Aloe Vera For Heartburn And Acid Reflux

  • Urooj FatimaBachelor's degree, Pharm D, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
  • Tanvi Shukla Master of Pharmacy - MPHARM, Nirma University
  • Dr. Maria WeissenbruchDoctor (Ph.D.), Cell and Developmental Biology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

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When your heart is burning, you may feel acid reflux and stomach churning. It’s a reminder to use a remedial charm in the form of aloe vera’s soothing balm.

Heartburn and acid reflux

Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest that feels like scorching coal and is a consequence of acid reflux, a medical discomfort where stomach acid increases and produces discomfort.1 Acid reflux, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition in which stomach acid refluxes back up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn, vomiting, and stomach pain.2

An overview of the prevalence and impact of these conditions

Almost 20% of adults are facing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) but globally, the prevalence of GERD varies:3 

  • The rates in East Asia ranged from 2.5 to 7.8%
  • In the Middle East, they ranged from 8.7 to 33.1%
  • In Europe, they ranged from 8.8 to 25.9%
  • 23.0% of the population in South America experience GERD, and
  • 18.1-27.8% in North America
  • In Australia, the percentage is 11.6%

It was also established that the prevalence of GERD slightly differs between genders, with lower rates observed in individuals assigned female at birth compared to those assigned male at birth.4

Gastrointestinal (GIT) issues such as acid reflux and heartburn are common companions, affecting nearly everyone at some point. These problems can develop into chronic illnesses that have a significant negative influence on quality of life. If not treated timely, it may lead to esophagitis, Barrett's oesophagus, and even oesophagal cancer. GERD also interferes with physical activities, impairs social functioning, disrupts sleep, and lowers the productivity at work of affected individuals.5

Aloe vera as a potential remedy

Well-known for its medical abilities, aloe vera is cherished as a botanical gift with magical roots. It is not only good for the skin but also the gut’s unrest, having the ability to reduce inflammation and heal wounds.

Acting as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, as proved by preclinical research, it can be used as a potential remedy for GERD. The scorching feeling caused by GERD is calmed by magical, soothing aloe. It has been studied and is considered a healing balm.6

Understanding heartburn and acid reflux

Pathophysiology of heartburn and acid reflux

GERD is characterized by pain and irritation. Heartburn is a consequence of acid reflux, which is normally stopped by the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). If the LES weakens or relaxes unusually, this can occur. LES transient relaxations, LES pressure reduction, hiatal hernias, poor oesophagal clearance, and late gastric emptying are common causes.1

Causes and contributing factors

The following factors are contributing to GERD.7

  • Diet includes spicy food, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, and fizzy drinks
  • Lifestyle choices include smoking, alcohol consumption, and being overweight
  • Medical conditions, like the LES being weakened and acid reflux being worsened by illnesses like hiatal hernia, stomach ulcers, and gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying), may also make people more susceptible to suffering symptoms of acid reflux
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Mouth bacterial infections
  • Medications such as calcium channel blockers, NSAIDs, and some antibiotics relax the LES or irritate the oesophagus, causing acid reflux

Symptoms and complications associated with heartburn and acid reflux

Common Symptoms include

  • Burning sensation in the chest cavity
  • Regurgitation of sour liquid in the mouth, hiccups and bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Persistent Cough, and
  • Sore throat and hoarseness of voice7

Complications associated with GERD are

  • Esophagitis
  • Barrette’s oesophagus
  • Narrowing and ulceration of the oesophagus
  • GIT bleeding
  • Breathing difficulties, or
  • Dental issues because of acid reflux1

Introduction to aloe vera

Under the sand and the blazing sun, aloe blooms as an everlasting plant. It’s a magical reward from nature’s hand, used as a healer across the land. A plant that has been cherished for its amazing health, beauty, and therapeutic benefits all over the world.
Succulent aloe is a plant species naturally found and well-known for its therapeutic and agricultural properties. It is a member of the Aloe genus, comprising more than 500 species. The thick leaves of aloe vera contain a gel-like material containing beneficial chemicals.8

Historical usage in traditional medicine

Aloe vera is a highly prized medicinal plant that has been used in various cultures and has had a strong impact on human history.

