. Tom Goff presented some ideas recently that stem cell therapy might be a fraud or a hoax. But, if you go to any major medical center around the world you will see that stem cell research, stem cell therapy, and patient improvement is happening. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/vYMOzUd4iNM

    1. Not quite. I provided a link to an article by Dr Mirkin (inventor of the RICE approach to athletic injuries) counselling caution about stem cell clinics. Especially perhaps those run by health entrepeneurs like Neil Riordan. I also provided a link to an article about that clinic having been shut down at one stage by local authorities, and another link to eg a a testimonial from a patient who received no benefit at all from the very, very expensive treatment.

      This is not the same thing as saying that stem cell therapy is a hoax or that reputable institutions trialling stem cell treatments should be avoided.

      Here is Mirkin’s article again
      http://www.drmirkin.com/weekly-ezine-page/be-wary-of-stem-cell-clinics.html

      Here is another article where he describes how defective stem cells can cause heart attacks and cancer
      http://www.drmirkin.com/weekly-ezine-page/ezine062412.html

      Note that Mirkin is not the only one advisng caution. The US FDA also does and the UK NHS ditto
      https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm286155.htm
      https://www.nhs.uk/news/genetics-and-stem-cells/warning-on-free-online-stem-cell-therapy/

      As for recommending a YouTube video by Neil Riordan, well he charges patients a lot of money to be treated at his Panama clinic. It could be argued that the video is basically an infomercial for his clinic – the Stem Cell Institute. He also sells a range of nutritional supplements and has s stem cell production facility. He may well be legit but he does have a serious conflict of interest here.

  25. Problem I see with the research reporting in this video is “what” gel, “what” cream? Just like processed food, processed aloe doesn’t have many of the “whole plant” qualities. I have use aloe for many years with great results! I use on my family and I have even used it to heal abscesses on a cat with feline leukemia, abscesses the vet could not heal. BUT I don’t find that the aloe products have much to offer; I use it directly from the plant. It takes very little care to grow it and gives back a world of healing!

  26. Marsha,

    Your so correct. About 25 years ago I too was curious about the aloe concentration in OTC/supplement products. It was literally a less than stellar showing as most of the firms contacted either refused or had no assay information regarding the concentrations of most of the principle groups of chemicals in their products.

    There is a push toward high levels of the acemannan as the most important chemical constituent by some firms while others are still utilizing the whole gel, without more details.

    For those remembering the aloe products of the 80’s and Carrington Labs extraction and concentration see: Carrington Clarifies Issues on Manapol® Powder and Their Other Proprietary Raw Materials. There was “good news” as this was the one exception in the group of manufactures years ago that did assays ! Their product samples I used was thick, expensive and very bitter and I mean bitter, however it worked like a charm on a number of skin issues, esp. burns. The downside was it did not last long and appeared (smell and color change) to go rancid, if not refrigerated…. It appears the company is no longer in business and their patents are expired.

    The story is a bit more murky as there are ~ 75+ active ingredients so what group or groups of chemicals are the optimal ones to have in a standardized level ?
    If your inclined to check out a bit more on the subject go to: ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW. The authors conclusions were that they felt like more info was needed.

    Not to commercialize the waters but I found the statement at the bottom of this companies aloe product interesting, ” Aloe products that contain higher concentrations of anthraglycosides from the leaf skin are only available on prescription and should only be applied under medical supervision. ”

    I’d continue to use the fresh plant extract as my clinical experience affirms your findings and having a plant about is simple and inexpensive.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  27. A few years ago my scalp burnt every time I went out in the sun. My doctors could not figure out why. I used aloe vera gel I bought at the health food store. It offered instant relief. I keep a bottle in my fridge all the time.

  28. I wonder if the studies that said the aloe was not effective on bowel diseases, used the whole leaf gel, or the bottled product. It soothes the digestive track, and I would think ease the symptoms of IBS etc. I find the whole leaf gel is great for sunburn, when it is cut and laid on the burn. The bottle gel never worked for this fair-skinned lady. I wish there were more studies on such products, ensuring that it is in fact the gel. Sometimes you have to move on faith, and aloe is one thing I think I will always admire.

