Aloe vera is a plant that has a variety of remedial and nutritional use. The plant’s leaves are full of gel. The gel is used to heal burns, wounds, and other dermatological conditions. However, some anecdotal evidence also supports the oral use of aloe vera juice. Though most of these evidences are promising however, we need more controlled trails to determine whether drinking aloe vera juice is effective. Aloe vera juice may help:
- maintain blood sugar
- alkalize the body
- treat constipation,
- relieve heartburn
- treat the skin
- hydrate the body
- maintain digestion
- prevent deficiency
According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, aloe vera contains roughly 75 active compounds such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. These active compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and laxative properties, which may have positive outcomes. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Active Compounds in Aloe Vera Juice
Vitamins: Aloe vera contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, B12, folic acid, and choline.
Minerals: Aloe vera provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Enzymes: Aloe vera contains 8 enzymes such as aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase.
Sugars: Aloe vera provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides (glucomannans/polymannose).
Anthraquinones: Aloe vera contains 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds that are used as laxatives. Aloin and emodin have analgesic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Lupeol has antibacterial and analgesic qualities as well.
Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins are anti-inflammatory properties that help in wound healing.
Amino acids: It contains 20 of the 22 amino acids required by the human body, as well as 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also has salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Others: Lignin is an inert substance, usually added to topical therapies. It improves the penetrative impact of the other components into the skin. Saponins, which are soapy chemicals that make up roughly 3% of the gel, have cleaning and antibacterial effects.
Health concerns of ingesting aloe vera
There are some health concerns about the long-term ingesting of aloe vera juice. Non-decolorized, unpurified aloe vera extracts can have a strong laxative effect, resulting in diarrhoea and stomach pains. Long-term ingestion of aloe vera, particularly Non-decolorized, unpurified aloe vera juice, can cause lifelong kidney damage. (8, 9)
Researchers determined that the negative effects generated by unpurified aloe vera juice are because of anthraquinone, a laxative. Although anthraquinone is a natural chemical component found in the leaf of the aloe vera plant. Several animal studies have showed that whole-leaf aloe vera extract ”Non-decolorized” can also cause large intestine cancer. Aloin, which gives aloe latex its yellowish hue, which causes this carcinogenic effect. (10, 11, 12)
Although we need further research to establish this, decolorized aloe vera (in which aloin is removed from the gel) is to be low in cancer risk. The safety of aloe in persons with liver and kidney disorders is unknown. If you have liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, digestive difficulties, heart disease, haemorrhoids, or electrolyte imbalances, avoid using aloe vera orally. Oral aloe should not be used in children, pregnant women, or nursing moms because of a lack of safety study.
Although drinking purified and decolorized aloe vera juice is harmless, it may have a laxative effect, resulting in unpleasant stomach symptoms. There are many applications for the aloe plant and the various gels and extracts derived from it. Researchers are still discovering new applications for this succulent. If you are on diabetes medication or having other medical condition, talk with your doctor before consuming aloe vera juice.
- Aloe vera in treatment of refractory irritable bowel syndrome: Trial on Iranian patients. J Res Med Sci. 2013.
- PHOTOCOCARCINOGENESIS. STUDY OF ALOE VERA. NATIONAL TOXICOLOGY PROGRAM. 2010.
- Effectiveness of Aloe Vera gel compared with 1% silver sulphadiazine cream as burn wound dressing in second degree burns. J Pak Med Assoc. 2013.
- Efficacy and safety of Aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2015.
- Characterization of burn wound healing gel prepared from human amniotic membrane and Aloe vera extract. BMC Complement Altern Med 2019.
- Laxative potential of the ethanolic leaf extract of Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f. in Wistar rats with loperamide-induced constipation. Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals August 2011.
- Evaluation of biological properties and clinical effectiveness of Aloe vera: A systematic review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2015.
- Effect of Aloe vera leaves on blood glucose level in type I and type II diabetic rat models. Phytother Res. 2001.
- Aloe Vera. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- Clear evidence of carcinogenic activity by a whole-leaf extract of aloe barbadensis miller (aloe vera) in F344/N rats. Epub 2012 Sep 11.