In Egypt, it was identified as "the plant of immortality”.8 Aloe is famous for its medicinal uses in Greece, India, Egypt, Japan, China, and Mexico. Traditionally, it was used to treat skin conditions such as burns and wounds, and it also has lipid-lowering, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. Valued by ancient cultures like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, it was topically used to treat a range of skin conditions and also taken orally to ease upset GIT.9

The composition of aloe vera relevant to gastrointestinal health

Minerals and vitamins, including calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, E, B12, choline, and folic acid, are important for overall health and may help with gastrointestinal function.11 

The enzymes present in aloe vera, such as amylase, lipase, and proteases, help break down and digest proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, promote digestion, and might improve the absorption of nutrients.11

The polysaccharides in aloe vera gel have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory qualities, such as polymannans, acemannan, and glucomannan. They can diminish gastrointestinal inflammation and boost digestive health.10

Anthraquinones present in aloe vera include its derivatives that have laxative properties, like aloin and emodin. They also can induce bowel motions and relieve constipation and also act as antibacterials, antivirals, and analgesics. Aloe vera furthermore contains hormones with anti-inflammatory properties.11

Mechanisms of action

Soothing effects on the digestive tract

Aloe vera lowers the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 from arachidonic acid, inhibits the cyclooxygenase pathway, and provides an anti-inflammatory effect. It also provides soothing and cooling effects to irritated tissues in the oesophagus and stomach.11

Acid-buffering capabilities

Aloe vera has acid-buffering qualities that neutralize gastric acid for treating stomach ulcers and also protect the oesophagal lining by reducing aggressive factors and boosting protective ones. It can heal wounds! The lectin content in aloe is shown to prevent acid secretion.12

Promotion of digestive health

Mucin, a protective covering that guards the digestive tract, is stimulated by aloe vera. This increased production of mucin assists in smoother digestion and lowers irritation or inflammation by lubricating and shielding the delicate tissues of the digestive system. Latex contains anthraquinones, which are strong laxatives. It promotes mucus secretion, raises intestinal peristalsis, and increases intestinal water content.11

Evidence of aloe vera's efficacy

Aloe vera exhibited promising outcomes in a comparative trial comparing the treatment of GERD with more traditional treatments such as proton pump inhibitors. It has minimal side effects, which made it stand out, even though it was slightly less efficacious for other problems, like heartburn.

Patient-reported results supported this, with observations and surveys highlighting the valuable effects of aloe vera on symptom decline. High customer contentment with aloe vera products also proved the plant's ability to efficiently lessen GERD symptoms. These outcomes highlight aloe vera's potential as a well-liked and safe substitute for people looking for all-natural GERD treatments.13

Practical applications and recommendations

Forms of aloe vera supplementation

  • Aloe’s natural remedy can be easily merged into your daily routine in the form of aloe vera juice, which is easily accessible in liquid form as a syrup13
  • Aloe vera gels or extracts are regularly used for topical purposes, but they are also taken orally for medicinal benefits

Dosage guidelines and administration

It's vital to follow the right dose recommendations and directions when using aloe vera supplementation for the treatment of GERD.

In a randomized experiment for four weeks, participants assessing different therapies got 10 ml of aloe vera syrup daily. With no inconvenient side effects, this standardized dosage of 5.0 mg polysaccharide per mL produced optimistic results in GERD treatment. For the best symptom relief, the same dose recommendations should be followed.

To have the anticipated effects, the time and frequency of application must also be consistent. While more studies may reveal different doses or ways to administer the medication, following these recommendations assures the safe and effective use of aloe vera as a natural treatment for GERD.13

Considerations for safety and potential side effects

It's vital to be mindful of a few things while considering the safety and probable adverse effects of aloe vera supplements for curing GERD.

First and foremost, people should be conscious of any possible allergies or sensitivities to aloe vera components, mainly if they have formerly experienced adverse reactions to these compounds. Additionally, care should be taken to sidestep any potential interactions between aloe vera and prescription drugs, such as PPIs for GERD or pre-existing medical disorders.

It's best to communicate with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement or management plan to assure compatibility and lessen the chances of side effects.13

Limitations and challenges

Even though the study assured aloe vera syrup is a secure and efficient treatment for typical GERD symptoms, several limitations and difficulties need to be taken into consideration.

First of all, varying research findings are a significant problem, since diverse studies may provide opposing conclusions because of differences in participant characteristics and study design. Also, the lack of standardized formulations among aloe vera products makes it difficult to understand study results, which leads to difficulty in formulating unambiguous recommendations for their use.

Another thing is that each person responds to aloe vera supplementation differently because of medical issues and genetics. It is important to address these limitations to understand aloe vera's involvement in the therapy of heartburn and gastric reflux.13

Future directions and research opportunities

There is a need for further controlled trials and long-term studies

Aloe vera syrup reduced GERD symptoms; its efficiency was comparable to that of traditional treatments. So, further controlled trials and research are necessary to evaluate aloe vera's worth in treating heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.13

Aloe vera's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities may help control the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. To increase beneficial results, future studies may examine how aloe works with other natural cures and conventional remedies for heartburn and acid reflux.

