13 Side Effects Of Aloe Vera Juice You Should Be Aware Of July 1, 2017

We have been told about the benefits of aloe vera all along. But, in all honesty, most of those benefits haven’t been scientifically proven.

Shocking, isn’t it?

Well, that’s nothing when compared to the list of side effects aloe vera has. Which is what we will discuss in this post.

 Aloe Vera – A Brief

 Belonging to the genus Aloe, aloe vera is a plant species that grows in tropical climates around the world. Though it is found in numerous skin care products, cosmetics, and ointments, there is little scientific evidence proving its efficacy.

Most often, studies that substantiate its benefits are contradicted by several other studies.

The plant is usually stemless (or short-stemmed) and grows up to 60-100 cm tall. The leaves of the plant are thick, fleshy, and green. And, as we have already seen in the initial lines, it has side effects.

But before we talk about the side effects of the plant, there’s something else.

Side Effects Of Aloe Vera Latex

 There is speculation about aloe vera latex and its ill effects – which is why we are covering this first.

The aloe vera latex is one of the two substances the plant produces (the other being the gel). The latex is yellow and comes from underneath the plant’s skin.

Taking the latex internally can be unsafe, irrespective of the dose. Some of the side effects it can cause include stomach cramps, kidney issues, and low potassium levels (1). Even taking just 1 gram of aloe latex for several days can be fatal.

Externally, the latex could be safe if appropriately applied to the skin. However, more research is required in this regard.

Side Effects Of Aloe Vera

1. Skin Allergy

 Prolonged use of aloe gel can cause skin allergies like hives and widespread inflammation (2). It can also cause redness of the eyelids. Other effects on the skin include its hardening, dryness, splitting, and the development of purple spots.

The gel can also cause skin rashes or irritation (3). And as per studies, aloe gel can decelerate the healing of surgical wounds. Applying aloe juice to your face after a skin peel can also cause redness and burning. Applying the juice to the face after sun exposure can lead to rashes. Your skin might get swollen as well.

Using aloe latex on the skin (for some beneficial purpose) can stain the skin yellow if improperly applied.

According to one Mumbai study, the topical application of aloe vera can cause a stinging sensation (4). In sensitive individuals, it can also cause a mild form of dermatitis.

2. Diabetes

2. Diabetes Pinit

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Aloe vera has laxative effects, which might increase the chances of dehydration or electrolyte imbalance in diabetic individuals.

3. Constipation

 Though certain people believe aloe vera can help treat constipation, there is no evidence for this. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, the sale of aloe vera products as a treatment option for constipation was banned due to lack of proper evidence.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aloe juice or latex can cause painful stomach cramping (and possibly constipation) due to its powerful laxative properties (5).

4. Dehydration

 The laxative effects of aloe vera can also lead to dehydration. One report recommends against the use of aloe vera in patients suffering from severe dehydration (6).

5. Diarrhea

 Diarrhea is one of the side effects of consuming aloe vera latex. If you have an existent digestive disorder, drinking aloe juice can also cause diarrhea.

Oral use of aloe vera has been linked to diarrhea as well as vomiting. Aloe vera latex might cause watery diarrhea, eventually leading to electrolyte imbalance (7). Even the University of Maryland Medical Center strongly suggests against the oral intake of aloe vera latex as it can lead to severe intestinal cramps and diarrhea (8).

Aloe vera might have a beneficial effect on people suffering from ulcerative colitis, but it might also cause diarrhea (9). And according to a report by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, aloe vera can cause diarrhea in cats as well (10).

The leaves of the aloe plant contain mildly toxic substances, which also can cause diarrhea (11). And so does the sap of the plant, when used in large quantities (12).

6. Lower Blood Sugar Levels

 This might be good news, in a way. But the problem arises with the fact that aloe vera juice can lower blood glucose levels, which, in turn, can affect the performance of certain medications that are used to treat diabetes.

7. Electrolyte Imbalance

 Aloe vera can cause electrolyte imbalance, more so in people who are already experiencing diarrhea. This can also lead to low potassium levels. One study says that the laxative effect of aloe vera can lead to electrolyte imbalance (13).

Aloe vera must be used cautiously in people who already are on medication that increases potassium excretion (14).

8. Irregular Heartbeat

 According to a Nigerian study, using aloe vera can increase the risk of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat (15).

9. Kidney Failure

9. Kidney Failure Pinit

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 Aloe vera can interact with certain medications and aggravate a few conditions, with kidney disease being one of them. Further research suggests that aloe vera juice can, in some cases, cause serious kidney injury that might even lead to death. Hence, individuals suffering from any kidney problem must abstain from consuming aloe vera.

An Indian study had reported acute renal failure in an individual following the intake of a herbal remedy, with aloe vera being its primary component (16).

