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Aloe For Digestion: Can Aloe Vera Juice Promote Gut Health 2022?

Emma

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

aloe vera gut healing

Leaky gut syndrome got you down? Adequate gut health support is one of the most important aspects of a holistically happy lifestyle. 

Aloe vera is famous when it comes to healing burns. The health benefits of aloe vera go far beyond topical aloe vera administration, however. Aloe vera products can be used for everything from healing leaky gut syndrome to improving joint health to skin regeneration and rejuvenation. 

Why try aloe? There are so many reasons. Your immune system will thank you.

What Is Aloe Barbadensis Miller?

Aloe vera extracts have been used by human beings since time immemorial. The ancient Egyptians, Greek royalty, and healers in India[1], China, and Japan have been using aloe vera medicinally for over two thousand years[2] as a purgative and skin protectant. Its name is Arabic and Latin in origin; “aloe” means “shining bitter substance”, while “vera” simply means “true”. 

There are over four hundred different cultivars of aloe vera, but the barbadensis miller variety is the aloe species that most will recognize as the most common genus. Aloe can be identified by its tough, scalloped fronds and cactus-like appearance. Each meaty appendage can be sliced down, revealing the gelatinous, amino acid-rich substance inside. These plants produce juice, the desired extract so valued by those of the past.

Aloe is extremely easy to grow outside in temperate regions. It can also be grown indoors with enough time, love, and care; to harvest it, simply pull off one of its leaves, slice into it lengthwise, and scrape the aloe gel out with a spoon. 

What Can Aloe Vera Be Used For?

Aloe vera juice and aloe latex can be used to treat a myriad of problems. As with any homeopathic remedy, however, your results may vary. At any rate, it’s certainly worth noting that clinical and anecdotal evidence in favor of aloe treatment is abundant and very convincing.

Beauty

Far from a mere placebo cream, the aloe plant is known for its many anti-aging[3] properties, in traditional Indian medicine especially. Aloe vera juice is moisturizing and highly nourishing for all types of skin.

Skin Diseases

Skin conditions, fungal diseases, and surgical wounds can be treated with aloe products to prevent infection and to hasten the healing process.

Wound-Healing Management

Thermal and radiation burns, including sunburn, can be relieved with aloe vera gel; insect bites can also be soothed and made less itchy with the help of aloe. 

Chronic Psoriasis

Aloe keeps the skin hydrated and may help lessen the severity of the symptoms of psoriasis.

Digestive System

Aloe for digestion? Your gut lining stands to benefit greatly. The digestive tract, susceptible to many types of inflammatory bowel disease, can be settled by ingesting the compounds that aloe vera contains. It’s also a great prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract so that they flourish.

Ulcerative Colitis

The delicate mucous membranes of the digestive system have been shown to respond well to aloe vera juice[4]. Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut may experience a similarly beneficial effect. 

Laxative

Aloe vera latex is a powerful stimulant laxative. Phenolphthalein is the active ingredient responsible for this laxative effect. Compared to similar over-the-counter remedies, you may find that this natural approach is easier on your system and will leave you less prone to dehydration.

Whether you would like to boost your immune function or mitigate the effects of leaky gut or other inflammatory disorders, aloe vera juice is one cure-all that you can rely on fearlessly.

What’s In Aloe Vera Juice?

Laden with a number of incredibly beneficial compounds, aloe juice contains all of the following:

  • Amino Acids: 20 of the 22 essential amino acids are represented in aloe vera extract. Other fatty acids found here include cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol, and lupeol.
  • Salicylic Acids: This is the same substance that makes your favorite face wash feel so effective, thorough, and cleansing.
  • Folic Acid: This antioxidant is said to help prevent heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is essential to the skin’s healing process. Aloe also contains many other antioxidant vitamins, all of which support healthy skin and a clear complexion. This cocktail of vitamins all work together to improve immune function and cognitive ability.
  • Minerals: Aloe vera provides many minerals necessary for optimal health throughout the body – zinc, selenium, potassium, calcium, and more are all found abundantly in aloe vera products. Zinc, especially, has been shown to improve the condition[5] of those who hope to use aloe vera juice to manage the leaky gut syndrome.
  • Enzymes: Much of aloe’s anti-inflammatory talent can be attributed to the enzymes found naturally in aloe pulp. 
  • Hormones: The hormones in aloe vera facilitate the treatment of wounds and burns. Wounds treated with aloe tend to heal themselves more quickly than those that go without.

