Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Aloe, Bilberry, and Milk Thistle

Aloe, bilberry, and milk thistle have less evidence than other botanical products. Topically, aloe has been used for wound healing. There are two forms used and one form is used as a laxative. The aloe gel is what is used for diabetes, but there is only one small trial in five patients with diabetes. Bilberry fruit is thought to improve vision and varicose veins. Bilberry leaf is used for diabetes but in folk medicine as a tea but research has only been done in rats. In animals, high doses have resulted in toxicity and there is a theoretical concern that it may interact with blood thinners. Milk thistle has been traditionally used to improve liver function in patients who have liver damage. There is only one study where it improved blood glucose in patients with cirrhosis who also had diabetes. Side effects have included loose stools, vomiting, and allergic reactions.

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Pages:
Main | Concerns | Gymnema Sylvestre | Fenugreek | Bitter Melon | Ginseng | Nopal | Aloe, Bilberry, and Milk Thistle | Chromium | Vanadium | CoQ10 | Nicotinamide | Alpha Lipoic Acid | Gamma Linolenic Acid | Ginkgo Biloba | Garlic | Advice | Additional Reading | References

Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, BCPS, FASCP, CDE, BC-ADM
November 24, 2001

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Last Updated: Fri Aug 30 10:33:14 2002
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