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“3. Liver Or Kidney Disorders Research indicates that ingesting aloe vera could lead to liver or kidney injury and inflammation. It was also found to worsen paracetamol-induced liver injury in rats. Thankfully, the condition was reversed once aloe vera was discontinued. While there are fewer st…”
Aloe vera, kumari, or ghrita kumari, has multiple uses in ayurveda and is known to balance all three doshas. It is especially effective in treating diseases originating from vata imbalance.
The Egyptians called aloe vera “the plant of immortality,” the Native Americans called it “the wand of heaven,” and Indians called it “kumari,” in reference to the youthful beauty of a young girl. It’s no wonder then that most of us equate this succulent plant to beauty and good health. True to this, aloe vera is favored by both skin care professionals and doctors alike. Aloe vera juice too is catching on in popularity. It is a storehouse of vitamins like A, C, E, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, and folate – however, contrary to popular belief, aloe vera itself does not contain vitamin B12; it enhances the absorption of B12 supplements. It also contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Not just that, aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential ones. Here’s a ready reckoner of the health benefits of aloe vera.
1. Relieves Constipation
When you cut an aloe leaf and keep it upright, you may notice a yellow latex draining out. This contains a chemical called aloin, a type of anthraquinone which gives aloe its laxative properties. However, it can cause severe diarrhea in some people.
The most commonly noted health benefit of aloe vera is relieving constipation. Usually the yellow latex from the leaf is had to tackle constipation. It contains an organic compound called anthraquinone, which has potent laxative properties and can stimulate bowel movements. In ayurveda, kumarisaar, a formulation using the dried yellow latex, is used to treat constipation and other digestive disorders.
2. May Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders
Ayurvedic texts refer to aloe vera as “pleehahara” and “yakrut vruddhihara,” referring to its benefit in treating spleen (pleeha) and liver (yakrut) enlargements and even hepatitis. Kumaryasava, an ayurvedic formulation using fermented aloe vera juice, is used to treat these conditions.
While research on these areas is lacking, aloe vera does seem to have other digestive benefits. It might reduce bloating and heartburn and aid digestion by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in the gut.[ref]Qadir, M. Imran. “Medicinal and cosmetological importance of Aloe vera.” Int J Nat Ther 2 (2009): 21-26.[/ref] [ref]Foster, Meika, Duncan Hunter, and Samir Samman. Evaluation of the nutritional and metabolic effects of Aloe vera. Vol. 3. chapter, 2011.[/ref] There’s also some evidence that aloe vera might help with ulcerative colitis. One small clinical study looked into the effects of oral consumption of 100 ml of aloe vera gel on 44 people with ulcerative colitis. After 4 weeks, it was found that there was a moderate benefit on the symptoms of the condition such as bloating and inability to empty bowels.
That said, while aloe vera might help in the initial stages of ulcerative colitis when constipation is the dominant symptom, it might have an adverse effect in the later stages when diarrhea becomes dominant.[ref]Crohn’s & Colitis Program, Patient Information Guide. The University Of Michigan.[/ref] So it is imperative that you consult a professional and stick to the recommended dosage.
3. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Blend some aloe gel with a citrus fruit juice or even a smoothie with green leafs. All of these are known to balance the cholesterol levels.
If your cholesterol levels are high, you may incorporate aloe vera juice into your diet. Studies have shown that a compound called beta-sitosterol present in aloe vera can increase the HDL “good” cholesterol levels in your body which, in turn, lowers the LDL “bad” cholesterol. By bringing your cholesterol levels under control, aloe vera can also reduce your risk of related conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.[ref]Chandrakar, Mamata, Sachin Palekar, Sudhir Chirade, and S. Hafiz. “Hypocholesterolemic effect of Aloe vera (L.) extract on high cholesterol fed calotes versicolor daudin.” Asian J Exp Sci 22, no. 3 (2008): 295-298.[/ref] [ref]Palermo, Francesco A., Paolo Cocci, Mauro Angeletti, Alberto Felici, Alberta Maria Polzonetti-Magni, and Gilberto Mosconi. “Dietary Aloe vera components’ effects on cholesterol lowering and estrogenic responses in juvenile goldfish, Carassius auratus.” Fish physiology and biochemistry 39, no. 4 (2013): 851-861.[/ref]
4. Boosts Immunity
If you have a weak immunity, it might do you good to include aloe vera in your diet. Aloe vera has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, which makes it effective in preventing infections. Studies have found that it could enhance white blood cell activity and promote the production of certain proteins that help fight viral infection.[ref]Vahedi, Ghasem, Mehdi Taghavi, Amin Kheirollahzade Maleki, and Reza Habibian. “The effect of Aloe vera extract on humoral and cellular immune response in rabbit.” African Journal of Biotechnology 10, no. 26 (2011): 5225-5228.[/ref] [ref]Qadir, M. Imran. “Medicinal and cosmetological importance of Aloe vera.” Int J Nat Ther 2 (2009): 21-26.[/ref] Aloe vera also contains complex carbohydrates, which have shown an immunomodulatory effect.[ref]Hamman, Josias H. “Composition and applications of Aloe vera leaf gel.” Molecules 13, no. 8 (2008): 1599-1616.[/ref]
5. May Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Before taking aloe vera, consult a professional if you take medications to reduce blood glucose. Also stop taking aloe vera 2 weeks before a surgery.
