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Aloe

How does Aloe work?

The useful parts of aloe are the gel and latex. The gel is obtained from the cells in the center of the leaf; and the latex is obtained from the cells just beneath the leaf skin.

Aloe gel might cause changes in the skin that might help diseases like psoriasis.

Aloe seems to be able to speed wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area and preventing cell death around a wound.

It also appears that aloe gel has properties that are harmful to certain types of bacteria and fungi.

Aloe latex contains chemicals that work as a laxative.

Are there safety concerns?

Aloe gel is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin and POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in adults. Once in a while aloe gel might cause burning and itching of the skin.

Taking aloe latex is POSSIBLY UNSAFE at any dose, but LIKELY UNSAFE when taken in high doses. Aloe latex can cause some side effects such as stomach pain and cramps. Long-term use of large amounts of aloe latex might cause diarrhea, kidney problems, blood in the urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss, and heart disturbances. Taking aloe latex 1 gram per day for several days can be fatal.

There have been a few reports of liver problems in some people who have taken an aloe leaf extract; however, this is uncommon. It is thought to only occur in people who are extra sensitive (hypersensitive) to aloe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Aloe -- either gel or latex -- is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a report that aloe was associated with miscarriage. It could also be a risk for birth defects. Do not take aloe by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children: Aloe is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. Children younger than 12 years old may experience abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea.

Diabetes: Some research suggests aloe might lower blood sugar. If you take aloe by mouth and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

Intestinal conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or obstruction: Do not take aloe latex if you have any of these conditions. Aloe latex is a bowel irritant. Remember, products made from whole aloe leaves will contain some aloe latex.

Hemorrhoids: Do not take aloe latex if you have hemorrhoids. It could make the condition worse. Remember, products made from whole aloe leaves will contain some aloe latex.

Kidney problems: High doses of aloe latex have been linked to kidney failure and other serious conditions.

Surgery: Aloe might affect blood sugar levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking aloe at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.



Medical Dictionary