If you run into kidney trouble after taking aloe orally (whether in a pill or drink form), you can point your finger at aloe latex. That’s right, put the blame on this yellow substance found right below the surface of aloe leaves . Within aloe latex lies the active ingredient of anthraquinone, which functions as a laxative. Due to aloe latex’s laxative potential, consuming aloe in high dosages (especially within a short time frame) can wreak havoc not only on your digestive tract but your kidneys.
The FDA banned all over-the-counter drugs that used aloe latex as the active ingredient in their products. Their decision was grounded in evidence that suggested the danger of this part of the otherwise medicinal herb: research has shown it to cause cancer and lead to kidney damage, even death. To avoid any health complications, it seems best to follow the FDA’s lead and ban aloe latex from your diet.
But staying away from aloe latex may not be as easy as you think. Even if you think you are safe by only consuming aloe gel (the other medicinal part of the aloe plant), you can still end up in the doctor’s office: aloe gel can still contain laxative properties, as it is easy for latex to be inadvertently mixed in during its preparation. If you extract aloe gel on your own, you know just how difficult it is to make sure the aloe gel and aloe latex stay separate. So, whether you are making an aloe juice yourself or buying it pre-packaged, aloe latex can sneak in. And it won’t stay secret for long: symptoms of digestive or kidney problems encountered from aloe latex consumption will shortly rear their ugly heads.
Aloe and Kidney Health: Aloe Latex Does Not Solve Kidney Problems
There may be a dozen ways aloe can improve your overall health, but solving your kidney problems is not one of them. Individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions are typically advised to avoid this herb, as it may exacerbate, not help their kidney issues.
Aloe Latex Can Lead to Kidney Disease
If aloe latex does nothing but irritate kidney diseases one already has, it makes sense that damage to otherwise healthy kidneys can also occur if high dosages of aloe latex are consumed, especially over a short period of time.
Note: As a laxative, aloe can cause dehydration. If you are drinking aloe juice, it will have the opposite effect of a normal juice: it will dehydrate instead of hydrate you. Therefore, to prevent kidney damage or other adverse health effects while taking aloe by mouth it is important to stay hydrated. Keep a jug of water next to your aloe juice to ensure you keep the water levels in your body where they should be! Water, water, and more water!
If aloe latex strikes your kidneys, you might experience the following symptom:
- reddish colored urine
A change in urine color could indicate that you have stumbled into a kidney problem from taking aloe orally. Although the color is usually harmless, with the possibility of kidney damage out there, stop ingesting the herb, and seek medical attention right away.
A Tidbit of Information on Digestive Health and Aloe Latex
If it’s not your kidneys, it might be your intestinal tract that suffers from your frequent and excessive intake of aloe. Aloe latex can also irritate the intestine. Because aloe latex causes potassium and other mineral loss, the muscle tone of your intestine can disintegrate, resulting in much digestive trouble. If your intestine is not functioning properly, you will encounter some toilet troubles. For one, aloe latex shortens intestinal transit time (i.e., the time it takes for your waste to be excreted); pills will therefore not be absorbed as well due to how quick they come and go from the body. Furthermore, if you already have intestinal inflammation from a prior medical condition (e.g. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, intestinal blockage), consuming aloe latex will be dangerous. Continued use of aloe latex can result in irreversible digestive damage.