Aloe vera is a plant species with several medicinal and nutritional uses. The plant has green, gel-filled leaves. Many people use the gel to treat burns and wounds, and it is also available as juice.
Aloe vera juice is a popular choice at many health food cafes and natural food stores.
In this article, learn about the potential benefits of drinking aloe vera juice and the possible side effects.
Benefits of aloe vera juice may include:
1. Treating constipation
People who experience periodic constipation may use aloe vera juice as a natural laxative.
The outer portion of the plant contains compounds called anthraquinones, and these have a laxative effect.
If a person is trying aloe vera juice for the first time, they may wish to start with a small serving. One serving is usually 1 cup or 8 ounces (oz) of juice.
While researchers are aware of aloe vera’s laxative effect, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not established that the plant is safe to use for this purpose.
People who are frequently constipated should speak to a doctor about appropriate laxatives for long-term use.
2. Providing vitamin C
About 8 oz of fortified aloe vera juice contains 9.1 grams of vitamin C. This vitamin is vital for a person’s overall health, as it is a natural antioxidant and helps fight inflammation.
Vitamin C has a variety of specific benefits, from reducing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease to improving immune system function. Getting enough vitamin C also enhances the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-based foods.
While the vitamin is naturally present in foods such as oranges, green peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, and tomato juice, fortified aloe vera juice is another excellent source.
3. Staying hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can help a person stay hydrated, and aloe vera juice can be a low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks and fruit juices. An 8-oz glass of aloe vera juice contains just 36 calories.
However, it is essential to check labeling for added sugar and other ingredients. These can increase the amounts of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates in the juice.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend limiting added sugar to no more than 24 grams (g), or 6 teaspoons, a day for females and 36 g, or 9 teaspoons, a day for males.
4. Reducing gum inflammation
A small study found that swishing with an aloe vera juice mouthwash helped reduce gingival inflammation in people who had recently undergone treatments to remove plaque.
In the study, 15 participants swished with an aloe vera juice mouthwash, and 15 used none.
At the study’s conclusion, those who had used the mouthwash reported less gum inflammation.
The researchers proposed that aloe vera’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties helped to achieve the results.
5. Controlling blood sugar levels
According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, aloe vera may have “some potential benefit” in controlling blood sugar among people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The analysis examined studies that collectively included 470 participants. They had ingested different preparations of aloe vera, including juice and powders.
The researchers noted that supplementation with aloe vera juice helped improve fasting blood sugar levels among participants.
However, they pointed out that conclusively establishing the effects of aloe vera juice on diabetes will require larger studies.
6. Preventing stomach ulcers
Aloe vera juice may have additional digestive benefits, such as reducing the incidence of stomach ulcers and improving digestion, according to research from 2014.
The many anti-inflammatory compounds in aloe vera juice, such as vitamin C, may contribute to these digestive effects.
While some research has established the benefits of aloe vera juice, there is also evidence that the beverage may cause adverse effects.
A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that consumption of non-decolorized aloe vera leaf extract was associated with an increased risk of cancer in male and female rats.
The researchers are unsure why the risk was increased, but they suspect that some anthraquinones in the plant’s waxy leaf may play a role.
Specifically, they identified the compound aloin as a potential cause of cancer. As a result, many aloe vera juice manufacturers list the aloin contents of their juices.
While scientists have yet to reproduce these studies in humans, limiting the intake of aloin may be a good precautionary measure.
Drinking aloe vera juice may also cause stomach upset and electrolyte imbalances, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Drinking aloe vera juice in moderation is essential. If a person experiences stomach upset or other symptoms, they should stop drinking the juice.