People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) suffer from a variety of symptoms. The primary one is heartburn, the burning sensation behind the breastbone that usually comes when you eat fatty too many fatty foods, eat too quickly, or lie down too soon after eating. Indeed, reflux is related to food. And while there are many foods that can contribute to GERD, there are some foods that can help your symptoms.

One of them is aloe, a plant that originated in Africa. Its long green leaves contain, in part, aloe gel. When people incur a (non-serious) wound or bad sunburn, they often rub aloe lotion on the area, which helps heal the damaged skin.

Aloe vera benefits extend to include another type of burn-heartburn-by soothing the lining of the esophagus. Adults with GERD will experiment with how aloe vera can best help them. While it differs from person to person, this typically consists of drinking a small amount of aloe vera juice (less than 1/2 cup) a short while (20 minutes) before a meal. It is important that the juice be purchased at a store (it's available at many supermarkets) because aloe plants also contain a latex, which is powerful and can be dangerous.

However, the trouble with this is that there is no clear-cut scientific evidence to support these claims. There has been some research done on whether aloe vera juice can help other digestive diseases, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome,[1] but nothing that definitely concludes that aloe vera juice can help heartburn and other GERD symptoms.

There are, of course, already a number of proven ways to control GERD symptoms. The first are with lifestyle changes, which include dieting, weight loss, stress reduction, and sleeping habits.[2] The second are with over-the-counter medicines. These range from everyday heartburn to serious GERD, and are called antacids (Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids are common examples), foaming agents (Gaviscon), H2 blockers (Pepcid AC), proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec), and prokinetics. Each works in a different way and even though they don't all require prescriptions, it is best to consult with a doctor before deciding which one to take.

It works the same way with a natural remedy like aloe vera juice. Before trying it, consult your doctor to see if it is a good idea. It can work as an antioxidant that soothes the esophagus, but that doesn't mean it works-or is healthy-for everyone.



Davis K, Philpott S, Kumar D, Mendall M. Int J Clin Pract. "Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of aloe vera for irritable bowel syndrome." 2006 Sep;60(9):1080-6. Epub 2006 Jun 2.