Ah, the juicing bandwagon! Have you heard of it? It is all the rage these days. If you are looking for the fast-track to a healthy body, try juicing–or so they say. But here are some things you should know before you hop on the aloe juice trend. While it is true that aloe has hefty health benefits–from relieving constipation to aiding digestion– this medicinal herb can have adverse effects if not taken in the proper dosages.
Be Safe: Aloe Vera Dosage
Many companies that sell aloe juice suggest drinking their bottled concoction regularly, but is that just a sale’s gimmick? Are regular aloe drinks really good for your health? Not quite. Moderation and short-term use are key when taking aloe orally.
In this day and age we tend to associate any healthy food, herb, or supplement with quantity: the more, the merrier, you might say. So, when consuming aloe juice your immediate reaction may be to throw caution to the wind and down it, thinking that by doing so you will either (1) get more of its health benefits, or (2) see quicker results. Unfortunately, this potent herb (and most others) does not work that way. When using aloe as an oral plant medication (especially for digestive ailments or to improve intestinal health), you should only be taking it for a short period of time. After 1 or 2 weeks, stop treatment and wait at least a month before diving back into your aloe drink.
Monitor Your Body
While you are taking aloe and when you are giving your body time to recover from its intensive herbal treatment, pay attention to your body. Using the time frame above will help you gauge when it is safe to resume your aloe drinking and avoid complications; however, your body knows best. If your body does not seem ready (e.g. you gag the next time you try to throw aloe juice down your throat), give it more time. Space will do you some good when it comes to your relationship with aloe vera. When in doubt, space it out!
Know Your Aloe: Not all Aloe is for Internal Use
Aloe has two parts: a clear, gel-substance found in the middle of the plant leaf, which is called aloe gel and aloe latex, a yellow substance found right under the skin of the leaf. When making aloe juice yourself, you want to scrape the aloe gel from your aloe leaf, paying careful attention to avoid that aloe latex. If you are purchasing aloe from the store to use, make sure it is the edible kind. Pick up the wrong stuff, and your health-boosting juice will become a health nightmare.
Consequences of Long Term (or Heavy) Use of Aloe Vera
- loss of electrolytes (especially potassium when taken with water pills or diuretics for heart conditions)
- cause diarrhea
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, consuming large amount of aloe juice can cause diarrhea. Why? Aloe latex (the active ingredient in laxative aloe juice and similar products) contains anthraquinone, a laxative substance that can consequently result in diarrhea. Symptoms of diarrhea include cramping, pain, and dehydration; discontinue use of aloe juice and consult a doctor if this occurs.
To help prevent diarrhea from aloe vera juice (whether or not it contains aloe latex), hydrate well. Aloe juice should not be drunk in place of water. Be sure to sit with an additional jug of water alongside your thermos of aloe vera juice at work to avoid dehydration. This little fact also means you do not want to forgo all other food and drink and diet with this juice. Aloe is not the plant for that. Diet elsewhere.
Avoid Taking Aloe Internally:
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- during menstruation
- if you have hemorrhoids, degeneration of the liver and gall bladder
Aloe Vera Juice Precautions: Drug Interactions
Of course, aloe is no different from other herbal supplements in that it can have adverse interactions with other medications (i.e., aloe can increase of inhibit their effects). Check with your doctor or nutritionist before adding aloe to your diet if your are taking prescription or over-the -counter drugs.
We all know the cliché “Too much of anything is never a good thing.” And it’s a saying that sums up what there is to say about aloe vera juice.