The internet is filled with a seemingly endless supply of fake cures or treatments for diabetes, including cinnamon, vinegar, honey, and even avocados. Typically these “treatments” have little substantial scientific research to back them up. Aloe vera sounds like just such a questionable treatment, but there is at least some research to back up the claim that it might help.
According to a report in Diabetes in Control, a new study examined the claim of whether aloe vera could help treat Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Aloe vera has long been used as a homeopathic remedy for diabetes; it’s also a favorite to treat sunburn, and as a stomach acid reducer.
Researchers in Iran reviewed eight clinical trials studying the effects of aloe vera; the trials involved 470 patients in all. Patients were separated into three groups – those who took aloe vera, those who took a placebo, and those who received no treatment. Aloe vera was administered in various forms – fresh juice, gel powder, raw crushed leaves, or extract. Researchers found there was a benefit to taking it, but it was minimal. Participants with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes saw small improvements in their fasting blood glucose scores, and those with diabetes also saw a slightly improved A1C score.
The researchers were more cautious in their findings about aloe vera than a group of researchers at the University of the Pacific. In 2010, the latter group of researchers reviewed five studies on aloe vera and found it reduced A1C scores by 22.6 percent. However, even these researchers cautioned that there were “numerous and noteworthy limitations in the studies,” according to a Medscape report.
While, these studies seem to indicate that aloe vera has the potential to improve glycemic control in prediabetes and Type 2, the body of research is still too small to provide definitive evidence that the plant is an effective treatment. More research must be done for it to be considered a viable diabetes treatment.
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