aloe vera plant
© Steven Foster

An Aloe vera monograph for the home

Latin Name: Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis

Common Names: aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall


This fact sheet provides basic information about aloe vera—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Aloe vera Basics

  • Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.
  • Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.
  • Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

Aloe vera in Health Research

  • There’s not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it.

Aloe vera Research Summary

  • Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with aloe were at one time regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the safety data necessary for continued approval.
  • There’s some evidence that the topical use of aloe products might be helpful for symptoms of certain conditions such as psoriasis and certain rashes.
  • There’s not enough high-quality scientific evidence to show whether topical use of aloe helps to heal wounds.
  • There’s not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses.

Aloe vera Safety

  • Use of topical aloe vera is likely to be safe.
  • A 2-year National Toxicology Program study on oral consumption of nondecolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, based on tumors of the large intestine. Another study in rats showed that decolorized whole leaf aloe vera did not cause harmful effects. This suggests that a component called aloin, most of which is removed by the decolorization process, may be responsible for the tumors seen in rats fed nondecolorized whole leaf aloe vera. More information, including what products are actually in the marketplace and how individuals use different types of aloe vera products, is needed to determine the potential risks to humans.
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe latex. Also, because aloe latex is a laxative, it may reduce the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of some drugs that are taken orally.
  • People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe orally because aloe may lower blood glucose levels.
  • There have been a few reported cases of acute hepatitis in people who took aloe vera orally. However, the evidence is not definitive.

Aloe vera References

PubMed Articles About Aloe vera

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Search query:(Aloe vera AND diabetes AND (( Clinical Trial[ptyp] OR systematic[sb] ) AND Humans[Mesh]))

Araya-Quintanilla, F., Gutiérrez-Espinoza, H., Cuyul-Vásquez, I., Pavez, L., (2022) Effectiveness of aloe vera in patients with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and pre-diabetes: An overview of systematic reviews.

The effects of aloe vera are inconsistent and unclear. The aim of this study is to analyze the effects of aloe vera in metabolic profiles.

Badooei, F., Imani, E., Hosseini-Teshnizi, S., Banar, M., Memarzade, M., (2021) Comparison of the effect of ginger and aloe vera mouthwashes on xerostomia in patients with type 2 diabetes: A clinical trial, triple-blind.

Ginger and aloe vera are two medicinal herbs mostly used to produce mouthwash. This study aimed to compare the effects of ginger and aloe vera mouthwashes on the xerostomia in patients referred to Bandar Abbas diabetes clinic (Iran).

Najafian, Y., Khorasani, ZM., Najafi, MN., Hamedi, SS., Mahjour, M., Feyzabadi, Z., (2020) Efficacy of Aloe vera/ Plantago Major Gel in Diabetic Foot Ulcer: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial.

Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is one of the most common complications of diabetic patients. Mostly, non-healing DFU leads to infection, gangrene, amputation and even death. High costs and poor healing of the wounds need a new treatment such as alternative medicine. So, the aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Aloe vera/ Plantago major gel (Plantavera gel) in healing of DFU.

Marmitt, DJ., Shahrajabian, MH., Goettert, MI., Rempel, C., (2022) Clinical trials with plants in diabetes mellitus therapy: a systematic review.

The chronic metabolic disorder diabetes mellitus is a fast-growing global problem with huge social, health, and economic consequences, having one of the highest morbidities and mortality rates. Prolonged use of many available medications can produce undesirable side effects. Thus, plants appear as an important source of bioactive resources for the discovery of new treatments for diabetes.

Egbuna, C., Awuchi, CG., Kushwaha, G., Rudrapal, M., Patrick-Iwuanyanwu, KC., Singh, O., Odoh, UE., Khan, J., Jeevanandam, J., Kumarasamy, S., Chukwube, VO., Narayanan, M., Palai, S., Găman, MA., Uche, CZ., Ogaji, DS., Ezeofor, NJ., Mtewa, AG., Patrick-Iwuanyanwu, CC., Kesh, SS., Shivamallu, C., Saravanan, K., Tijjani, H., Akram, M., Ifemeje, JC., Olisah, MC., Chikwendu, CJ., (2021) Bioactive Compounds Effective Against Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review.

Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all diabetes cases with insulin resistance and insulin secretion defect. The key goal of anti-diabetic therapy is to increase the development of insulin, immunity and/or decrease the amount of blood glucose. While many synthetic compounds have been produced as antidiabetic agents, due to their side effects and limited effectiveness, their usefulness has been hindered.