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Aloe and Diabetes

Aloe Vera and Blood Sugar

Common Names: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe capensis

Transparent gel from the pulp of the meaty leaves of Aloe vera has been used topically for thousands of years to treat wounds, skin infections, burns, and numerous other dermatologic conditions. Dried latex from the inner lining of the leaf has traditionally been used as an oral laxative.

The Aloe vera plant has been used for thousands of years to heal a variety of conditions, most notably burns, wounds, skin irritations, and constipation. It is grown in most subtropical and tropical locations, including South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries and it remains one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States today. However, oral use of aloe for constipation is no longer recommended, as it can have severe side effects.

Important Research and opinions on Aloe and diabetes.

Two studies
By the end of the trial blood sugar and triglycerides levels in the treatment group were significantly reduced (to 43% and 45% of the initial values correspondingly). Cholesterol levels remained unchanged. It is important to note that no adverse reactions (weight gain, appetite changes) were reported.  
Another study at the same University discovered that Aloe Vera possesses the power to reduce blood sugar levels in patients unresponsive to glibenclamide – a medication used to stimulate pancreas function. In fact, it was reported that Aloe given alone showed the same results as the combination of the above mentioned medicine and the herb.
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Arabian Peninsula study
In preliminary clinical and experimental observations, the dried sap of the al0e plant is a traditional remedy used for diabetes in the Arabian Peninsula. In fact it is one of the many traditional remedies used in diabetes in the Arabian Peninsula. 5 patients wit non-insulin-dependent diabetes and in Swiss albino mice were studied. With one half teaspoon of the aloes ingested daily for 4-14 weeks, the fasting serum glucose level fell in every patient from 273 to 151 with no weight gain or loss. In normal mice, the doses of 10 mg twice daily of glibenclamide and 500 mg twice daily of aloes induce hypoglycaemia (an abnormally low level of sugar) after 5 days. 71 from 91, versus 130 in the control animals only glibenclamide was effective after 3 days. Glibenclamide and aloes noticeably reduced the fasting plasma glucose in the diabetic mice after 3 days. Only the aloes was useful after that and by day number 7, the plasma glucose was 394 versus 64, in the controls and 726 in the glibenclamide treated group. The conclusion to this study was aloes contains a hypoglycaemic agent, which lowers the blood glucose, however the specific cause is unknown.

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Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice on Diabetes
Recently aloe vera juice was given to diabetic patients to see if it could have any effect in reducing levels of fasting blood glucose. The study showed a lower blood glucose level within two weeks and reduced triglycerides (fat) within four weeks. Aloe vera juice had no effect on cholesterol levels and had no toxic effects on kidney or liver function as assessed by blood chemistry. According to the authors of the study (see below), the results were significant enough to recommend the use of aloe vera to assist with blood sugar regulation.
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Overview of four studies on aloe and diabetes
Prof. Gannam and his Arabian group verified that Aloe vera stimulates insulin secretion and lower blood sugar down to the normal state. Prof. Gannam found this in human experiments as well as in animal ones.

The acute and chronic effects of the exudate of Aloe barbadensis leaves and its bitter principle were studied on plasma glucose levels of alloxan-diabetic mice. Aloes was administered orally, 500 mg/kg, and the bitter principle was administered intraperitoneally, 5 mg/kg. The hypoglycemic effect of a single oral dose of Aloes on serum glucose level was insignificant whereas that of the bitter principle was very highly significant and extended over a period of 24 h with maximum hypoglycemia observed at +8 h. In chronic studies, Aloes was administered twice daily and the bitter principle was administered once a day for 4 days. The maximum reduction in plasma glucose level was observed at the 5th day in both cases. The hypoglycemic effect of Aloes and its bitter principle may be mediated through stimulating synthesis and/or release of insulin from the beta-cells of Langerhans.
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Antidiabetic Activity Of Aloes: Preliminary Clinical & Experimental Observations
Ghannam N; Kingston M; Al-Meshaal IA; Tariq M; Parman NS; Woodhouse N
Horm Res 24(4):288-94 1986
The dried sap of the Aloe plant (aloes) is one of several traditional remedies used for diabetes in the Arabian peninsula. Its ability to lower the blood glucose was studied in 5 patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes and in Swiss albino mice made diabetic using alloxan. During the ingestion of aloes, half a teaspoonful daily for 4-14 weeks, the fasting serum glucose level fell in every patient from a mean of 273 +/- 25 (SE) to 151 +/- 23 mg/dl (p less than 0.05) with no change in body weight. In normal mice, both glibenclamide (10 mg/kg twice daily) and aloes (500 mg/kg twice daily) induced hypoglycaemia after 5 days, 71 +/- 6.2 and 91 +/- 7.6 mg/dl, respectively, versus 130 +/- 7 mg/dl in control animals (p less than 0.01); only glibenclamide was effective after 3 days. In the diabetic mice, fasting plasma glucose was significantly reduced by glibenclamide and aloes after 3 days. Thereafter only aloes was effective and by day 7 the plasma glucose was 394 +/- 22.0 versus 646 +/- 35.9 mg/dl, in the controls and 726 +/- 30.9 mg/dl in the glibenclamide treated group (p less than 0.01). We conclude that aloes contains a hypoglycaemic agent which lowers the blood glucose by as yet unknown mechanisms.
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Studies On The Activity Of Individual Plants Of An Antidiabetic Plant Mixture
Al-Awadi FM; Gumaa KA
Acta Diabetol Lat Jan-Mar 1987, 24(1) p37-41
A blood glucose lowering extract of a mixture of five plants in use by Kuwaiti diabetics was studied for the identification of its active component(s). Only the extracts of myrrh and Aloe gums effectively increased glucose tolerance in both normal and diabetic rats. The remaining components, gum olibanum, Nigella sativa seeds and gum assafoetida were without effect.

