Drinking purified aloe vera juice is a traditional remedy to keep the digestive system healthy and to make the skin supple and radiant. But natural aloe vera juice, made from aloe gel, contains bio compounds called anthraquinones. Anthraquinones are usually removed from commercial aloe products as they can cause adverse health effects like cramping and diarrhea. Let us look at the possible aloe vera juice side effects and the safest way to have this natural juice.
Is It Safe To Drink Aloe Vera Juice?
Aloe vera leaf juice can be made at home, and it is also available in health stores as well as online. At home, aloe juice is made by removing the rind of the aloe leaf and then, washing away the aloe latex. The latex, which is often sold as on OTC laxative, is found between the rind and the inner leaf. It is a bitter, yellow-brown thick liquid that contains anthraquinones, including aloin, that have a laxative effect.
According to The International Aloe Science Council (IASC), a non-profit organization, aloe product manufacturers remove the latex during processing. The IASC standard for aloin in products meant for oral consumption is less than 10ppm (parts per million). For topical products, the accepted industry standard for aloin in 50ppm.
Decolorized, purified aloe juice with a low anthraquinone level can be consumed safely. According to a 2013 animal study, administration of purified aloe vera juice for three months showed no adverse effects. However, aloe juice that has not been purified may prove to be harmful. Let us look at the possible side effects in detail below.
Aloe Vera Juice Side Effects
A frequently asked question is what are the side effects of drinking aloe vera juice regularly. While there are several case reports on toxicity and hypersensitivity to aloe or aloe products in humans published, there are no available controlled studies. Here are the possible adverse reactions that people who drink aloe juice may experience.
Bloating & Cramping
Aloe latex is commonly used as a treatment for constipation. However, there have been cases of people complaining of abdominal cramps, gas, and diarrhea after the oral use of aloe latex. So, make sure you drink purified aloe vera juice to avoid abdominal discomfort.
A report published by the National Center for Toxicological Research, Arkansas, US revealed that the consumption and topical use of aloe can cause skin irritations, hives, cramping, and diarrhea. This was found in cases where individuals were allergic to other plants in the lily family such as onions and tulips.
A report on aloe on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website states that aloe vera juice may risk the side effects of drugs that are substrates of Cytochrome P450 3A4 and CYP2D6. The website also clearly states a warning to cancer patients regarding aloe vera injections and says it can be fatal.
Also, if you are taking sevoflurane, an anesthetic, aloe may have an additional antiplatelet effect causing excessive bleeding during surgery.
Pregnant women should advise caution while having aloe vera juice as aloe latex can cause uterine contractions. Also, nursing mothers should avoid it as it can cause cramping in infants, according to a report on medicinal applications of aloe in the Pharmaceutical Biology journal.
The US FDA does not regulate aloe vera juice and so it is important that you buy it from a reputable store. Always test a small amount before consuming it regularly. If you experience any side effects after drinking aloe juice, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.