"Choose aloe products carefully," cautions ConsumerLab.com president Tod Cooperman, M.D. after recent tests found only five of 10 aloe pills, gels and drinks selected for review to contain what the company expected based on labels. Most startling was the discovery that two products—an aloe pill and an aloe gel—contained virtually no aloe.
Aloe has a range of potential uses. Applied to the skin, for example, it may accelerate the healing of herpes sores. Taken orally, it may help to control blood sugar levels. These applications, however, are based on small studies requiring confirmation by larger ones.
Caution must be taken with products made from whole aloe leaf which contain aloe "latex," a powerful laxative which animal studies suggest may be carcinogenic. ConsumerLab.com testing found that products listing only "aloe vera gel" (made from the inner portion of the aloe leaf) or purified aloe vera juice, contained little or no latex. Significant amounts of aloe latex were found in two supplements made from whole aloe leaf. The presence of latex is not necessarily stated on labels.
ConsumerLab.com's Aloe Gels, Juices, and Supplements Review is available online. The report covers the following products, including 10 products selected by ConsumerLab.com, two others certified in its Quality Certification Program, and one similar to another product which passed testing: Alo Exposed Original + Honey, Aloe Farms Aloe Vera Gel, Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera, Carlson Aloe Vera Gel, Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel, GNC Natural Brand Aloe Vera Gel, Herbalife Herbal Aloe Concentrate, Lakewood Pure Aloe Gel, Lily Of The Desert Aloe Vera Juice, Nature's Way Aloe, Puritan's Pride Aloe Vera Gel, Solgar Aloe Vera, and Vitamin World Aloe Vera Gel.
In addition to test results and comparisons, the report reviews the oral and topical uses of aloe, dosing, and potential side effects. Details of how products were evaluated are freely available online from ConsumerLab.com.