There's been much recent discussion and mention of using aloe vera, herbals, and other natural products. My daughter, Jessica, has her PharmD and is a licensed, practicing pharmacist. The other night I asked her about the use of aloe vera in treating cancer and we had the most interesting discussion and I learned A LOT! (Love to see my tuition dollars at work!) I asked her to write down what we discussed and email it to me so I could pass it along to you. Whether you take any natural products or not, you may find this very interesting and educational.
I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from doing what you're doing, but I am trying to pass along relevent info that may be useful in making decisions that you can live with and help you live. It took her two emails to get everything in that she wanted to say, so I put them together and here it is:
"Aloe vera and other herbals or natural products are not FDA approved. This means that the company that manufactures the product does not have to do clinical trials or provide any evidence to support the claims that are made on the label. The manufacturer also does not have to prove that the list of ingredients on the label is actually what is in the product. Therefore, there is really no way to know what is in the product you are buying or how much of an ingredient is really in the product. In other words, 100% aloe vera juice really does not have to be 100% aloe vera juice and there is no way to know if it is or is not. A product can also claim to cure anything, and there will be tons of websites online that will claim that it can cure anything, but in reality there is usually very little data, if any at all, to support the claims. With prescription and over-the-counter medications, it is up to the company to submit clinical trials to prove to the FDA that the product is safe and effective, is what it says it is, does what the company claims it does, etc. With natural products, the burden is on the FDA to prove that the product is harmful and pull it off the market. Also, don't assume because it is "natural" it is safe and has no side effects or drug interactions. Cyanide is natural. Everything has properties that will act in the body in some way and possibly cause side effects or possibly even be harmful. There are hundreds of drugs with different properties and actions in the body, so it is entirely possible that a natural product could interact with something. However, some natural products like fish oil and niacin have been researched and are widely accepted, used and prescribed regularly by physicians, and are included in medical treatment guidelines. The safest thing to do is ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any herbal or natural product.
Next, I have done some research into legitimate data regarding benefits of aloe vera in cancer and risks, side effects, drug interactions, etc. I found that in 2002, the FDA pulled OTC laxatives that contained aloe due to lack of safety data. I also found that high doses of aloe vera can be harmful and case reports of hepatitis have been reported. Case reports are rare instances of something happening, so they are not enough to say high oral doses of aloe cause hepatitis, but they are hints that there may be a problem and that studies need to be done to further investigate. The NCCAM, which is the go-to website for legitimate up-to-date herbal information, stated that a two-year study of orally consumed aloe in rats actually showed carcinogenic activity. This cannot be applied to humans, but it shows there could be a problem with aloe ingestion. MayoClinic stated that aloe may reduce the risk of lung cancer, but ingestion for over a year could increase the risk of colorectal cancer. There is little data, which is conflicting, but there are risks of ingesting large oral doses of aloe vera. Further studies need to be done and I did not find any data to support aloe for melanoma treatment, so the risks aren't worth the possible benefits. Now there are tons of unreputable websites that speak highly of aloe's healing power, those may be what they are seeing. Here are the websites I found;
Feel free to pass the websites along and you may want to suggest Melanoma Prayer Center users look up natural product information at one of these places and ask their doctors or pharmacists before using anything.
Jessica sent this as a brief follow-up email; “I mentioned about aloe being a laxative. Because of this it can cause electrolyte imbalances. I meant to mention this but if you look at the websites you will see it.”