When it comes to managing high blood glucose levels, aloe vera might come in handy. But the evidence on its direct effect on blood glucose levels seems to be mixed. Certain studies have noted a blood glucose reduction in women with type 2 diabetes who consumed aloe vera pulp, while other studies did not. The exact mechanism isn’t clear either. One line of reasoning is that aloe vera lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the blood and improves glucose metabolism. Besides, it also lowers the levels of bad cholesterol, a comorbid factor in diabetes.[ref]Okyar, Alper, Ayşe Can, Nuriye Akev, Gül Baktir, and Nurhayat Sütlüpinar. “Effect of Aloe vera leaves on blood glucose level in type I and type II diabetic rat models.” Phytotherapy Research 15, no. 2 (2001): 157-161.[/ref] [ref]Aloe Vera and Diabetes. Diabetes, UK.[/ref]
6. Reduces Stress
If you’ve been feeling stressed of late, consider using aloe vera. Ayurveda considers aloe vera to be a rasayana or an adaptogen, a substance that supports the body’s ability to deal with stress, whether that stress is from anxiety, fatigue, trauma, or even infection. And a study has found that beta-glucans (sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants) in aloe vera lower levels of cortisol in your body.[ref]Montoya, Luz N. Franco, Talísia P. Martins, Rodrigo Y. Gimbo, Fábio S. Zanuzzo, and Elisabeth C. Urbinati. “β-Glucan-induced cortisol levels improve the early immune response in matrinxã (Brycon amazonicus).” Fish & shellfish immunology 60 (2017): 197-204.[/ref]
7. May Improve Memory, Reduce Depression, And Fight Neurodegenerative Diseases
Certain studies have hinted at the possibility of aloe vera improving brain function, apart from relieving stress. In one such study, it was observed that aloe vera extract slightly altered the function of neurotransmitters. This, in turn, was found to improve memory and reduce depression.[ref]Halder, Sumita, Ashish K. Mehta, and Pramod K. Mediratta. “Aloe vera improves memory and reduces depression in mice.” Nutritional Neuroscience 16, no. 6 (2013): 250-254.[/ref] [ref]Salehi, Bahareh, Esmaeil Biazar, Mahsa Hadipour Jahromi, and Hanie Akbari Romani. “Antidepressant effects of Aloe vera hydroalcoholic extract.” Journal of Paramedical Sciences 2, no. 3 (2011).[/ref] Another study found that taking a supplement containing aloe vera significantly improved the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in both men and women.[ref]Lewis, John E., H. Reginald McDaniel, Marc E. Agronin, David A. Loewenstein, Jorge Riveros, Rafael Mestre, Mairelys Martinez et al. “The effect of an aloe polymannose multinutrient complex on cognitive and immune functioning in Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 33, no. 2 (2013): 393-406.[/ref]
8. Fights Skin Conditions, Makes Skin Healthy And Youthful
When you scoop out aloe gel, scoop it from the middle of the leaf, taking care to not scrape the green part too closely.
Of all the uses of aloe vera, skin care tops the list. Here are a few skin-related factors that aloe vera can benefit:
- Skin diseases: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties which make it effective against acne and skin conditions like hives, eczema, and psoriasis. These properties have also made the topical application of aloe juice and gel effective against lichen planus, a skin disorder which leads to purple, itchy, flat-topped bumps on the skin as well as white patches and sores in the mouth.[ref]Hebbar Pragati Bhaskar BDS, M. D. S., and M. D. S. Amandeep Sodhi BDS. “Aloe vera as cure for lichen planus.” New York State Dental Journal 79, no. 5 (2013): 65.[/ref]
- Aging: Aloe improves skin elasticity, promotes skin cell regeneration by boosting collagen production, and protects the skin from harmful UV rays, in turn preventing wrinkles and dark spots.
