For years, millions worldwide have consumed the extract of the aloe vera plant in juices and teas for its reputed health benefits. A new, still-unpublished study suggests they may be on the right track.
A long-term San Antonio study found that aloe-fed rats lived on average about 10 percent longer than rats fed a regular diet.
The study divided 240 rats into four groups. Each group received normal rat chow.
Three groups also were fed aloe in different forms, including a 1-percent dried gel, a 1-percent charcoal-filtered dried aloe, and water containing 0.02 percent aloe.
The three groups fed aloe lived on average 830 days - 10 percent longer than the 817-day average lifespan of the rats that ate only a normal diet.
In addition, autopsies of aloe-fed rats showed they had less chronic kidney disease, less heart disease, fewer incidents of blood clots in the atrium of the heart, causing acute heart failure, and some evidence of fewer tumors, the researchers said.
The study, which has being submitted for publication, was funded by Aloecorp of Harlingen, Texas.