It’s not just for sunburns anymore. Aloe vera supplements have hit the health foods stores with claims of weight loss, digestive and immune help. Even my father-in-law, who might be one of the people least concerned about health food supplements that I know, has taken aloe and claimed that it’s helped him lose weight. (To which I say, “Great news!”)
So what is aloe, exactly, and what will it possibly do for you?
- A cultivated succulent plant (with no known naturally occurring populations) with close relations to those aloes grown in North Africa, it has been frequently sited as an herbal remedy since the first century AD.
- It’s considered to be an internal healing and cleansing aid when taken properly.
- In addition to being a laxative and potential help for healing burns and abrasions, folk medicine states that aloe helps asthma, diabetes, arthritis and even epilepsy. However, more studies need to be conducted on the effects of aloe when internally taken.
There are some concerns about aloe being taken internally. Studies done on rats and mice have revealed carcinogenic buildups within the rodents. Granted, these were unfiltered aloe supplements in large quantities. Those people take are filtered through a charcoal process (they’re a clear gel) and taken 1-3 times a day (or as often as a person desires, from what I’ve read).
My personal experience is quite limited with aloe. I have not tried taking a supplement on a regular basis to see how my body would react. However, I do know people who have, and do, take aloe. Many of them, especially those with stomach and intestinal complaints, find some or much relief. Quite a few have found that they’ve lost weight, possibly due to aloe’s reputation as a laxative.
My advice is, as always, do your research before beginning any kind of supplement regimen. Talk it over with your physician, particularly if you have any kind of medical problems or allergy to aloe. The benefits may sound great but the jury is yet out about the risks involved. Will the pros outweigh the cons? Time and studies will tell.