Super-Strength Aloe Vera and Health Canada: What You Need to Know
By Heather Florio, CEO Desert Harvest
Desert Harvest is seeking approval from Health Canada for use of its Super-Strength Aloe Vera Capsules in the treatment of Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS). If approved, this could be a huge step forward in the lives of the many Canadian men and women who suffer from the painful chronic bladder condition.
What is Aloe Vera’s Role in Treating IC?
Desert Harvest’s Super-Strength Aloe Vera Capsules are currently sold as a nutritional supplement designed specifically to help people suffering from IC. Since 1995, Desert Harvest has conducted clinical trials that have demonstrated that their product helps relieve IC symptoms including pelvic pain, urethral burning, and urgency and frequency of urination in a large majority of patients. And while Desert Harvest’s capsules have been recommended by physicians who work with IC patients for many years, because of their status as a nutritional supplement, they cannot be prescribed as a drug.
What Would Health Canada Approval Mean?
Pentosan Polysulfate (Elmiron) is currently the only medication approved by Health Canada to treat IC symptoms. In recent years, the use of this drug has been connected to retinal maculopathy in some patients. Research has also shown it is only effective for some patients.
If Desert Harvest’s aloe vera product is approved by Health Canada, doctors would have an alternative they could prescribe to IC patients. It could also be included in the official treatment guidelines for IC, which currently don’t reflect research involving any herbal or supplement treatments. As a result, more doctors would be aware of the benefits of Desert Harvest Aloe Vera in treating IC symptoms, and more people suffering from IC could start using it right away as part of their treatment plan. While there are no uniformly effective treatments—or a cure—for IC/BPS, Desert Harvest Aloe Vera could help reduce the pain and suffering of many more patients much earlier in their IC/BPS journeys.
Desert Harvest’s product would also be the first prescription IC/BPS therapy not developed by a pharmaceutical company. Their proprietary super-concentrated extract is antibacterial, antifungal, antibiotic, analgesic, anesthetic, antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. Desert Harvest’s patented process filters out anthraquinones—an irritant and carcinogen naturally found in Aloe Vera that can cause diarrhea— meaning there are no harsh side effects even during long-term use at its super-concentrated strength.
What Will Happen Next?
In March 2019, the AICI, the Italian non-profit IC/BPS research organization, approved a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 1 clinical trial to further validate Desert Harvest’s product value for IC treatment. Conducted by Dr. Mauro Cervigni at the Catholic University in Rome, the six-month clinical trial included 30 patients given a regimen of Desert Harvest Super-Strength Aloe Vera Capsules or a placebo. It measured changes in IC symptoms, suprapubic pain, urinary frequency, sexual functioning and satisfaction, and perceived quality of life, as well as the impact of increasing and decreasing dosage.
The study was completed in June 2021 and the results from these studies will be used as part of Health Canada’s review process.