Aloe vera is safe, effective, and well-tolerated. The standardized aloe vera preparations, especially for medical usage, ensure reliable therapeutic effects.


How well can aloe vera relieve the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn?

Aloe contains compounds with anti-inflammatory qualities that relieve inflamed stomach and oesophagal tissues. It also holds acid-buffering properties, which help in maintaining stomach acid that leads to reflux and heartburn.11

Is using aloe vera to treat heartburn connected with any possible negative effects or contraindications?

Although aloe vera is usually safe, some people may experience sensitivities or allergies to it. It's fundamental to do a patch test before consuming aloe vera or using it topically. Also, before consuming heartburn treatment, anyone with a specific medical illness or taking other medications should consult a healthcare provider.

Is aloe vera usually used in conjunction with other therapies or pharmaceuticals, or can it be used as a stand-alone treatment for chronic acid reflux?

For mild to severe acid reflux, aloe vera can be taken as a stand-alone remedy. However, it is frequently used in conjunction with other treatments or prescription drugs for severe or persistent acid reflux. The best management of acid reflux symptoms requires adherence to individualized treatment programs and medical advice.


Aloe vera's anti-inflammatory and acid-buffering properties highlight its potential as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. However, it is crucial for patients to consult healthcare specialists before initiating treatment.

Further research is necessary to fully understand the mechanisms, optimal dosage, and long-term effects of aloe vera on gastrointestinal health. Collaboration among researchers, medical professionals, and patients is essential to enhance natural remedies for digestive issues and ultimately enhance overall health and quality of life.


  1. Clarrett DM, Hachem C. Gastroesophageal reflux disease(Gerd). Mo Med [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Feb 4];115(3):214–8. Available from:
  2. Antunes C, Aleem A, Curtis SA. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 3]. Available from:
  3. Baklola M, Terra M, Badr A, Fahmy FM, Elshabrawy E, Hawas Y, et al. Prevalence of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and its associated risk factors among medical students: a nation-based cross-sectional study. BMC Gastroenterology [Internet]. 2023 Aug 7 [cited 2024 Feb 3];23(1):269. Available from:
  4. Antunes C, Aleem A, Curtis SA. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 3]. Available from:
  5. Lee SW, Lien HC, Lee TY, Yang SS, Yeh HJ, Chang CS. Heartburn and regurgitation have different impacts on life quality of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. World J Gastroenterol [Internet]. 2014 Sep 14 [cited 2024 Feb 3];20(34):12277–82. Available from:
  6. Panahi Y, Khedmat H, Valizadegan G, Mohtashami R, Sahebkar A. Efficacy and safety of Aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine [Internet]. 2015 Dec 1 [cited 2024 Feb 3];35(6):632–6. Available from:
  7. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Feb 4]. Heartburn and acid reflux. Available from:
  8. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2024 Feb 4];53(4):163–6. Available from:
  9. Sánchez M, González-Burgos E, Iglesias I, Gómez-Serranillos MP. Pharmacological update properties of aloe vera and its major active constituents. Molecules [Internet]. 2020 Mar 13 [cited 2024 Feb 4];25(6):1324. Available from:
  10. Liu C, Cui Y, Pi F, Cheng Y, Guo Y, Qian H. Extraction, purification, structural characteristics, biological activities and pharmacological applications of acemannan, a polysaccharide from aloe vera: a review. Molecules [Internet]. 2019 Apr 19 [cited 2024 Feb 7];24(8):1554. Available from:
  11. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2024 Feb 7];53(4):163–6. Available from:
  12. Keshavarzi Z, Rezapour TM, Vatanchian M, Zare Hesari M, Nabizade Haghighi H, Izanlu M, et al. The effects of aqueous extract of Aloe vera leaves on the gastric acid secretion and brain and intestinal water content following acetic acid- induced gastric ulcer in male rats. Avicenna J Phytomed [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2024 Feb 7];4(2):137–43. Available from:
  13. An effective, natural treatment for gerd: aloe vera syrup [Internet]. [cited 2024 Feb 8]. Available from:

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Urooj Fatima

Bachelor's degree, Pharm D, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

Urooj Fatima, a pharmacist with vivid writing skills. She navigates the realms of science and storytelling with finesse. As a former content writer for the All Pakistan Student Union, Urooj's pen raves with precision and passion. From decoding pharmaceutical mysteries to weaving captivating narratives, she leaves no topic unexplored. You can rely on her to enlighten, amuse, and fascinate readers with each piece she writes.

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