Can Aloe Vera Ease IBS?

Although aloe vera extract is often touted as a medicinal aid for digestive ailments such as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so far there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back up these claims. But aloe vera has shown some promise for other digestive problems.

In a small British study, patients with IBS were randomized into two groups. One group received an aloe vera supplement and the other group received a placebo (sugar pill). At the end of three months, there was no significant evidence that the aloe vera supplement was beneficial. While it appeared that the supplement may have improved diarrhea symptoms in some volunteers, the researchers said further studies would be needed to determine the supplement's efficacy to treat IBS.

However, other limited research in the use of oral aloe vera to treat ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) is showing some promising results, but it is not clear how aloe vera compares to other treatments used for ulcerative colitis.

Aloe vera is a succulent, perennial plant that resembles a cactus. It's the transparent gel from the pulp of its leaves that has been used topically to treat wounds, skin infections, and burns as well as other dermatologic conditions. And while topical use of the plant extract has not been associated with significant side effects, oral use may cause abdominal cramps as well as diarrhea. Before taking aloe vera supplements—or any dietary supplement—to ease IBS symptoms, check with your doctor to see if the treatment is safe for you.

Finding Relief

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine, causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. However, despite these uncomfortable symptoms, IBS does not cause permanent damage to your colon, nor does it raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Oftentimes, you can control your IBS symptoms through a combination of medication, dietary changes, and stress reduction:

  • Some of medication options include laxatives to treat constipation, antispasmodics to control colon spasms, and antidepressants to reduce abdominal discomfort.
  • Foods that can make IBS symptoms worse include fatty foods, milk products, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Eating four or five small meals a day instead of three big meals may also help reduce cramping and diarrhea.
  • Although emotional stress does not cause IBS, it can worsen symptoms. To reduce stress, meditation, exercise, hypnosis, and counseling may help.




Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Aloe vera For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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