Use of Aloe Vera for Treating Ulcerative Colitis
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe
vera gel for
Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, Holt H, Tsironi E, De Silva
A, Jewell DP,
active ulcerative colitis.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Apr 1;19(7):739-47.
BACKGROUND: The herbal preparation, aloe vera, has been claimed
to have anti-inflammatory effects and, despite a lack of evidence
of its therapeutic efficacy, is widely used by patients with inflammatory
AIM: To perform a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial
of the efficacy and safety of aloe vera gel for the treatment of
mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis.
METHODS: Forty-four evaluable hospital out-patients were randomly
given oral aloe vera gel or placebo, 100 mL twice daily for 4 weeks,
in a 2 : 1 ratio. The primary outcome measures were clinical remission
(Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index </= 2), sigmoidoscopic
remission (Baron score </= 1) and histological remission (Saverymuttu
score </= 1). Secondary outcome measures included changes in
the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index (improvement was defined
as a decrease of >/= 3 points; response was defined as remission
or improvement), Baron score, histology score, haemoglobin, platelet
count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and albumin.
RESULTS: Clinical remission, improvement and response occurred in
nine (30%), 11 (37%) and 14 (47%), respectively, of 30 patients
given aloe vera, compared with one (7%) [P = 0.09; odds ratio, 5.6
(0.6-49)], one (7%) [P = 0.06; odds ratio, 7.5 (0.9-66)] and two
(14%) [P < 0.05; odds ratio, 5.3 (1.0-27)], respectively, of
14 patients taking placebo. The Simple Clinical Colitis Activity
Index and histological scores decreased significantly during treatment
with aloe vera (P = 0.01 and P = 0.03, respectively), but not with
placebo. Sigmoidoscopic scores and laboratory variables showed no
significant differences between aloe vera and placebo. Adverse events
were minor and similar in both groups of patients.
CONCLUSION: Oral aloe vera taken for
4 weeks produced a clinical response more often than placebo; it
also reduced the histological disease activity and appeared to be
safe. Further evaluation of the therapeutic potential of aloe vera
gel in inflammatory bowel disease is needed.