- Dryness: Aloe vera also moisturizes the skin and is loaded with skin-friendly vitamin C, keeping it healthy and supple.[ref]Cho, Soyun, Serah Lee, Min-Jung Lee, Dong Hun Lee, Chong-Hyun Won, Sang Min Kim, and Jin Ho Chung. “Dietary Aloe vera supplementation improves facial wrinkles and elasticity and it increases the type I procollagen gene expression in human skin in vivo.” Annals of Dermatology 21, no. 1 (2009): 6-11.[/ref] [ref]Why is Aloe Vera so Good for Skin Care? Evergreen Beauty College.[/ref]
- Dandruff: One study that compared several different formulations of anti-dandruff products found that the one with aloe vera were the most effective.[ref]Hashemi, Seyyed Abbas, Seyyed Abdollah Madani, and Saied Abediankenari. “The review on properties of Aloe vera in healing of cutaneous wounds.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015).[/ref] [ref]dos Santos, Renan Martins, and Marcus Vinícius Dias-Souza. “Effectiveness of five antidandruff cosmetic formulations against planktonic cells and biofilms of dermatophytes.” Saudi journal of biological sciences 24, no. 2 (2017): 331-337.[/ref]
9. Treats Skin Injuries And Wounds
When you apply aloe vera gel to a wound, don’t cover it with a bandage. To facilitate healing, aloe vera requires open air. However, avoid using aloe vera to treat deep wounds.
By increasing the collagen production and stimulating cell regeneration, aloe vera can help treat wounds, rashes, and cuts. It does this by binding the skin tissues and working as an astringent. Here are a few types of wounds and injuries that it might heal:
- Burns: First and second-degree burns, including frost bite injuries, can benefit from topical application of aloe vera. Studies have found that aloe vera gel can heal burns within 12 days.[ref]Visuthikosol, V., B. Chowchuen, Y. Sukwanarat, S. Sriurairatana, and V. Boonpucknavig. “Effect of aloe vera gel to healing of burn wound a clinical and histologic study.” J Med Assoc Thai 78, no. 8 (1995): 403-9.[/ref] [ref]Maenthaisong, Ratree, Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Surachet Niruntraporn, and Chuenjid Kongkaew. “The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review.” burns 33, no. 6 (2007): 713-718.[/ref] Aloe might also soothe a sun burn but there isn’t enough research to fully validate this.[ref]Puvabanditsin, Porntip, and Rujirat Vongtongsri. “Efficacy of aloe vera cream in prevention and treatment of sunburn and suntan.” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand= Chotmaihet thangphaet 88 (2005): S173-6.[/ref] [ref]Tabassum, Nahida, and Mariya Hamdani. “Plants used to treat skin diseases.” Pharmacognosy reviews 8, no. 15 (2014): 52.[/ref]
- Insect bites: Research indicates that glucomannans or pectic acid in aloe vera gel can soothe itchy insect bites and reduce inflammation.[ref]Aloe vera gel. National Institutes Of Health.[/ref] [ref]How to Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes and Pests. Alaska Centers.[/ref] Aloe vera gel can also treat scabies, a skin condition caused due to burrowing mites, as effectively as conventional options (benzyl benzoate).[ref]LA, Adeyemi. “Preliminary study of effectiveness of aloe vera in scabies treatment.” Phytotherapy research 23, no. 10 (2009): 1482-1484.[/ref]
- Diaper rashes: Aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory, soothing properties make it ideal for rashes, including diaper rashes. A topical cream containing aloe as well as aloe vera gel could speed up the healing process of diaper rashes.[ref]Panahi, Yunes, Mohamad Reza Sharif, Alireza Sharif, Fatemeh Beiraghdar, Zahra Zahiri, Golnoush Amirchoopani, Eisa Tahmasbpour Marzony, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. “A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topical aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children.” The Scientific World Journal 2012 (2012).[/ref] [ref]Malarvizhi, G. “Development of herbal finished baby diapers with bamboo fiber.” International Journal of Humanities, Arts, Medicine and Sciences 3, no. 2 (2015): 41-46.[/ref] [ref]Aloe. University of Rochester Medical Center.[/ref]
10. Improves Healing Of Genital Herpes
Certain studies have found that, owing to the antiviral properties of aloe, applying a topical cream with 0.5% of aloe extract increases healing in men with genital herpes.[ref]Rezazadeh, Fahimeh, Maryam Moshaverinia, Mohammad Motamedifar, and Montazer Alyaseri. “Assessment of anti HSV-1 activity of Aloe vera gel extract: an in vitro study.” Journal of Dentistry 17, no. 1 (2016): 49.[/ref]
11. May Aid Weight Loss