Aloe vera latex has also been linked to kidney failure and other related conditions.

10. Liver Toxicity

High-dose ingestion of aloe vera, according to studies, can lead to liver inflammation. The bioactive compounds in aloe vera might interfere with the liver’s detoxification process, thereby causing complications in sensitive individuals.

According to one Korean study, aloe vera can cause hepatotoxicity (17). Another study talks about liver damage that is associated with aloe vera ingestion (18).

11. Muscle Weakness

 Consuming aloe latex can also cause muscle weakness. One Chinese study notes muscle weakness as one of the common adverse effects of aloe vera supplementation (19).

12. Stomach Discomfort

12. Stomach Discomfort Pinit

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 Though aloe vera can help relieve stomach bloating, it might cause stomach cramps in some cases. The latex can also cause vomiting if consumed (20).

13. Thyroid Dysfunction

 Aloe vera might obstruct the absorption of thyroid medication, thereby causing the symptoms to aggravate. Intake of aloe supplements has been directly linked to thyroid problems.

Safety During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

 Topical use of aloe vera during pregnancy or breastfeeding may not be as harmful, but internal use is discouraged. As per a theory, aloe vera can stimulate uterine contractions and cause complications. Also, we don’t know if aloe vera would be excreted in breast milk. Hence, avoiding internal use is the best way to go.

Consumption of aloe vera juice is also not advised.

Interactions With Supplements

As aloe vera might lower blood sugar, caution is recommended while taking medications that lower blood sugar. Aloe vera might also interact with agents for cancer, brain, heart, intestines, liver, and stomach. It can interact with substances that increase urination or potassium excretion. It can also interact with hormonal agents, antifungals, anesthetics, thyroid hormones, and wound healing agents (21). It can also interfere with supplements related to all of the conditions stated above.

Precautions And Warnings

 Don’t take aloe vera if you have diabetes, intestinal conditions (like Crohn’s disease, etc.), hemorrhoids, and kidney problems (22). Also, stay away from aloe if you are allergic to garlic, tulips, or onions (23).

Though shocking, it is something we must accept. Aloe could be healthy, but keeping in mind its side effects is the way to go about it.

Tell us how this post has helped you. We appreciate your valuable feedback.

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  • Liseena

    OMG! Aloe vera causes side effects too! This fact is causing me goosebumps. Hope many of us will not be aware of this. Consulting doctor before taking it in any form is really essential. Thanq Arshi very much for sharing this article without which i would not be knowing this.

  • Vanita

    This is a kind of an article that is needed! Most people including me assume that a natural ingredient having side effects is next to impossible. It is certainly better to get a consult before consuming anything! Thanks.

  • Merliin

    Can you explain what evidence you have for this statement :
    ‘8. Consumption of aloe vera juice can lead the body to produce excessive amounts of adrenaline’

    You have made alot of health warnings without citing any sources to your claims, unless we are supposed to talk your word for gospel?

  • meera

    HOW to gain weight

  • http://retmeishka.wordpress.com/ Nicole Binns

    Last night I bought a can of aloe vera drink at the grocery store. I’ve bought other exotic drinks from that brand before, such as mangosteen and lychee drinks, which I enjoyed. But for some reason, I always was nervous about the idea of drinking aloe vera, and I couldn’t remember why, I just vaguely remembered that I might have read something bad about it long ago.

    Well, so last night I tried it on a whim. I got down about three tiny sips of it before I had to stop drinking. It irritated my throat immediately and made me feel like I was going to throw up. Later on in the nighttime, I had some strange effects too, but that might have been caused by another new food that I tried for the first time (goji berries), and I don’t want to blame it all on the aloe vera. I usually don’t try a whole bunch of new foods at once, and that way, I’ll know exactly which foods caused the symptoms if anything bad happens.

    So, this morning, the ‘laxative effect’ of the aloe vera suddenly and unexpectedly kicked in, and I had had only three tiny sips of the drink. I do not want to imagine what would have happened if I had drunk the entire can. Fortunately, I was at home. I wasn’t constipated at the time, and so, an intense laxative effect wasn’t really needed.

    So… yeah, aloe vera, use with caution.

    Oh yeah, I also felt like it was causing me to wake up and feel panicky, and I saw somewhere that it triggered the production of adrenaline. That could have been what was causing that for me last night. I’m still trying to distinguish between the strange effects the goji berries might have caused, versus the strange effects the aloe vera might have caused. I suspect the goji berries are what gave me the illusions, hallucinations, and fear in the middle of the night, so that I had to turn the light on all night long. That probably wasn’t the aloe vera. But I did feel something like adrenaline too. I also had apnea, which I am blaming on the goji berries.