Aloe Vera Side Effects

Ingesting aloe vera juice or using aloe topically will not expose you to any major risk factors unless you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic to aloe vera juice to begin with. Those who should reconsider aloe include:

Pregnancy

If you‘re pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend that you avoid aloe vera juice and aloe latex under all circumstances. Aloe stimulates contractions of the uterine lining, which may complicate your pregnancy.

Allergic Reactions

A dangerous immune response to aloe vera is uncommon but not unheard of. If you’re allergic to aloe vera, you may experience stinging, swelling, hives, and irritation at the site of application. If you’re feeling wary, test the aloe on a very small section of your skin first and discontinue your use immediately if any of these symptoms present themselves.

Diabetics

As mentioned previously, aloe vera juice can also be used to manage your blood sugar. If this effect is left unchecked, you may experience complications related to any drugs that you might be taking to regulate your serum triglyceride concentrations[6], including your insulin. Aloe may also actually increase the absorption rate of certain types of steroid cream, paradoxically decreasing their effectiveness and potentially robbing your body of potassium in the process.

Aside from these scenarios, there is little to concern yourself with here. Those taking aloe vera juice orally may experience cramps and, rarely, diarrhea, but that should be the extent of it. These symptoms should subside when you stop taking aloe therapeutically. If they do not, reach out to your physician to get to the bottom of the matter.

Compared to traditional commercial drug therapy, the side effects of aloe vera are usually minimal and will likely be negligible for most people. The benefits of aloe vera on the skin, the digestive system, and the immune system far outweigh any possible risk of complication.


+ 6 sources

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  1. R. Rajeswari , M. Umadevi, C. Sharmila Rahale , R.Pushpa , S. Selvavenkadesh , K. P. Sampath Kumar , Debjit Bhowmik.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry.Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debjit-Bhowmik-3/publication/304253232_Aloe_Vera_The_Miracle_Plant_Its_Medicinal_and_Traditional_Uses_in_India/links/576ad9d108aefcf135bd4f10/Aloe-Vera-The-Miracle-Plant-Its-Medicinal-and-Traditional-Uses-in-India.pdf
  2. Surjushe, A., Vasani, R. and Saple, D. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, [online] 53(4), p.163. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
  3. ‌Granthaalayahpublication.org. (2021). View of ALOE VERA: A MEDICINAL HERB. [online] Available at: https://www.granthaalayahpublication.org/journals/index.php/granthaalayah/article/view/IJRG15_C11_28/2805
  4. ‌Bahrami, G., Malekshahi, H., Miraghaee, S., Madani, H., Babaei, A., Mohammadi, B. and Hatami, R. (2020). Protective and Therapeutic Effects of Aloe Vera Gel on Ulcerative Colitis Induced by Acetic Acid in Rats. Clinical Nutrition Research, [online] 9(3), p.223. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402976/
  5. ‌Skrovanek, S. (2014). Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, [online] 5(4), p.496. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4231515/
  6. ‌Google.com. (2021). Redirecting. [online] Available at: https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ali-Alhayany/post/Use_of_Aloe_Vera_Flower/attachment/5b265459b53d2f63c3d18e9d/AS%253A638487191621633%25401529238617392/download/v10&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1633170824458000&usg=AOvVaw2R4wg-2oLKVALeQjBrhScQ
Emma

Medically reviewed by:

Emma Garofalo is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of science, art, and all things culinary, few things excite her more than the opportunity to learn about something new." It is now in the sheet in the onboarding paperwork, apologies!!

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