I am sure you have heard about the various health benefits of aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice. Some of the most common health benefits include treatment of hair fall, skin care, weight loss and cure of other health issues like blood pressure, cholesterol, constipation and diabetes. But did you know that there are some side effects of aloe vera? We all know aloe vera as magical herb which is loaded with medicinal properties and offers a number of health benefits. But did you know there may be side effects of aloe vera gel, juice and its latex? Well that’s what we are discussing in this post.
Aloe Vera is a species of plant of the genus Aloe. It is popularly known as “Indian Aloe” in English, “Ghrita kumari” in Hindi, “Kumari” in Sanskrit and “Lolesara” in Kanada. It is a hugely beneficial green plant which is grown all over the world for its agricultural and medicinal benefits. It is widely grown in tropical climate.
Besides medicinal benefits, it is sometimes kept at homes as a potted plant serving its decorative purpose. It is often found in various products used by consumers like ointments, skin lotions and cosmetics for suntan, sun burns and other minor burns.
But there are some side effects of using aloe vera as well. Not everything suits everyone and hence this post. If you are planning to use aloe vera in any form, then this is the post worth reading.
Side effects of aloe vera
However, due to lack of sufficient scientific evidence regarding the safety of using Aloe Vera extracts, it has become a hugely debatable topic. Researches and studies focusing on the positive effects of Aloe Vera are often counteracted and challenged by other studies. So, let me share with you an unbiased report on the various side effects of Aloe Vera.
As already discussed there are contradictory studies, so let me brief you about Aloe Vera and side effects of aloe vera latex, aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera latex
It is one of the substances that the plant produces. It is generally yellowish and comes underneath the skin or the inner lining of the plant leaves. Latex if applied externally in a proper manner can be somewhat safe. However, studies have found that its intake can cause many side effects even while taking it on minor doses.
- Latex was previously sold as a laxative as it contains anthraquinone, a cathartic laxative. Later the US Food and Drug Administration popularly known as the FDA banned it.
- It is known to cause hepatitis, reduction in glucose level and thyroid dysfunction. According to a Nigerian study, using Aloe Vera can aggravate the risk of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.
- Besides stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, kidney failure and decrease in potassium levels are also said to be the other side effects of Latex.
- Medline Plus has already warned that some chemicals in Latex might be carcinogenic. According to reports, it increases the risk of colon cancer.
- Aloe Vera may result into electrolyte imbalance more so in people who are already a patient of diarrhea. Eventually it can cause decrease in potassium level. Are you under medication that increases excretion of potassium? If yes, then you must be extra cautious.
- I am sure many pregnant ladies are reading the article and so this point goes for you. Please do not consume Aloe Latex during pregnancy. According to Maryland Medical Center, It may lead to uterine contractions, which may lead to miscarriage. Several birth defects may be caused due to this as well.
Aloe vera gel
It is one of the other substances that the plant produces besides Latex. It is a slick substance from the interior of the Aloe leaf. Aloe Vera Gel is perhaps known as the best tropical solution, which can soothe all kinds of burns. It is rich in minerals like (zinc, selenium and magnesium), enzymes like (super oxide, dismutase and catalase), vitamins like (B2, B6, E and C) and last but not the least amino acids like (cysteine and anthraquinones). However, according to Medline Plus there are many disadvantages as well.
- Prolonged usage of Aloe Vera gel is said to cause various skin allergies, rashes, inflammation and hives. It can redden your eyelids as well as cause dryness, hardening, spitting and occurrence of purple spots on your skin. People allergenic to garlic, onions or tulips are found to get most affected by Aloe Gel. Are you having a sensitive skin? Then it is better to avoid this product
- Aloe vera is widely used to prevent hair loss and for battling the problem of dandruff. However are you very sure that this would not take a back seat? If yes, then think again because the product, which is used for the betterment of hair quality, is reported to cause a reverse effect leading to severe hair loss. It has often been said to cause dryness of the scalp often leading to severe itching.
- Talking about skin problems one skin disease, which is very common nowadays especially with teenagers, is the breakout of severe acne. Many people specially girls use Aloe Gel in the hope of curing acne. However you must be very careful cause it may cause an increase of the skin problem often causing extreme dryness and reddening of the acne. It may cause permanent marks on your face so it is best if used on expert advice.
- It can decelerate the process of the healing of the various surgical wounds according to reports.
Aloe vera juice
It is a gooey, thick liquid that is extracted by crushing or grinding the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant followed by various steps of purifying and filtering the liquid. Besides curing sunburns, drinking this juice is said to have a wide range of health benefits making it a practically whole food supplement. However, are you aware that this otherwise hugely beneficial juice may also be the cause of health issues? If not, then it might help you as we discuss the side effects of Aloe Vera Juice.
- The inner leaf of Aloe Vera has laxative effects according to Medline Plus. It is always better to consume juice made from the Gel rather than consuming large amounts of whole leaf Aloe Vera Juice alone as it can lead to abdominal cramping, diarrhea and loose stools. Moreover, if you suddenly stop drinking the juice it might lead to laxative dependency and constipation.
- Glucose level in blood is reduced if you drink Aloe Vera Juice. Medline Plus has warned people suffering from hypoglycemia and those taking medicines like metformin or insulin to regulate blood sugar to not drink the aloe vera juice.
- Aloe Vera Juice heals many skin problems but in many cases, it has created harmful effects. Skin irritation may occur. Further applying aloe juice to the face after a skin peel (dermabrasion) may result to redness or burning. Besides, applying the juice before going out in the sun cause rashes. Skin rashes, allergies or hives, itchy or swollen skin, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the throat or chest or chest pain are some the other common side effects of the aloe juice. Therefore, if you have experienced any of these effects, it is indeed a matter of medical emergency.
- Studies have also shown that consumption of this juice over a long period of time may inhibit the absorption of some drugs in the body. So, please stop using the juice without taking expert medical help.
- People, who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal problems, should avoid drinking the juice in large amounts as it contains laxatives that can increase the problem.
Therefore, now you know the various side effects of the Aloe Vera. It is not that these are completely harmful. There are people who has benefited from the products which has led to the huge popularity of Aloe Vera but my motive is to create awareness. You should never trust things blindly. It is always necessary to do research on things before using those. The main advice that I will like to give to you is that use the products taking expert medical help.
Use the exact Aloe Vera products as prescribed to you as everyone has unique skin and health issues. Therefore, the product, which is beneficial to one, may not suit you. Learn the proper usage of the products before jumping into conclusions.
Keep the products strictly away from the children. In addition, to all the would-be mothers please be cautious. Intelligent usage of the products will help you to extract the maximum benefits with minimal harm.
Have you used Aloe Vera? Did you face any other side effect, which I may skip in the article? Do share your feedback and experience with me in the comments below.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.