Aloe juice is a natural substance extracted from the aloe vera plant. Proponents suggest that drinking aloe juice can provide a number of health benefits.
Uses for Aloe Juice
Aloe juice is touted as a natural remedy for the following health problems:
Health Benefits of Aloe Juice
There is currently a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of aloe juice for any health-related purposes. However, preliminary research indicates that aloe juice may stimulate the immune system.
The available research on aloe juice and immunity includes a 2001 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In tests on human cells, scientists found that aloe juice contains a substance that may increase the activity of NF-kappa B (a protein complex shown to play a key role in immunological processes). Known as aloeride, this substance is classified as a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate).
However, due to the lack of clinical trials testing the health effects of aloe juice consumption, it's not known whether drinking aloe juice might help strengthen the human immune system.
Aloe Juice vs. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe juice should not be confused with aloe vera gel, a natural product that may help treat sunburns, psoriasis and other skin conditions when applied topically. There's also some evidence that taking aloe vera gel in supplement form may help ease constipation, regulate blood sugar among people with diabetes, lower cholesterol levels and aid in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Aloe-emodin, aloin and aloe latex (all substances naturally present in aloe juice) are classified as anthraquinones, a type of powerful laxative. Since these substances may have toxic effects, medical experts typically avoid consuming aloe juice that contains anthraquinones.
There's also some concern that drinking aloe juice may lower blood sugar levels and trigger gastrointestinal problems (such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea).
Where to Find Aloe Juice
Widely available for purchase online, aloe juice can also be found in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.
When purchasing aloe juice, it's crucial to avoid products that contain aloe latex, aloin or aloe-emoin compounds. Additionally, aloe gel should not be taken directly from the plant as a home remedy, as the gel can be contaminated with aloe latex. Only gel or juice preparations specifically for internal use should be consumed.
Using Aloe Juice for Health
It's important to note that using aloe juice as substitute for standard treatment of a chronic condition may have serious health consequences.
Baldwin AS Jr. "The NF-kappa B and I kappa B proteins: new discoveries and insights." Annu Rev Immunol. 1996;14:649-83.
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." Int J Toxicol. 2007;26 Suppl 2:1-50.
National Institutes of Health. "Aloe: MedlinePlus Supplements". September 2011.
Pugh N, Ross SA, ElSohly MA, Pasco DS. "Characterization of Aloeride, a new high-molecular-weight polysaccharide from Aloe vera with potent immunostimulatory activity." J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Feb;49(2):1030-4.