If you’re trying to shed those excess pounds, aloe vera gel powder might come in handy. A study found that rats on a high-fat diet experienced a reduction in their body fat accumulation after being given 20 mg of aloe vera gel powder per kg of body weight for 90 days. The researchers stated that this could be because aloe increases energy expenditure in the body.[ref]Misawa, Eriko, Miyuki Tanaka, Kazumi Nabeshima, Kouji Nomaguchi, Muneo Yamada, Tomohiro Toida, and Keiji Iwatsuki. “Administration of dried Aloe vera gel powder reduced body fat mass in diet-induced obesity (DIO) rats.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 58, no. 3 (2012): 195-201.[/ref] Understandably, several weight loss pills have aloe vera extract in them. That said, further research is required to confirm this benefit.[ref]Herbal remedies and supplements for weight loss. National Institutes of Health.[/ref]
12. Fights Dental Disorders
Aloe vera could save you a trip to the dentist or speed up your recovery if you’ve got a dental condition. In fact studies have found that using aloe vera tooth gel can prevent cavity-causing bacteria better than most other toothpastes, thanks to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory anthraquinones. Besides, aloe gel doesn’t contain abrasives like most toothpastes and is less harsh on teeth.[ref]Mangaiyarkarasi, S. P., T. Manigandan, M. Elumalai, Priyanka K. Cholan, and Roopam Pal Kaur. “Benefits of Aloe vera in dentistry.” Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences 7, no. Suppl 1 (2015): S255.[/ref] Here are a few other conditions that research has looked into:
- Oral submucous fibrosis: This is a condition that causes lesions, ulcers, and scars in the mucus membrane of the oral cavity (mouth). Topical application of aloe vera juice and gel for 3 months could counter symptoms including burning sensation, problems with mouth opening, lowered cheek flexibility, and tongue protrusion.[ref]Anuradha, Ardra, Bharati Patil, and Venkataswamy Reddy Asha. “Evaluation of efficacy of aloe vera in the treatment of oral submucous fibrosis–a clinical study.” Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine 46, no. 1 (2017): 50-55.[/ref]
- Oral lichen planus: This auto-immune condition leads to white, lacy patches as well as red, swollen tissues, and open sores. Topical application of aloe gel for 8 weeks could heal the symptoms of oral lichen planus without any serious side effects.[ref]Choonhakarn, C., P. Busaracome, B. Sripanidkulchai, and P. Sarakarn. “The efficacy of aloe vera gel in the treatment of oral lichen planus: a randomized controlled trial.” British journal of dermatology 158, no. 3 (2008): 573-577.[/ref]
- Canker sores: Topical application of a gel containing 2% of aloe extract lowers the pain caused by canker sores and speeds up healing.[ref]Babaee, Neda, Ebrahim Zabihi, Saman Mohseni, and Ali Akbar Moghadamnia. “Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis.” Dental research journal 9, no. 4 (2012): 381.[/ref]
- Gingivitis: This condition refers to the inflammation of gums, often caused due to the buildup of bacteria through plaque. It can lead to swollen, puffy, receding gums that might feel tender or bleed easily. Studies have found that scaling and using a mouthwash with aloe vera lowered inflammation and other symptoms associated with the condition.[ref]Ajmera, Neha, Anirban Chatterjee, and Vikas Goyal. “Aloe vera: It’s effect on gingivitis.” Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology 17, no. 4 (2013): 435.[/ref]
- Perodontis: This is another gum infection that is caused due to poor oral hygiene. Applying aloe vera gel to the peridontal pockets (gaps that form when the disease forms pockets around the teeth by destroying tissue and bone) can speed up healing.[ref]Bhat, Geetha, Praveen Kudva, and Vidya Dodwad. “Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing healer to periodontal disease.” Journal of Indian society of periodontology 15, no. 3 (2011): 205.[/ref]
- Dry socket: Also known as alveolar osteitis, this painful condition occurs after a tooth is removed. One study has found that a freeze-dried soft patch-like product containing aloe gel could prevent the occurrence of dry socket if used immediately after the extraction of a tooth. However, further studies are required to fully understand this benefit.[ref]Poor, Miles R., John E. Hall, and Anne S. Poor. “Reduction in the incidence of alveolar osteitis in patients treated with the SaliCept patch, containing Acemannan hydrogel.” Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery 60, no. 4 (2002): 374-379.[/ref]
13. May Fight Epilepsy
