Aloe vera benefits for the digestive system

Written by robin wood-moen
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Aloe vera benefits for the digestive system
Aloe vera coats and heals the digestive tract. (aloe image by Magdalena Mirowicz from Fotolia.com)

Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that more research is needed before considering aloe vera safe for gastrointestinal cancers. However, tremendous promise is shown in clinical trials to date with aloe vera pills versus a placebo and extends to those pertaining to lowering blood glucose in diabetes and healing ulcerative colitis. Under no circumstances should aloe vera be confused with aloe juice or aloe latex, as these two products have very potent laxative qualities that could prove fatal in the wrong populations. As with any new treatments, it is wise to consult your GP or health specialist before attempting to self-medicate.

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Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis affects individuals of all ages, but mostly those of Caucasian and Jewish decent. It is characterised by the inflammation and sores--called ulcers--located in the lining of the rectum and colon. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, this disease accompanies symptoms of diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss, malnourishment, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, skin lesions and joint pain. Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center posits that aloe vera is promoted for the immunomodulating abilities shown in small clinical trials, and thought to help heal inflammation and sores when taken internally. Findings were significant compared to the placebo, and very minor side effects were reported.

Blood glucose

In small clinical studies using aloe vera for lowering blood glucose over a six-week period, there were significant decreases. However--referring back to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center--the findings are deemed impressive enough to constitute further studies. More studies of this nature should be conducted before assuming it to be a safe and effective method for all individuals. No side effects were reported in this capacity.

Anti-inflammatory/antioxidant for internal conditions

The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics published an article, "Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Aloe Vera Gel in Human Colorectal Mucosa in Vitro" that conducted research studies using aloe vera in an ingested form to determine efficiency in healing effects in inflammatory bowel disease. What researchers discovered in this process was that aloe vera did in fact have anti-inflammatory actions when ingested, which could prove significant in future studies and approaches to inflammatory bowel diseases.

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