Why don't doctors prescribe Aloe Vera
Well actually some do but much depends on a number of factors.
Where you live
For example in Germany Aloe Vera has been approved for the treatment of constipation while in the United States the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has said there is not enough data for them to do the same.
There are also many fully qualified doctors who may recommend Aloe even if they are not prescribing it. One of the most well known is the UKs General Practitioner Peter Atherton who also wrote the book Understanding Aloe Vera (2005).
What doctors don't know ... and why
More generally however you will find the vast majority of doctors are fairly vague when asked about Aloe. It's not surprising, in the years they spend studying the human bodies and drugs produced by commercial pharmaceutical companies little time is given over to preventative, alternative or complementary medicines.
The pressure of pharmaceutical companies
There are also those who follow the theory that the pharmaceutical companies lobby governments hard to stop natural products making their way into main stream medicinal practice as such actions undermine their profits.
Aloe Vera is a very good example of this issue to large corporates. As a natural vegetable juice they cannot patent it and so guarantee income from it. As such they would prefer to spend their resources researching synthetic drugs with unique compositions.
As Lehane put it in The Power of Plants (1977) "A cure that grows in the backyard is not going to increase anyone's dividends"
How to work with your doctor
If your doctor does not know about Aloe Vera, or does not understand it, he will react in one of two ways:
- "I don't see why not, give it a try."
- "Don't use it."
The latter reply is more common in cautious doctors but it can unfortunately cut off many patients from a natural product which may help them.
If your doctor is against the idea of you using Aloe ask them why not and, in as polite a way as possible, try to ascertain how much they know about the plant and its uses.
Should it become clear your doctor knows very little then you may want to consider changing to another practitioner who is a bit more aware about treatments beyond prescription drugs.
We also recommend you read our page on Medical Research and Aloe Vera.