Side Effects of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a popular herbal supplement and additive that has a long medicinal history. Aloe vera is the thick, clear or translucent juice from the leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe vera can be commercially extracted and purified, or taken directly by breaking a leaf from the plant and spreading the sap over irritated skin. While aloe vera has been widely used for its soothing and clearing properties, some individuals may experience serious side effects from prolonged use. As with any supplement, medical advice is prudent to determine aloe vera is safe to use with other treatments.
Aloe vera is the juice extracted from the aloe plant, a succulent plant purported to have medicinal qualities. The aloe plant has thick, rough leaves. According to Aloe Vera Studies, the leaves be crushed to produce a salve. Aloe vera contains amino acids, which support proper cell growth. These amino acids can be absorbed by the skin to stimulate the cells to clear inflammation, regenerate and moisturize. When taken internally, aloe vera can help to normalize body functions such as relieving constipation or bloating.
As a topical supplement, the amino acids in aloe vera can stimulate the circulatory and inflammatory processes to clear infection and fluid buildup. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, aloe vera has a strong laxative effect when taken internally, but has been taken orally to treat diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and osteoarthritis.
Aloe vera has been used topically to reduce superficial inflammation such as sun burn or acne. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine cites that application of aloe vera can slow down the healing of deep surgical wounds. Topical applications may contain other ingredients such as lidocaine, alcohol or moisturizers and these formulations may cause irritation. According to the Aloe Vera Guide, side effects are minor and can be resolved by stopping administration. Serious symptoms that require medical attention include allergic reactions (e.g., itching, rash or swelling), cramping, delayed wound healing, pink-colored urine, dehydration and blurred vision.
Topical formulations of aloe vera are not absorbed systemically, but it can be absorbed in the body through excessive application on wounds. People with known sensitivities to the aloe plant, tulips, garlic or onions should not use products containing aloe vera because these can trigger allergic reactions. Since aloe vera is a strong laxative, it can counteract the effects of medications and should be added as a supplement under a doctor’s supervision.
Aloe vera acts as a diuretic and it can worsen cardiovascular and kidney problems. Overuse of aloe vera juice can cause severe diarrhea or kidney problems. Aloe vera may interact with steroids, diuretics and prescription drugs because it can worsen your condition. Pregnant women ingesting aloe vera juice may experience abdominal cramping or complications; nursing women should avoid taking aloe vera as this can be ingested by a baby during breastfeeding.