Applying aloe vera gel to a burn or sunburn can alleviate pain and help the skin heal more quickly. But many people also advocate drinking the aloe vera juice. What are the benefits and risks of drinking aloe juice?
And if an aloe juice product contains some aloe latex, it may relieve constipation. On the other hand, it can also cause cramping and diarrhea.
Unfiltered aloe juice also contains a compound called aloin, which can be highly irritating to the digestive tract. What’s worse, toxicology studies have identified aloin as a potential carcinogen. Many—but not all—aloe vera juice products are filtered to remove aloin. If you do choose to consume aloe juice, make sure it is aloin-free.
Can Aloe Help with Diabetes?
There is some preliminary research to suggest that drinking aloe juice can, in fact, lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. But, again, the long-term safety has not been assessed.
What Are the Risks?
Aloe may have dangerous interactions with other medications, including blood pressure drugs, laxatives, or diabetes medications. You should not consume aloe juice if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or intestinal problems—at least not without running it past your doctor first.
It’s also really important to avoid products containing aloe latex prior to having a colonoscopy, as chronic use can discolor the inside of your colon, which can make it difficult for your doctor to see what’s going on in there. Ironically, some holistic health gurus recommend aloe vera juice or aloe-based laxatives as a way to prepare for a colonoscopy! Personally, if I have to go through the discomfort of a colonoscopy, I want my colonoscopist to have a good view.
The Bottom Line on Aloe Juice
Aloe vera is safe and effective when used as a topical skin product. But when it comes to drinking aloe juice, many of the alleged benefits are not supported by evidence. Meanwhile, there are unresolved concerns, especially about long-term use. Fortunately, there are other more effective and less risky ways to alleviate heartburn and constipation, or lower your blood sugar.
Image © Shutterstock