Aloe vera as a topical gel for treating sunburn may also have other health benefits, because of its antioxidant properties. Research shows it may help your skin, dental, oral, and digestive health as well as improving blood sugars.
The aloe vera plant is a succulent plant species from the genus Aloe. It grows abundantly in tropical climates and has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant.
Aloe vera juice is a gooey, thick liquid made from the flesh of the aloe vera plant leaf. Historically, it’s been used both topically and orally (
This article explores the potential health benefits of aloe vera when consumed as juice or in other forms.
Based on test-tube studies, it’s thought that the aloe plant boasts anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why many people use it to treat and relieve certain skin conditions, like burns and wounds (
Its proposed anti-inflammatory activity is thanks to polyphenols, a group of antioxidant-rich plant compounds (
Antioxidants help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals — also known as oxidative stress. Research has shown that chronic oxidative stress can increase the risk of some health conditions, including heart disease and even some cancers.
However, there is currently no research indicating that aloe vera juice directly has an effect on the risk of these conditions.
Aloe vera juice contains polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to have several health benefits, but specific research on aloe’s antioxidants and human health is lacking.
Aloe vera is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for burns and other skin disorders like atopic dermatitis (
Many of the benefits of aloe vera on skin health are seen when it’s applied topically, rather than consumed as a drink. Still, limited research on oral aloe vera supplements does exist (
One study found that taking 40 mcg of aloe sterol per day for 12 weeks improved skin elasticity in a group of men under age 46 (
Another study similarly found that consuming aloe vera improved collagen production and reduced the appearance of wrinkles in a group of women over age 40 (
It’s important to note that in both of these studies, aloe was consumed as a supplement, not juice. