A gel made from the herb aloe vera may help to treat and prevent stomach and intestinal ulcers.
A team from the Barts and London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry have carried out tests which show that the herb has a beneficial effect on the production of substances which help boost the healing process in cases of ulceration in the gut.
The researchers believe aloe vera could be particularly valuable in treating ulcers caused as a side effect of taking anti-inflammatory NSAID drugs.
The aloe vera gel was tested on a culture of gastric cells at a concentration that is likely to be found in the stomach after swallowing a dose.
Aloe has been recognised as a painkiller, and since ancient times it has been used to treat burns.
It has also been used to treat other skin conditions such as scrapes, sunburns and insect bites.
Aloe is also a common ingredient in cosmetics and lotions because it naturally balances the pH of the skin.
Internally, it has been used as a mild laxative. There is also some evidence to suggest that it might enhance the functioning of the immune system.
Researchers at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, are conducting trials to establish whether aloe vera is an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Gastroenterologist Professor John Williams told BBC News Online:
“IBS the most common condition we see and the most difficult to treat.
“It is entirely benign, but extremely troublesome for people who have it.
“We have some anecdotal evidence that aloe vera may help, but we need to know if this is genuine effect, or simply linked to the fact that the condition improves and then relapses.”
Results on the IBS trial, in which approximately 250 people will take part, will not be known for two years.
The research was presented at a meeting of the British Society of Gastroenterology.
Healing Benefits of Aloe Vera -Plant’s healing powers tested
Millions of people could benefit from pioneering research at three south west Wales hospitals which are investigating the medicinal properties of a desert plant.
Neath, Morriston and Singleton hospitals are the first to trial aloe vera as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects around 20% of the UK population.
More than 250 IBS sufferers in the region are taking part in the two-year study, which will cost £50,000.
One of the volunteers Glyn Stevens, from Swansea, said the condition, which ranges from acute diarrhoea to constipation, has had a profound effect on his life.
“The pain is really bad and affects me on a daily basis,” he said.
“It makes me cough so much it almost chokes me.”
Sufferers often desperately need to go to the toilet with little warning, which severely limits their lifestyle.
Claire Hopkins, 26, from Penclawdd, said: “I have terrible stomach problems which have really affected my life.
“A cure would be marvellous.”
So far clinical research has failed to identify the causes of IBS or a remedy for the condition.
However, experts working on the aloe vera trials are hopeful they can exploit the plant’s healing properties.
Professor John Williams, consultant gastroenterologist, said: “IBS is very debilitating, causing troublesome symptoms which interfere with the social and working life of the individual.
“This is a study to look for an alternative treatment.
“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of the beneficial properties of aloe vera but this has never been proven.”
Healing benefits of Aloe Vera – Alternative medicine
Aloe vera is not a drug but is derived from a plant which is part of the lily family.
It has been used as a complementary treatment since the 18th Century.
Each aloe vera plant takes about five years to mature and has a life span of about 12 years.
The leaves are harvested between three and four years of age which is used to make the liquid, which will be the basis of the research.
The study is being funded by the Foundation for Integrated Medicine.
Watch this Video – How to Make Aloe Vera Gel
From BBC News
To discover more about the health benefits and uses of aloe vera, look no further than Yulia Berry’s e-book – “Aloe: Your Miracle Doctor”. From here, you will learn about the wide array of internal and external uses of aloe vera.
Yulia also dishes out tips on how you can prepare aloe in your kitchen, depending on the condition that you would like to treat. She also shares the history of aloe, why it is a must to take care of an aloe plant in your own home. what its chemical composition is, what the biogenic stimulation method is, and how it can be used for 130+ home remedies to treat more than eighty different disorders.
To find out more, go to: The Amazing Wonders of Aloe Vera