You may have heard that aloe vera juice has healing properties, and that it's good for acid reflux. Unfortunately, there's no scientific evidence to support this notion, nor has the safety of aloe vera juice use in infants been established. You should talk to your child's pediatrician before using aloe vera juice to treat any condition.
Infants have very immature gastrointestinal systems, which is why they spit up. Spitting up is a normal infant behavior, but in some infants, the spitting up is more frequent, involves a greater volume of liquid, and can be painful, explains Dr. Scott Cohen in his book "Eat, Sleep, Poop." Not all infants who spit up have reflux, however, and you should ask your child's pediatrician to help you determine whether your infant has actual reflux.
Causes Of Reflux
The cause of reflux in anyone -- infant or adult -- is a weak or ineffective cardiac sphincter. The cardiac sphincter is a ring of muscle that separates the stomach and its acidic contents from the esophagus. In the case of infants, the cardiac sphincter lacks sufficient muscle tone to hold the stomach contents in place. In some cases, this can lead to spitting up large quantities of milk or formula after each meal. The sphincter gains muscle tone with time, and infant reflux usually resolves on its own.
Aloe Vera Juice
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the juice -- also called latex -- of the aloe plant comes from aloe leaves, and has laxative properties. Aloe is also a traditional remedy for burns caused by exposure to hot surfaces or overexposure to the sun, and some research suggests it might help with certain skin conditions. There's no scientific evidence, however, to suggest that it has any utility in helping to treat reflux.
There isn't sufficient research on aloe vera juice to justify its use in babies. The University of Maryland Medical Center cautions that pregnant and nursing women should avoid it, and you shouldn't give it to children. If you have any question as to whether aloe vera juice might be appropriate for your infant, talk to your pediatrician. Your doctor can also help you identify more effective reflux treatments, including infant formulas that thicken upon reaching the stomach, which helps to prevent reflux.
- "Eat, Sleep, Poop"; Scott Cohen, M.D.; 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Aloe Vera Juice