Are There Real Benefits To Drinking Aloe Vera Juice?

As field trips go, it probably didn't fill you with as much excitement as that trip to the zoo or living history museum. But you may recall the lesson every time you cut yourself or get a sunburn. Aloe vera has a way of making a lasting impression — from the moment you spotted the long, spiky leaves at the nursery to the moment you and your classmates cut open the thickest leaves so that you could collect the thick gel that oozed out before you. After that, few students minded doing a short book report on the wonders of aloe vera — noting that the succulent can be used, as is, as a moisturizer or mixed with other ingredients to soothe the skin (via NC State Extension). Then, as today, aloe vera is used topically to treat everything from acne to rosacea. You can also find the ingredient in over-the-counter skin toners and facial washes, Medical News Today says.

Even if you missed this chapter in elementary school history, you may have heard about the latest one — about how people are turning to aloe vera juice. And no, they're not confused. The gel and the juice are two different things, with the juice being found in the leafiest parts of the plant, Healthline says. The juice, also referred to as the plant's sap, can impart very different benefits than the gel.

Aloe vera is well-known as a moisturizer

You can trace how aloe vera has been used to treat myriad skin conditions for thousands of years, though it gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries in the tropical and subtropical countries where it flourished most, according to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Since then, it appears that little has changed with the extraction process. After all, the leaves must be opened somehow to expose the bounty inside. Once the aloe vera sap is removed from an opened leaf, it can be mixed with water (and maybe lemon juice and a little cinnamon), Cleveland Clinic says.

If you're on the hunt for an anti-inflammatory, aloe vera juice may suit your needs. It also teems with vitamins and minerals, Healthline says. From this, it may be tempting to start gulping aloe vera juice — either after setting up a juice-making station in your kitchen or buying bottled juice in grocery stores. But the clinic recommends an easy-does-it approach, sipping small amounts to see how your system greets this new arrival. Then you can feel good about working up to no more than one cup of juice per day. If the slightly bitter aftertaste sticks with you, try mixing the juice with your usual smoothie (per Healthline). 

You may have even more incentive to do so after you learn the specific health benefits aloe vera juice may bring to your life.

Aloe vera juice holds promise

You and your peers may believe that aloe vera deserves a special mention in botany books, and you may be right. But it pays to remember that the plant, like many others, is still undergoing clinical trials to confirm its purported benefits. This means that aloe vera may bring about several changes — not that it will. So drink aloe vera juice with that proverbial grain of salt. It certainly won't hurt, unless you drink so much that you develop stomach cramps or diarrhea, Cleveland Clinic says.

Even then, you may take the long view since the plant's laxative effects may bring relief if you deal with constipation. The juice may also ease other gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Healthline says. The juice's reported ability to reduce stomach acid could bring untold relief to people who must be watchful about everything they eat. People with type 2 diabetes are probably particularly hopeful about the outcome of aloe vera research. They may be counting on the juice to lower their blood sugar levels — the bane of their existence. Meanwhile, some preliminary studies show that aloe vera juice may fortify eye health and some dental conditions. And, because the leaves so effectively stockpile water, drinking the juice could help keep your skin clear and free of blemishes (per Healthline).

In time, you may find yourself buying many aloe vera plants — this time during an adult field trip to the nursery.