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Normalized Blood Glucose Level
Fujita Health Institute, Japan, 1992
A study was conducted of the use of Aloe vera as a possible agent in the reduction of blood glucose in obese middle-aged diabetics. Blood samples were taken from the subjects, both NIDDM (non-insulin-dependent-diabetes-mellitus) and IDDM (insulin-dependent-diabetes-mellitus), and injected into laboratory mice whose blood glucose skyrocketed shortly thereafter. After treatment with Aloe vera injections, the blood glucose level of all test groups of rats had completely normalized within eight to twelve hours.
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Aloe Vera - Anti-Edemic & Analgesic Activity In Diabetes
Davis R
A 1988 study by the Davis, Leitner group established a criteria to test Aloe vera as an anti-edemic, analgesic and would healing agent against opportunistic infections in the presence of diabetes, and to prove that Aloe vera works effectively even in “an abnormal physiological state.”
In this study, mice were divided into five groups. One control group of non-diabetic mice, and one control and three test groups of mice subjected to a diabetes induction agent (streptozoticin in this case), and given time for the diabetes to set in place. After 48 hours lapsed time, wounds were induced on all groups. Afterward, the control group was administered no Aloe vera while the two test groups were administered decolorized Aloe vera in varying and incrementally higher dosages – 1 milligram per kilogram, 10 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg. Then the five groups were tested at intervals of four and seven days to determine what effect, if any, the introduction of Aloe vera had on pain, edema, and the treatment of wounds.
Not only did increased doses of Aloe vera help accelerate healing and aid in the rapid healing of the wounds. The percentage of wound reduction increased in direct proportion to the amount of Aloe vera administered during treatment. On day four, no significant difference in healing was noticed in the non-diabetic group and the control group of mice (about 18% versus 20%, allowing for a margin of error factor of 3). But by day 7, the wound healing in the normal group had incerased to 30 versus only 28% in the untreated diabetic mice.
Test groups given the dosages of Aloe vera showed increased wound healing abilities on both day 4 and day 7. By day 4, the Aloe test groups had shown wound healing ranging from 32% (for the 1 mg/kg group) to 43% for the 100 mg/kg group. On day seven the average level of healing had increased to 43% for the 1mg/kg group all the way to 56.6% for the 100 mg/kg group. That marked a jump of nearly 30 percentage points for the test group of diabetic mice treated with large doses of Aloe vera.
When the mice were tested for analgesic effects and blood edema tests, the Aloe vera test groups showed equally dramatic postive results in exhibiting lessened inflammation and improved pain response.
1989, In a follow-up study by Dr. Robert Davis and Nicholas P. March, Aloe vera was measured again for its anti-inflammatory activity in diabetes. This time, it was tested in combinatiaon with gibberellin. Gibberellin is a naturally occurring glycoside and growth hormone found in plants, including the complex chemistry of the Aloe plant.
Again the diabetes was adjuvant induced with the diabetic agent, streptozoticin, on adult male mice in control and test groups. In fact when tested individually and in context with the Aloe over the properly apportioned number of days, the gibberellin did show almost identical anti-inflammatory results. So the evidence, in this test, seemed to point to the fact that the glycoside, gibberellin, might indeed hold the key to the healing plant’s anti-inflammatory powers.
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