We’ve all done it. Skipped over the directions on that social studies quiz back in high school. Bypassed the contract when signing up for new computer software. Ignored the instructions on how to put together new Ikea furniture. How important can reading the fine print really be, right? You might not have suffered any major consequences in these situations (a semi-lopsided dresser still works!), but when it comes to your health, taking shortcuts is no longer an option. If you are trying out aloe vera gel–the clear, gel-like substance found in the middle of aloe vera leaves–checking the label for dosage recommendations, ingredients, side effects, and warnings is important. Don’t let this all-natural plant product fool you: although known for naturally treating skin condition and as a general body and digestive cleanse, aloe vera gel can still have adverse health effects if used incorrectly. When it comes to your health, no more being lazy. Let’s read the label, and find out aloe vera gel warnings.
Aloe Vera Gel Warnings: What Your Might Find on The Label
Because the aloe vera plant is not approved by the FDA as a medicine and its health benefits are derived from often contradicting research findings, there are some things you will want to keep in mind when using it. You might see these aloe vera gel warnings on the label:
For topical application:
- side effects include burning and itching of the skin
- avoid applying directly to skin if infection is already present
- not for use on severe (third-degree) burns
For oral intake:
- do not apply to the lips (licking leads to ingestion!)
- ingesting aloe vera gel in high dosages can be dangerous
- do not take if pregnant or breast-feeding
- if you have digestive medical conditions
- may cause abdominal cramps, pain or diarrhea
- keep an eye on your renal health
That second set of bullet points might confuse you. Aloe latex (the yellow substance located right beneath the aloe leaf’s surface) is often known as the unsafe part of the aloe vera plant due to its laxative properties, not aloe vera gel. Now all of a sudden aloe vera gel should not be taken internally either? For goodness sake, aloe gel is commonly seen in drinks (especially when you want a cleansing juice)! There are, however, three main reasons why your aloe vera gel label might read as so:
Reason #1: Most Dangerous in High Dosages
Many of the problems associated with ingesting aloe vera gel occur only when it is used in excess. Exceed the recommended dosage of aloe vera gel, and your body will not be a happy camper. This is because aloe vera gel is very potent and strong, so it is only needed in small amounts and for short periods of time. So, for example, when juicing with aloe vera gel, you do not want to overdo it: you want to give your body long breaks between drinks to reap the health benefits and not suffer the side effects of aloe vera gel.
Reason #2: Intruder Alert! Aloe Latex Snuck In!
There is also a chance that some aloe latex slipped in during the processing of your store-bought aloe vera gel. If you have ever extracted aloe vera gel yourself, you know just how difficult it can be to keep the two parts of the aloe vera plant–aloe vera gel and aloe latex–separate. If some aloe latex does sneak it to your aloe vera gel, you might experience more laxative or digestive side effects than you normally would with pure aloe vera gel. The warning label is there to keep you on the lookout for signs of that aloe latex intruder!
Reason #3: Whoops! Wrong One! Check that Your have the Right Product
Make sure you grabbed the right package of aloe vera gel when you went to the health food store! If you picked correctly, it should clearly state that it is “edible’ aloe vera gel. If it does not, it might not be safe for ingesting (e.g. it might not be pure aloe vera gel, meaning that aloe latex could be inside as well; it could be a cream or another type of topical version of aloe vera gel). Return it for a bottle that says it is meant to be taken orally. Simple as that!
Now that you know the ins and outs of label-reading, get to it!