The aloe vera plant is a succulent plant species from the genus Aloe. It grows abundantly in tropical climates and has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant.
Aloe vera juice is a gooey, thick liquid made from the flesh of the aloe vera plant leaf. It’s commonly known to treat sunburns. But drinking this healthy elixir in juice form provides you with a number of other health benefits.
Aloe vera juice is made by crushing or grinding the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant, followed by various steps to purify and filter the liquid. With a mild, tolerable flavor, the juice mixes easily into smoothies and shakes. This makes aloe vera juice a practical whole food supplement.
What are the health benefits of drinking aloe vera juice?
Here are nine reasons to drink pure, uncolored, low anthraquinone aloe vera juice.
A body with an acidic pH is a breeding ground for disease. It’s an atmosphere where illness thrives. Help keep your body balanced by eating and drinking alkaline foods and beverages such as aloe vera juice.
Other smart alkaline food choices include:
- leafy greens
- root vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- apple cider vinegar
- coconut vinegar
The aloe plant is very water-dense, so it’s an ideal way to prevent or treat dehydration. Staying hydrated helps your body detox by providing a way for you to purge and flush out impurities. The juice also packs a hefty punch of nutrients that optimize your body’s organ output.
This is crucial, because your kidneys and liver are largely responsible for the task of detoxifying your blood and producing urine. For this reason, you need to keep them healthy.
Recovery from heavy exercise also requires rehydration through the intake of extra fluids. Your body requires more fluids in order to flush and rid itself of the lactic acid buildup from exercising. Try aloe vera juice instead of coconut water after your next hard workout.
3. Liver function
When it comes to detoxing, healthy liver function is key. Aloe vera juice is an excellent way to keep your liver healthy. That’s because the liver functions best when the body is adequately nourished and hydrated. Aloe vera juice is ideal for the liver because it’s hydrating and rich in phytonutrients.
4. For constipation
Drinking aloe vera juice helps increase the water content in your intestines. Research has shown the relationship between increasing the intestinal water content and the stimulation of peristalsis, which helps you pass stool normally.
If you’re constipated or have problems with frequent constipation, try incorporating aloe vera juice into your daily routine. Aloe also helps normalize the healthy bacteria in your gut, keeping your healthy intestinal flora balanced.
5. For clear skin
Aloe vera is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that may help protect your skin. The important compounds in aloe vera have also been shown to neutralize the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, repair your skin from existing UV damage, and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
6. Nutritious boost
Aloe vera juice is jam-packed with nutrients. Drinking it is an excellent way to make sure you don’t become deficient. It contains important vitamins and minerals like vitamins B, C, E, and folic acid.
It also contains small amounts of:
Aloe vera is one of the only plant sources of vitamin B-12, too. This is excellent news for vegetarians and vegans.
Keeping your food and drink intake nutrient-rich is key in combating most preventable diseases.
7. Heartburn relief
Drinking aloe vera juice may give you relief when heartburn attacks. The compounds present in aloe vera juice help control secretion of acid in your stomach. The effects have even been shown to combat gastric ulcers and keep them from getting larger.
8. Digestive benefits
Aloe vera contains several enzymes known to help in the breakdown of sugars and fats and to keep your digestion running smoothly. If your digestive system isn’t operating optimally, you won’t absorb all of the nutrients from the food you’re eating. You’ve got to keep your internal engine healthy in order to reap the benefits from your diet.
Aloe vera may help decrease irritation in the stomach and intestines. The juice may also help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory disorders of the intestines. One study in 33 IBS patients found that aloe vera juice helped reduce the pain and discomfort of IBS. The study was not placebo-controlled, so more research is needed.
9. Beauty hacks
Keeping aloe vera juice on hand can also be good for a number of beauty and health needs.
Try using it for the following:
- makeup primer (apply before foundation)
- makeup remover
- sunburn soother
- lightweight moisturizer
- treatment for irritated scalp (mix in a few drops of peppermint oil)
What are the side effects of drinking aloe vera juice?
Decolorized (purified, low anthraquinone) whole leaf aloe vera is considered safe. A recent study in mice fed various concentrations of purified aloe vera for three months, in fact, showed no adverse effects at all from the juice.
Colored vs. decolorized aloe juice
On the other hand, nondecolorized, unpurified aloe vera juice can have many unpleasant side effects, including:
Diarrhea can lead to severe pain, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.
Researchers have concluded that the side effects caused by unpurified aloe vera juice are a result of the presence of anthraquinone, which is considered a laxative. Though anthraquinone is an organic compound naturally found in the leaf of the aloe vera plant, it’s considered toxic and should be avoided.
Studies show that purified and decolorized juice is a safer option when compared to colored aloe vera. When shopping, look for the following statements on the label:
- safety tested
Drug interactions with aloe vera juice
Aloe juice has been shown to interact with certain medications. If you are taking any drug that is considered a substrate of Cytochrome P450 3A4 and CYP2D6, do not drink aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice may increase the risk of side effects of these drugs.
Aloe may also add to the effects of sevoflurane, causing excessive bleeding during surgery. If you are taking sevoflurane, check with your doctor before drinking aloe juice.
How much sugar is in aloe vera juice?
Unlike most juices, a 4-ounce serving of aloe vera juice contains no sugar and only a few calories. If you’re watching your sugar intake, aloe vera juice is a healthy choice.
Where to find aloe vera juice
Aloe vera juice can be purchased online or in most health food markets. When shopping for aloe vera juice, it’s important to consider the quality of the product.
Look for organic, pure, and 100 percent aloe juice. It’s important to drink pure aloe vera juice rather than a blend that has fillers. Read the label carefully.
For a health boost, drink up to 8 ounces of aloe vera juice per day. You can pour it over ice, mix it in with your smoothie or favorite juice, or just drink it from the bottle.
This article originally appeared at Healthline.com