There are many claims that aloe vera is a laxative. Does it work? Is it safe?
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant native to East Africa that has many medicinal properties. It’s most famous for help with pain relief and healing of burns on the skin, but there are those that claim you can use it internally as a laxative.
If constipation has been a chronic issue for you, aloe vera does have benefits, but I would advise against using this plant as a laxative.
Can Aloe Be Used As A Laxative For Constipation?
First, I want to make sure you are aware that while there is no problem with cutting a piece of aloe from a plant and using the soothing gel topically on cuts and first, second, and even third-degree burns.
However, if you have been convinced of its laxative effects, please know that it is not safe to consume it unless it has been processed.
If you have your own aloe vera plant in your house or garden, do NOT take a whole blade and juice or blend it and drink.
There is a latex coating just under the skin of the leaves that contain a toxin called aloin that has a laxative effect. Juicing a blade of aloe vera will lead to very, very severe cramping. Even cutting a leaf and trying to scoop out your own gel and ingesting it is not recommended. Save that stuff for making your own soothing salve or face cream.
Besides severe cramping, ingesting whole leaf aloe can cause dehydration, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, and damage to your kidneys.
Also, keep in mind that if you are on certain medications, aloe can interfere with their effectiveness and can even make the side effects from those medications worse. It’s important to do some research on your specific medication and aloe vera.
So yes, aloe vera contains a stimulant-laxative. But no, aloe vera shouldn’t be used as a laxative.
Safety Of Aloe Vera Juice
However, there are healing benefits to the commercial juices if you’ve had some chronic digestive issues.
It’s best that you get a commercially prepared aloe vera juice that is decolorized and purified and therefore, safe to drink. Look for one that has gone through a filtration process to remove the anthraquinones and lowers the amount of aloin to 1 part per million or less.
The United States Food and Drug Administration announced that aloin is a carcinogen in 2002 and is not considered safe. So if you buy a commercial aloe juice from the store today for its healing properties, it doesn’t contain aloin and there’s no cause for concern.
You can include aloe vera juice in your diet as a way to help soothe your gut and intestines after years of damage, as long as you are aware that there may be possible side effects and long-term use isn’t recommended.
Digestive Benefits Of Aloe Vera Juice
Some people swear by aloe vera juice for relief of constipation. I believe this may just be because of its hydrating effects. More water in the intestines the better when it comes to this problem. If you’ve had luck with this, please share your experiences in the comments!
There have been a few studies done on the treatment of IBS with aloe vera but the results were mixed and either didn’t have a placebo-control group or were only tested on rats. One study showed positive results for those with ulcerative colitis.
Have You Tried It?
Aloe Vera is a beautiful plant with many healing properties. It seems that using a commercially prepared juice once in a while for the digestive system and to aid with constipation is safe. Long-term use is discouraged and could have some damaging effects if you’re consuming the whole-leaf juice.
Everyone is different, so I’d like to hear all your experiences with aloe vera and if it has worked for you, or if you’ve experienced any side effects from it.
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