  29. It’s Spring and for some unexplained reason I’m experiencing itchy skin with no apparent rash. My friend gave me a big aloe leaf to use in a drink but I put it on the itchy spots and got total, quick relief. I also have teary, itchy eyes and smeared some on and got instant relief from the itch and tears. I’m not going to use it in a drink after seeing this video but will continue experimenting topically.

  30. Dr. Greger, I distrust commercial aloe products. That is why I only use the gel from the leaf as I keep aloe plants in my home for burns, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. I never use commercial aloe products. My experience with the plant differs from the research you cited. Aloe is better than anything in the drug world and commercial world for burns, and wound healing. I even used the aloe leaf gel plus raw, unfiltered honey for stage 4 pressure ulcers successfully. I would appreciate if you would provide information on the use of the gel directly from the fresh aloe leaf. I believe all studies that follow that practice will indeed produce dramatic results as per the popular perception. Additionally, the burns I have treated personally with the aloe plant saw the skin return to normal without a trace of scar tissue. Also, I drink Aloe Vera Juice from the gel of the plant plant mixed in with Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tbsp in 4 oz of water) with 5 drops of J. Crow’s 5% Lugols solution (Iodine).

  31. I have found Aloe Vera very effective on burns I sustain while cooking. It seems to take the pain away immediately and the healed wound leaves no mark.

  32. Great info, but disappointed at the ending. Dr. Greger implies the only place to obtain aloe vera gel is from drug stores. Why not suggest folks grow their own? We have grown it for years in our yard in Guinea, West Africa. Started with 3 little plants given to us by a friend, and now have hundreds. We promote it to our African neighbors as helpful in treating burns. Just cut open a leaf, squeeze out the gel and smear it on. Works much better than their favorite remedy – bunny fuzz – or than doing nothing (control!). My wife also finds it helps a tummy ache feel better. She soaks a cut-up leaf in a glass of water for a few minutes, and then drinks the water/gel mix.

  33. I’d be interested in science that compared the use of fresh (raw) aloe to that in the commercial products I believe were used on the referenced studies. Heat and processing can have powerful effects on the nutritional and healing properties of many plants (both positive and negative). I’ve experienced almost miraculous wound healing (especially burns and blisters) with homegrown aloe, while only mediocre results from purchased products.

  34. I personally know one of the scientists that have patents regarding Aloe Vera. Their research found that the active ingredient is a mucopolysaccharide, however they also found that there is an enzyme in the plant that as soon as it is disconnected from the plant, as in cutting off the leaf, the enzyme is a fail safe type mechanism that Deactivates the mucopolysaccharide! Their patent was on a way to deactivate that enzyme so they could harvest the leaf and make a product. They did and a purified version is called “Acemannan” and is used to treat many animal issues including curing feline leukemia! They tried to get it authorized by the FDA but unfortunately could not establish an “LD50” which is required by FDA to license a new medication.
    Bottom line is that most Aloe Vera in a bottle has NO active ingredients and that accounts for much of the fails of aloe vera testing. There is more aloe vera on the label than in the bottle! The best source of course then is the freshly cut leaf from the plant. It is deactivated within 30 minutes of cutting so use it right away and replace it often. Do not save any leaf.
    Their product was on the market last time I checked, but of course the FDA prohibits them from making any claims whatsoever!
    This same basic concept of whole natural vs fractionated parts also account for many failed vs successful research. For example: vitamin C in nature is NOT what FDA defines as vitamin C and the same goes for vitamin E! That’s why ascorbic acid can’t cure scurvy but natural whole C complex can! Why natural E complex helps heart disease and fractionated FDA defined vitamin E does not!
    The quality of the substance used in testing makes all the difference in the world!!

    1. Why do you say ascorbic acid does not treat scurvy? My understanding is that it’s the standard treatment, and is effective in a short time.

      1. Yes – I looked at that (and all) the references, but it does not support Dr. Greger’s statement about risks of silvadene – it only discussed the comparison with aloe vera.

  35. I read years ago that fresh aloe vera is extremely perishable and they had trouble finding an additive to keep it fresh and it lost effectiveness otherwise. Those of us who use it for cooking burns keep a plant closeby. Often I burn myself late in the evening and take a flashlight into the yard to cut it from the huge plant I have. It works best if applied within minutes of the burn.

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