Aloe Vera

I am concerned by the recent press reports that state that Aloe Vera is on the WHO list of possible carcinogens to humans.

I have finished all my treatment and am trying to use natural products so was shocked to hear that aloe vera may not be good to use. From my understanding it’s only the Aloe vera whole leaf extract that is a problem.

I use the YES vaginal moisturiser for menopause dryness, not cancer related, and it contains Aloe vera leaf juice which I think is ok but is is so hard to find information about the actual Aloe vera used. Do you think I can assume that the formulations are safe because they are organic.

Any info would be helpful.

Hi Valerie 

Thank you for posting. 

It’s natural to have concerns when you read press reports, but we are unsure what the source of this information is after searching the WHO website for more information.  

Many people ask about vitamin and herb supplements such as Aloe Vera as they want to do as much as possible to be healthy. There is often the belief that vitamins and herbs are safe as they are considered natural but there is much we don’t know about supplements and herbal remedies.  Herbal treatments don’t have to comply with the same regulations or rigorous testing that conventional medicines do and for many products there is a lack of research to support their use.   

It is difficult to answer your specific concern regarding the vaginal moisturiser you use. These products are used by many women to manage side effects of treatment such as vaginal dryness.  Sometimes it can be helpful to consider the benefits and how stopping something may impact your quality of life. Adapting tolife after treatment can be difficult and often the need for information and support continues. Do call us on the helpline  if you would like to talk this through. 

You can search this American website, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, for information about individual herbs and vitamins. Each has sections on existing evidence and what known interaction there is with other medications. You may find that that some herbs have different names in America. You can also search herbal products and supplements on the European website Complementary and Alternative Medicine for cancer

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