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What Are the Possible Dangers of Aloe for Cancer?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 17, 2024
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Possible dangers of using aloe for cancer include hepatitis, blood clotting problems, and even death, depending on the form of aloe and the amount ingested. Research studies on aloe for cancer show mixed results, with some science showing chemical properties in aloe effective for treating liver cancer and skin cancer in animals. Other studies revealed some patients died after injections of aloe extract for cancer.

Injections of aloe for cancer are illegal in the United States and the United Kingdom, but might be available in other countries as an alternative cancer treatment. Shots of the extract might go directly into a malignant tumor or into the bloodstream. Oral doses of the plant extract might be manufactured as dietary supplements and sold in health food stores and on the Internet.

Aloe contains numerous chemical substances. The gel inside the thick, green leaves might soften skin and treat minor wounds and burns. Aloe latex comes from the inner lining of the leaves. Some products sold as aloe for cancer treatment include the entire leaf, which represents a combination of gel and latex. Its effectiveness as an alternative therapy for cancer might hinge on specific chemicals from these areas of the plant.

Researchers who studied aloe for cancer generally did not specify whether aloe vera gel, latex, or a combination of both parts of the plant were used by study participants. Dietary supplements might also fail to note the exact ingredients included in the products. Most recognized cancer specialists advise checking with a doctor before using aloe for cancer, along with other forms of alternative medicine.

Internal use of aloe for cancer might boost the immune system to fight off malignant cells, according to one study on rats. Another animal research project showed aloe actually increased the number of cancer cells and caused cancer to spread. Similar contradictory results occurred when testing aloe for skin cancer.

Liquid or capsule forms of aloe latex might be used legally for constipation in some areas. If these are consumed for several weeks, however, liver inflammation and hepatitis might develop, studies show. Other reported side effects include diarrhea, which could disrupt the body’s electrolyte balance if it becomes prolonged. Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps might also occur.

Aloe might be approved to treat autoimmune deficiencies in some regions. One laboratory study showed antiviral properties of the plant and increased immune system functioning. These supplements might also be sold as treatments for diabetes, heart problems, digestive disorders, and many other ailments.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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