Aloe Vera and Digestion

Image Credit: carrotmadman6 / Flickr

Are there benefits to drinking aloe vera juice?

Any opinions on aloe vera juice?

earthgypsy / Originally posted on Bowel Movements: the scoop on poop


A recent randomized, cross-over, placebo-controlled study failed to find any benefit of aloe vera over placebo in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. There is, however, evidence that peppermint oil may help.

In general, the available science suggests that the purported benefits of aloe are overblown, and given recent reports of aloe-induced hepatitis, I would recommend against ingesting it. Applied topically, though, to second degree (blistering) burns, aloe vera does seem to accelerate healing.

Thank you so much for your question–I’m always happy to look things up for folks!

Image Credit: carrotmadman6 / Flickr


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

21 responses to “Are there benefits to drinking aloe vera juice?

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  1. Is this fresh or processed aloe? I eat fresh aloe gel because of its high amino and polysaccharides content. David wolf’s book on superfoods explains the massive benefits of unprocessed aloe for our bodies. Another key is which variety of aloe, the spotted ones we grow in our garden are the weaker variety.

    Aloe Vera Leaf
    Miner als
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Cal ci u m 4, 600
    Ch l ori n e
    Ch romi u m
    Cobal t
    German i u m
    I ron 300
    Magn esi u m 930
    Man gan ese 0. 6
    Ph osph oru s 940
    Pot assi u m 850
    Sel en i u m 2. 3
    Si l i con 2. 2
    Sodi u m 510
    Su l f u r
    T i n 1 1
    Z i n c 770
    Vit amins
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Vi t ami n B1: T h i ami n 0. 8
    Vi t ami n B2: Ri bof l av i n
    Vi t ami n B3: Ni aci n 64
    Vi t ami n B9: Fol i c Aci d 200
    Vi t ami n C 6, 260
    Vi t ami n E
    Ch ol i n e
    Amino Acids and Amino Acid G r oups
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Al an i n e 15, 769
    Argi n i n e 78, 216
    Asparagi n e
    Aspart i c Aci d
    Creat i n i n e 15
    Gl u t ami c Aci d 43, 256
    Gl u t ami n e 20, 670
    Gl y ci n e 5, 030
    Hi st i di n e 2, 327
    I sol eu ci n e 8, 526
    Leu ci n e 6, 952
    L y si n e 7, 748
    Ph en y l al an i n e 7, 103
    Prol i n e 3, 339
    Seri n e 23, 540
    T h reon i n e 14, 652
    T y rosi n e 5, 073
    Val i n e 12, 769
    Sugar s and Polysacchar ides
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Arabi n ose
    Fru ct ose
    Gl u cose 1, 030
    Gal act ose 100
    Man n ose
    Rh amn ose
    Xy l ose
    Ant ioxidant s
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Bet a-carot en e 3
    Enz ymes
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    Amy l ase 20
    Cat al ase
    Li pase 16
    O t her Biologically Act ive Component s
    I n part s per mi l l i on (ppm) wh en av ai l abl e
    An t h raqu i n on es 300, 000
    Al oi n s 300, 000
    Pu ri n e 56
    Sour ces
    Dr . Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

  2. Information is from David Wolf’s book sorry I forgot to add that at the bottom theres no edit button. I really hope you can find some additional info on Aloe I’d love to hear it since I basically rely on google searches and they all seem to say the same thing as Wolf. Thanks

  3. The aloe-induced hepatitis that you mentioned is related to aloe vera tablets. Heres the two links I found of two incidents:

    Maybe Im biased since Im a believer in fresh aloe. Im sorry for cluttering the comment section, I like you am constantly looking up nutrition information I’m unemployed with a lot of time to kill. Wish I could contribute to your website in another form =)

  4. Dr Greger: I’m curious to know more about the pros and cons of peeling vegetables, particularly carrots, before eating raw or cooked. Any info you can pass along?

  5. Vegans have no need for the laxatives from aloe vera and the laxative part is the main suspect in most cases of problems from aloe vera. There are many warnings on the long term use of the laxatives from aloe vera. The aloe vera gel part can have small amounts of the laxative and most commercial aloe vera juice are filtered to remove the laxative and are probably safer to consume. Some mouthwash products contain aloe vera and I have found aloe vera effective to kill bacteria in the mouth. Aloe ferox is even stronger and even the gel part has lots of laxative and is very bitter. Might be safer to use aloe ferox as mouthwash.

  6. Im new , just signed in..I dont know where to ask you questions?
    Im diabetic it risky for me to consume a tsp fenugreek powder drink twice a day and cinnamon drink too?

  7. Desert Harvest freeze dried aloe vera has saved my life in regards to relieving me of interstitial cystitis problems. It’s a small company in Colorado Springs, CO owned by a nurse. She has many scientific studies on how the product has helped with the issue and also certain types of prostate issues. You can call and personally speak with her and she will tell you how the product is made. They take our certain parts of the aloe very leaf to prevent side effects. is the site.

  8. Is drinking Fresh Aloe juice beneficial? By fresh I mean directly from the plant? I enjoy the drink and was told it has a host of vitamins,

  9. What about Aloe arborescens? There is a study from 2009 on PubMed with better outcomes for metastatic cancer patients who took Aloe arborescens along with chemotherapy compared to patients who only took chemotherapy.

  10. I think more info on aloe is needed. I’m wondering if the tablets had to do with the issue. Are there any studies on fresh or juices bought in the store? (Love you to pieces, by the way.)
    ; ))

  11. I think that Aloe Vera (real) juice is totally different from “an aloe vera drink” as described in that study. What brand of drink? Was the aloe deprived from the aloin? Was it cold extracted? Was it from an organic farm? Does it contains preservatives? Was it appoved by IASC?

    I suffer from a gastrointestinal autimmune disease, plus I have studied medicine, and I use a swiss organic brand of Aloe Vera juice for more than ten years now, wich is legally registered in the Registro Degli Integratori Alimentari of the Ministero della Salute of Italy: there is no such a control department in the USA, so I would be extremely careful with aloe US products, and I agree with Dr. Gregg about the placebo effect of 99% of those drinks, but there are excellent products abroad, cold-extracted and with a certified minimum content of polysaccarides, that are not placebos at all.

    Aloe Vera is not just an ointment for sunburn: it is proven to have anti-histamine effects, antinflammatory effects, gastrointestinal cytoprotective action, and it inhibits histamine and serotonin release from intestinal mast cells. This is why I drink it every day and it’s the ONLY immediate and effective anti-histamine drug that I can take when an allergic reaction to some food happens to me and I forgot to take the sodium cromoglycate pills.
    Aloe Vera may be taken by many for silly reasons, in the wrong doses, and with the wrong product: this doesn’t mean that this plant extract is a placebo.

    There is an international Council that guarantees some minimum quality standards for the Aloe products and answers main questions about the Aloe vera extracts in its website:

    I also suggest to deepen the medical studies on the aloe vera without any cherry-picking bias.

  12. Hi Beatrice, thanks for your comment about Aloe vera. It is great that you have access to good product and it is working for you. In the studies that were looked at by Dr Greger there were insufficient evidence to recommend ingestion of the product. In the website you kindly presented I looked up a study and it indicated a good effect on intestinal lining. However, this is a study on mice.
    In another study that was in the same website the study was in vitro and not invio so the Aloe Vera was not ingested.

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