Ask A Healer Side Effects Series
Aloe Vera Gel and Juice Side Effects and Cautions
by N J Howell
This is part of a series of short articles on side effects of natural remedies As stated elsewhere, these are not intended to be exhaustive side effect lists. Please do consult with your doctor if considering the addition of aloe vera to your health regimen, whether or not a contraindication is listed here.
Aloe Vera Juice and Gel Benefits, Cautions and Side Effects:
Aloe vera juice has a very healing effect internally and many people drink it for intestinal and stomach health. The gel of the aloe plant is used topically for pain relief and healing in cases of sunburns, rashes, bites and burns. Side Effects of Aloe Supplements may include but are not limited to the following:
Colon Wall Discoloration -
One of the main side effects of aloe, and it's not just a potential side effect but more a consistent reaction, is that it shades the inside of the colon. In other words, consuming aloe vera juice can change the color of the inside of the colon wall. This is not harmful, according to anything I've ever read. Where this temporary colon wall discoloration may be a problem is if you have to have a colonoscopy. The discoloration may make it harder for the technician to read the results of the colonoscopy.
The other potential side effects of aloe seem much more associated with larger, longterm dosing and can include:
* abdominal cramping or diarrhea (I've never had this and I've drank 8 ounces of aloe juice neat),
* changes in the color of your urine - Changes in urine may also indicate health conditions that need medical attention so if the changes persist after you stop taking aloe, get yourself checked out.
* temporary electolyte imbalances - This would be most important for those who need to watch their potassium levels. Check with doctor if you have any type of mineral deficiency, before using aloe and, in particular, if you have been told to watch your potassium levels.
Caution on Aloe Vera Product Variance:
Pure Aloe Gel, containing only Aloe is your best bet because all Aloe Products are not created equal. When using aloe vera gel topically, side effects seem far more likely when using a preparation that is not 100% pure aloe gel but contains other ingredients, in particular lidocain. A lot of popular sunburn sprays contain lidocain for sunburn pain. These products may be exponentially more apt to cause problems, and even severe problems for those sensitive to lidocain, than a pure aloe gel.
Rarely, an individual might experience skin irritation even after using an a pure aloe gel. If irritation happens, use of the aloe gel should be stopped.
Even more rarely, but possible, allergic aloe reactions are more serious and may include face swelling, chest tightness, severe rash or hives.
If you have a serious wound, you might want to forego aloe until it heals. Though not proven one way or the other, as far as I can tell from research on various sites, there is some question that aloe may impede wound healing.
Although aloe juice is considered safe, aloe latex is another thing. Medline Plus. Drinking aloe latex (extracte from a different part of the aloe plant) may cause stomach cramps and could be linked to cancer risks as well. Medline article says there really isn't a safe dose of straight aloe latex that could be suggested and that laxatives containing aloe latex should be avoided as well. Other risks of drinking a lot of aloe latex includ kidney pain, problems or even kidney damage if too much is ingested.
Additional Herbal Side Effects Information: Blueberry > Ginger > Goji Juice > Holy Basil
Health Disclaimer: The potential side effects mentioned on this page may not be all the side effects that exist when taking aloe vera juice or using a topical cream containing aloe. Ask your doctor or consult with a qualified natural healing practitioner if concerned about side effects from aloe.