One study has found that an extract of aloe vera leaf powder can lower the incidence of seizures, when given at a dose of 400 mg per kg of body weight. It was also found to fight free radicals, which play a role in the initiation and progression of epilepsy.[ref]Rathor, Naveen, Tarun Arora, Sachin Manocha, Amol N. Patil, Pramod K. Mediratta, and Krishna K. Sharma. “Anticonvulsant activity of Aloe vera leaf extract in acute and chronic models of epilepsy in mice.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 66, no. 3 (2014): 477-485.[/ref]
14. May Aid In The Treatment Of Multiple Sclerosis
An autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis could cause vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. Some studies with experimental models of multiple sclerosis show that 120 mg/kg aloe vera powder per day slowed down the progression of the disease by countering oxidative stress. That said, the studies are preliminary and need further research before aloe vera can be considered for the treatment of this hitherto incurable disease.[ref]Mirshafiey, Abbas, B. Aghily, S. Namaki, A. Razavi, A. Ghazavi, P. Ekhtiari, and G. Mosayebi. “Therapeutic approach by Aloe vera in experimental model of multiple sclerosis.” Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology 32, no. 3 (2010): 410-415.[/ref] [ref]Johnston Jr, Richard B., and Janet E. Joy, eds. Multiple sclerosis: current status and strategies for the future. National Academies Press, 2001.[/ref]
Side Effects Of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is helpful but in moderation. Much of its side effects come from a class of organic compounds called anthraquinones, most concentrated near the green part of the leaf and in the yellow latex beneath the leaf. Aloe latex contains aloin, a form of anthraquinone, that is known for its potent laxative effects. And while it helps ease constipation, aloin can cause severe diarrhea as well as trigger allergic reactions. Here’s a look at the side effects of aloe vera:
Even when it’s taken at low doses, aloe vera might prove to be harmful if you’ve got a sensitive stomach. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition to this, it might trigger abdominal cramps and worsen the symptoms of hemorrhoids. This is especially true with prolonged use of aloe latex or supplements that contain it. Children under the age of 12 may especially experience gastrointestinal upset if aloe is ingested orally.[ref]Aloe vera — What is it good for? Columbia University.[/ref] This is why, in 2002, the USFDA ruled that all over-the-counter aloe latex be removed from the market or at least reformulated without aloe latex. Today, the aloe products available in the US are not regulated by the FDA, and they do not contain information about the aloin content.[ref]Aloe Vera. National Institutes of Health.[/ref] [ref]Crohn’s & Colitis Program Patient Information Guide. University of Michigan.[/ref]
As the laxative properties of aloe vera can lead to severe diarrhea, you may develop severe dehydration as a side effect and develop an electrolyte imbalance.[ref]Name of Herb: Aloe. The University Of California, Denver.[/ref] Keeping this in mind, aloe vera should be used cautiously in people who already are on diuretics, since they increase the excretion of potassium from the body.[ref]
3. Liver Or Kidney Disorders
Research indicates that ingesting aloe vera could lead to liver or kidney injury and inflammation. It was also found to worsen paracetamol-induced liver injury in rats. Thankfully, the condition was reversed once aloe vera was discontinued. While there are fewer studies that look into kidney failure in association with aloe vera gel, there is enough research to state that aloe latex consumption can cause renal failure.[ref]Parlati, Lucia, Cosmin Sebastian Voican, Katy Perlemuter, and Gabriel Perlemuter. “Aloe vera-induced acute liver injury: A case report and literature review.” Clinics and research in hepatology and gastroenterology 41, no. 4 (2017): e39-e42.[/ref] [ref]Samuhasaneetoa, Suchittra, and Sorrayut Kajornvuthidejb. “Negative effects of Aloe vera gel on paracetamol-induced liver injury in rats.” Science Asia 40 (2014): 42.[/ref]
4. Allergic Reactions
As with most herbal remedies, it’s important to check for any allergies before using aloe vera gel. The green outer layer of the leaf as well as the yellow latex are not good for the skin. So if the gel has been scooped out from near the green layer, there are chances of skin irritation. You might even be allergic to aloe itself. Do a patch test, and if your skin doesn’t tolerate aloe well, skip drinking the juice too.[ref]Aloe. University Of Rochester Medical Center.[/ref]
5. Muscle Weakness
