The "Wonder Drug" Challenge...
Is it Aspirin
or Aloe Vera?
By Bob Hayward
An article from The Journal of the International Aloe Science
"If Aloe vera were to be discovered today, and its remarkable healing properties
investigated, it would be hailed as the wonder drug of this century."
Ivan E. Danhof: Ph.D., M.D.
In fact, many reputable researchers and scientists now believe that properly processed
Aloe vera is, in many respects, the equal of aspirin in terms of its benefits to mankind.
It may be said, with certainty, that aspirin has benefited millions with its ability to reduce
fever, ease minor aches and pains, its anticoagulant properties and its ability to fight
New research suggests that aspirin may also be useful in the prevention of heart attacks,
high blood pressure during pregnancy, cataracts and may lower the risk of colorectal
Aspirin has long been, and continues to be, an important medical tool. As a result, its use
is widespread, particularly in the United States, where some 80 billion tablets are
consumed each year.
Originally derived from a natural source, a substance found in the bark of the Willow
tree, aspirin is now produced synthetically throughout the world, and is no longer
regarded as a natural product.
Aloe vera, on the other hand, has always been a natural product - in whatever form it has
been used. Derived directly from the plant's leaves, Aloe is so effective in its natural
state that there has been found no compelling reason to spend the time and the enormous
sums of money necessary to develop a synthetic version. Indeed, Aloe
presents such a chemically complex picture that it may never be successfully synthesized.
Both Aloe vera and aspirin (in its original form) come from a long tradition of
organically-derived medicines. A partial list of important medications derived from
natural sources would include:
Digitalis - Used to control heart problems, comes from the common Foxglove.
Penicillin - Perhaps this century's most potent infection-fighter, was discovered in
Quinine - Comes from another tree bark.
Ephedrine - was found in a desert plant.
The list is extensive. It is hardly surprising, then, that another "wonder drug" such as Aloe
might spring from this tradition of using natural botanicals to treat mankind's illnesses, as well as being in
common use as a beauty aid.
Since 1979, Aloe has been the subject of increasingly vigorous, scientifically-based, and
rewarding investigation. It has been shown that this ancient plant, primarily the Aloe
vera barbadensis Miller variety, offers a wide range of curative and cosmetic properties
that were undreamed of by the early Egyptian healers who first wrote of Aloe's powers in
the 4th century, BC, in the Ebers Papyrus.
Because of the new research on Aloe, it is rapidly taking its rightful place in the
pharmacopoeia of modern medical practice, with its use increasing as new discoveries
Even though much Aloe research is of comparatively recent origin, and some of it has
not yet been subjected to the rigors of FDA acceptable trials, researchers, in animal and
laboratory studies, have clearly shown, the following:
Topicaliy-applied Aloe vera gel can speed wound healing times by as much as 35% by
dilating capillaries, which increases blood supply to the wound site, thus accelerating
Topically-applied Aloe vera gel effectively ameliorates pain in burn and wound sites.
The precise mechanism of Aloe's ability to reduce pain is not completely understood yet.
interestingly, however, we still have an incomplete understanding of exactly how aspirin
Galactomannans (long-chain Aloe-derived sugars) have been shown to possess a wide
variety of immune-system stimulative and protective effects within the human body.
In a study published by Dr. Faith Strickland, it was shown that topically-applied
Aloe vera gel will not only speed the healing of sunburn, but will help restore the immune
system to normal functioning when it has been compromised by sunburn.
In a paper published in the Journal of
Phytotherapy Research, it was reported that Aloe helps reduce the glucose levels of diabetic patients to the fasting level. In still another
trial, conducted at Fujita Health University, in Japan, it was reported that patients' fasting
levels went down, and that Aloe produced similar effects on hypoglycemia patients.
The report stated: "These effects are attributed to the stimulation of insulin secretions
from residual pancreatic beta-cells."
According to an article recently published in Runners' World magazine, considered the
"Bible" of runners, a number of athletic coaches and trainers have been using Aloe gel,
mixed with aspirin, to treat the pain and peripheral bleeding associated with muscle
strains and sprains. It appears that the exceptional penetrant properties of Aloe are able
to "transport aspirin right through the skin, taking the aspirin directly to the
bloodstream." While this use of Aloe has not been substantiated in formal clinical
studies, it seems to have worked for those who have tried it.
There are a substantial number of other Aloe investigations currently underway. One, a
long-term (4 years) and well-financed study headed by Dr. Byung Pal Yu, Professor of
Physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Dr. Jerome T.
Herlihy, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Physiology, also at
UT, has been launched to determine whether dietary Aloe (in drink form) can slow
down the aging process in humans!
Other studies, recently completed, or in progress, suggest that Aloe has:
Antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and appears to be effective against a
broad spectrum of germs, inhibiting the reproduction of herpes and measles in vitro.
Can control itching by inhibiting histamine reactions produced by insect bites and
stings, as well as the body's reaction to poison Oak and poison Ivy.
Is beneficial in the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders, including
diverticulitis, gastric, peptic and duodenal ulcers and colorectal colitis.
In addition to the above, studies are being conducted that suggest, at least in the early
stages, that Aloe vera may provided the world with still other treatments and cures for
other ills that plague mankind. This simple "medicine plant" may yet be shown to hold
answers to many of the perplexing medical problems we face.
In the great "Wonder Drug" Challenge, which is the new champion... Aspirin or Aloe
vera? You be the judge.
Our money's on Aloe vera.