Aloe is a plant genus, though when discussing herbs, the term is often used interchangeably with the species aloe vera. The aloe plant is native to Africa and features long, green leaves with spikes along the edges.1 The leaves contain a gel that is commonly used topically for medicinal purposes.1 When aloe leaves are cut and the liquid evaporates, it leaves a sticky residue known as latex, which is also contains healing properties.1 Aloe juice is juice derived from the plant that you can drink for its medicinal benefits.
The aloe plant can be used topically or taken orally. Among aloe juice benefits, it contains substances called glycoproteins, which help reduce pain and inflammation to speed the healing process.2 It also has a positive reputation for helping support the digestive system and treat a range of digestive problems, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcers.3 It’s also believed to help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and the gel is said to inhibit bacteria that leads to dental cavities.2
When taken in its juice form, it can help with a variety of ailments, including the following conditions:
Aloe juice is safe to drink in recommended doses. However, taking aloe orally can result in rare side effects. Among aloe juice side effects, it can cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhea,2 so if using aloe juice for constipation, avoid taking too much at once. Do not use aloe juice for more than ten days straight.4 In rare cases, aloe juice side effects can include allergic reaction.4 Do not drink aloe juice if you are pregnant. It may stimulate uterine contractions and cause a miscarriage.2 Breast feeding mothers should also avoid aloe juice as there is not enough research on its safety for infants.2 Kidney damage can occur when taking aloe juice in high doses.2 Aloe may interact with other medications, so talk to your doctor before taking aloe juice if you’re already using other medications for diabetes or taking diuretics.2 Various aloe juice products can have different concentrations of the plant present in the juice, so check the product labeling or talk to your doctor to learn more about proper dosage suggestions.