Supplementation with aloe vera has been shown to weaken muscles, especially in diabetics. Although the exact mechanism behind this is uncertain, it is generally accompanied by abdominal cramps. In addition to this, the studies that looked into this side effect only looked at short-term (6–12 weeks) supplementation. Further studies are required to fully understand the long-term benefits and side effects.[ref]Zhang, Yiyi, Wen Liu, Dan Liu, Tieyun Zhao, and Haoming Tian. “Efficacy of Aloe vera supplementation on prediabetes and early non-treated diabetic patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Nutrients 8, no. 7 (2016): 388.[/ref]
6. Risk Of Cancer
One study conducted on rats found that when non-decolorized whole-leaf extracts of aloe vera were added to water, they caused cancer in female rats. However, decolorized aloe extract did not. Decolorizing refers to the process of removing the anthraquinones from aloe vera.[ref]Aloe Vera. National Toxicology Program.[/ref] [ref]Shao, A., A. Broadmeadow, G. Goddard, E. Bejar, and V. Frankos. “Safety of purified decolorized (low anthraquinone) whole leaf Aloe vera (L) Burm. f. juice in a 3-month drinking water toxicity study in F344 rats.” Food and chemical toxicology 57 (2013): 21-31.[/ref] This points to the fact that aloin and other anthraquinones are the main carcinogenic compounds in aloe vera.
Besides this, most popular brands of aloe vera juice contain sodium benzoate as a preservative, which is added to inhibit microbial growth. However, when combined with citric acid (ascorbic acid), sodium benzoate forms benzene, a known carcinogen. At the moment, there is an ongoing debate about the effect of benzene in humans. That said, it is worth keeping in mind before consuming aloe vera juice.[ref]Campbell, Ian Gavin A. “An overview of emerging trends in pathogen reduction in the processing of fruit juices.” (2014).[/ref]
How To Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been used traditionally to treat amenorrhea, or the absence of period, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid consuming aloe vera in both gel or latex form. Research has linked them to possible development risks to the fetus.[ref]Aloe vera — What is it good for? Columbia University.[/ref]
Although aloe vera has been used traditionally to treat various diseases, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before using it. This is especially true if you’re planning on consuming aloe juice or supplements.
Commercial aloe vera juice is made from the whole leaf and not just the gel and hence has a risk of a high aloin content. A decolorizing procedure is usually followed where the anthraquinones are removed so that the aloin content falls below 10 ppm. But right now, there’s no rule for manufacturers to label the aloin content. So you may not even know how much you are consuming.
Aloin may be present in cosmetic products as well and may irritate your skin if it’s present in large amounts. The FDA rules that for cosmetic purposes, an aloin content up to 50 ppm is safe.[ref]Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. “Final report on the safety assessment of AloeAndongensis Extract, Aloe Andongensis Leaf Juice, aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Protoplasts, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, aloe Barbadensis Leaf Polysaccharides, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice, and Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice Extract.” International journal of toxicology 26 (2007): 1.[/ref]
Rather than relying on an OTC aloe product to ease your constipation or an aloe juice for other health benefits, make your aloe juice at home. However, exercise extreme caution in isolating the gel from the latex, and always consult your doctor first.
- Cut out an aloe leaf from the plant and set it upright in a bowl to let the toxic aloe latex (an yellow-colored chemical called aloin) drain out completely.
- Scoop out the gel from the middle of the leaf, taking care not to scrape too close to the green outer layer. This can be used both topically and orally.
Aloe Vera Juice: Blend the gel and mix it with water or another fruit juice. Aloe juice is bitter, so you may not like having the concentrated juice. The standard ayurvedic dosage of the juice is 10–20 ml a day.[ref]Aloe Vera Benefits, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects. Easyayurveda.[/ref]
Ayurvedic Formula For Constipation: Blend 10 g of the gel with 2 g rock salt, and then boil it to evaporate the water. Have this in a dose of 3–6 g once a day.[ref]Aloe Vera Benefits, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects. Easyayurveda.[/ref]