This treatment modality is used in place of conventional therapies to treat cancer. Seek advice from a qualified physician before replacing standard cancer therapy with aloe vera treatments.
What does aloe vera therapy involve?
Many of the 200 known species of aloe have been used as herbal medicines. The best known species, aloe vera, has traditionally been used in a topical gel form to treat dry or damaged skin, burns and cuts. Since the 1930s, aloe has been used for the treatment of skin reactions resulting from radiation therapy.
How is aloe vera thought to treat cancer?
Some proponents claim that aloe strengthens the immune system by acting directly on abnormal cells, thus preventing or treating cancer. Acemannan, an active compound found in aloe, has been reported to be a potent immune stimulant. It is thought to work by increasing macrophage activity, an immune system cell, as well as releasing immune system enhancers.
What has been proven about the benefit of aloe vera?
Clinical animal research has shown encouraging results in some skin tumors. In 1991, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved aloe vera as an adjunctive treatment for fibrosarcomas in dogs and cats. However, in the one human study reviewed by the University of Texas Center for Alternative Medicine, no positive responses were reported for radiation-induced dermatitis. At this time, there is no clinical evidence of efficacy of aloe vera as a cancer treatment. Currently, the American Cancer Society does not endorse the use of aloe vera as a cancer treatment and states “used as a cancer treatment, [it] is dangerous and may even be deadly.
What is known about the potential risk or harm of aloe vera?
Side effects of aloe use include contact dermatitis, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and electrolyte balance. Several deaths attributed to aloe vera injections for cancer treatment have been reported.
How much does aloe vera cost?
One gallon of aloe costs around $20. One gallon yields approximately 32 servings.
For additional information:
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, TX 77030
Telephone: (800) 392-1611
Web site: www.mdanderson.org/departments/CIMER/
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.