With long, thick, plump and pointed deep green leaves, Aloe vera is one of the most well-recognized medicinal plants in the world. It has a long history of use in pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic products. A great deal of research supports the use of topical Aloe gel, balms and creams for wound healing, sunburn, frostbite, and other inflammatory skin conditions. But did you know Aloe juice is highly regarded for supporting digestive health and can be used to manage chronic constipation and IBS?
Aloe leaves consist of a fleshy tissue that stores water and contributes to the familiar pulp that oozes from the leaves when sliced open. The Aloe plant contains more than 200 different biologically active substances, most of which are found in the pulp. This includes amino acids; antioxidants; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and E; and the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, and traces of magnesium and zinc. Many of these compounds are natural relaxants, helping produce a laxative effective for stressed bowels.
When selecting Aloe juice as a remedy for IBS related symptoms, look for juice without Aloe latex. Aloe latex contains anthraquinone, which is a natural laxative. Too much aloe latex can worsen GI symptoms; consult with your holistic health provider about how much, and which type of extract, supplement or juice is best for you.
For blending into smoothies, use in cooking, or adding Aloe to other beverages, remember that Aloe’s flavor is similar to cucumber. It’s best to use Aloe in recipes with flavors on the same spectrum such as watermelon, lemon, lime, or mint.
- NCCIH.nih.gov “Aloe Vera” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/aloevera
- Radha, Maharjan H., and Nampoothiri P. Laxmipriya. “Evaluation of Biological Properties and Clinical Effectiveness of Aloe Vera: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine5.1 (2015, 14 July): 21–26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488101/
- Asadi-Shahmirzadi A, et al. “Benefit of Aloe vera and Matricaria recutita mixture in rat irritable bowel syndrome: A combination of antioxidant and spasmolytic effects.” Chinese Jl of Integ Med (2012 Dec.) pp 1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11655-012-1027-9 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11655-012-1027-9
- Davis K, et al. (2006). “Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of aloe vera for irritable bowel syndrome.” DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.00980.x. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.00980.x