Aloe vera is a type of plant often used in creams and ointments to treat certain skin conditions. It’s a popular natural topical treatment–but when this powerful little plant is taken orally as a juice (similar to coconut water), aloe vera juice benefits may provide even more astounding health perks.
But before you run out to your local health food store to look for prepackaged aloe vera juice, it’s important to weigh its perks against some of the known drawbacks. Despite the health benefit claims natural remedy enthusiasts have been raving about, it’s always best to look for as much proof as possible first before diving into any natural remedy.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
First, it’s worth knowing that two different substances can be taken from the aloe vera plant: One is a gel-like substance found inside the leaves, while the other is yellowish substance found directly beneath the plant’s skin — called latex. Both are used for medicinal purposes, with the latex (the juice) typically used as the type for oral consumption. Many people claim that aloe vera juice can promote weight loss, improve digestion, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and even provide a general soothing sensation overall. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough scientific evidence out there to back all those claims.
1. Laxative: Despite the significant lack of evidence for some of the claims about its health benefits, aloe vera has long been used as a natural laxative throughout history for its ability to get the bowels moving and encourage elimination within several hours of consumption. According to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration, short-term use of aloe’s latex substance is generally safe, but prolonged use may cause dehydration and an imbalance in electrolytes. There also may be a risk of diarrhea or vomiting, which is typically associated with anthraquinone contaminants of the aloe gel substance.
Preliminary evidence also suggests that people who suffer from mild to moderate ulcerative colitis can significantly reduce their symptoms by consuming aloe gel.
2. Lower cholesterol: Research has shown that consuming aloe vera orally may also reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with hyperlipidemia.
3. Nutrient-dense: One thing that’s particularly clear about aloe vera is that it’s very rich in nutrients, containing a wide variety vitamins and minerals. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, and many other B vitamins. In fact, it’s one of the only plants that actually contains B12. It also contains magnesium, zinc, calcium, selenium, sodium, chromium, iron and potassium.
4. Beauty benefits: People with irritated skin or other dermatological conditions may benefit from applying aloe vera directly to the affected areas. There’s reasonable evidence that the topical application of aloe vera can be an effective treatment of burn wounds, but there’s conflicting evidence in its use to treat psoriasis, dermatitis, and surgical wounds.
Why You Should Be Cautious About Consuming Aloe Vera Juice
In terms of consuming aloe vera juice for its suggested health benefits, the biggest risk associated with it is that the positive and negative effects on humans are still widely unknown. Some studies have been conducted on animals, but there simply hasn’t been enough experimentation yet with how it really impacts the long-term health of people.
Aloe latex used to be an ingredient used in certain types of over-the-counter laxatives several years ago, but some people who had been taking the laxatives ended up developing tolerances. The FDA made it a requirement for manufacturers to remove it due to a lack of safety data.
There have been some concerns about the consumption of aloe vera and its potential to cause cancer, but as of now, it’s not certain whether that’s true or not. Depending on what part of the plant is used (gel or latex) including how it has been processed can alter its compounds and affect the body in different ways, which again only emphasizes how much research need done on the human use of aloe vera.
How to Incorporate Aloe Vera Juice into Your Diet
Talk to your doctor first before you start consuming aloe vera orally. This is especially important if you have any known allergies to plants, if you’re pregnant, if you have a history of renal or cardiac disorders, or if you’re currently taking any other medications.
You can find bottled aloe vera juice sold at some health food stores and drugstores. Aloe vera juice has a strong, pungent taste that might put some people off. For those who can’t stand drinking it straight, try mixing it into a fruit smoothie. Here’s a quick recipe you can whip up that’s great for fighting inflammation:
Tropical Pineapple and Banana Smoothie with Aloe Vera Juice
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup of fresh pineapple
- The juice from 1 freshly squeezed lime
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice (or recommended serving size on bottle)
- Ice cubes (optional)
- Water or coconut milk (optional)
- Put all ingredients in a blender. Add some (optional) ice, water, or coconut depending on the consistency you want and blend until smooth.
Buying Aloe Vera Juice
Just like most store-bought products (nut butter, granola, salad dressing… the list goes on and on), many bottles of aloe vera juice are filled with unnecessary ingredients, like excess sugar and artificial ingredients.
There are, however, many delicious options of aloe vera juice to incorporate into your diet and lifestyle. We suggest drinking an organic aloe vera juice that has been given the Aloe Science Council (IASC) seal of approval. Aloe vera should also be the first ingredient on the ingredient label, not sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Lastly, the color of aloe vera juice should be light yellow to clear with pulp, not neon green and artificial-looking.
These three bottles of aloe vera juice are some of our favorites, and the most delicious options on the market.
1. Lily of the Desert Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Juice
According to Lily of the Desert, there are over 200 biologically active compounds in this aloe vera juice, minus any preservatives or flavorings. We love this organic aloe vera juice for its refreshing and simple taste, and for being the first USDA certified organic aloe vera juice on the market – ever.
2. Lakewood Organic Whole Leaf Aloe Juice
This aloe vera juice from Lakewood Organic is made with 99 percent organic filtered whole leaf aloe vera and one percent organic lemon juice for the slightest pop of flavor. Clean, bright, and bursting with vitamins and minerals, this aloe vera juice is a delicious sip.
3. Aloe Farms Organic Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Farms Organic aloe vera juice is made from organically grown, cold-pressed aloe vera leaves to keep beneficial nutrients and polysaccharides in tact. This no frills bottle of aloe vera juice is deliciously simple.
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Image of aloe vera juice via Shutterstock