Date of Award
Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review
Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant
Physician Assistant Studies
John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C
Objective: The objective of this EBM review is to determine whether or not “Is oral aloe vera effective in reducing symptoms in adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms?”
Study Design: Systematic review of three English, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies, including one cross-over study, were selected based on their relevance to the clinical question. The studies were published in 2006, 2011, and 2015.
Data Sources: Three RCTs analyzing the effects on IBS symptoms of drinking aloe vera daily compared to a placebo drink were found using PubMed.
Outcomes Measured: Various patient-reported IBS symptom questionnaires were utilized to compare the effectiveness of drinking oral aloe vera versus the placebo on reducing symptoms in adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). K. Davis used the Global Summated Symptom Score.2 Storsrud S. used the IBS Symptom Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS).4 H.A. Hutchings used the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Quality of Life Questionnaire (IBSQOL).3
Results: In the Davis et al study, there was no significant improvement of IBS symptoms between the aloe vera and placebo group (p= 0.12). The NNT was -11.2 In the Storsrud et al pilot study, there was no significant improvement in IBS symptoms in using the Aloe barbadensis Mill. extract in comparison to the placebo (p=0.09). The NNT was 5.4 In the Hutchings et al study, there was no significant improvement of IBS symptoms between the aloe vera and placebo group (p>0.05). The mean change from baseline was 69-74 points on the ISBQOL score for period 1.3
Conclusions: Although two of the studies showed trends towards improvement, all three studies were not considered statistically significant in showing improvement in symptoms in IBS symptoms. Therefore, oral aloe vera is not considered effective in reducing symptoms in adults with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, after my further research via WebMD on the safety of drinking aloe vera, I found varying results for whom it was considered safe. I would suggest that future studies first assess its safety before evaluating it effectiveness in reducing IBS symptoms.
Gebhardt, Chelsey J., "Is Oral Aloe Vera Effective in Reducing Symptoms in Adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?" (2017). PCOM Physician Assistant Studies Student Scholarship. 390.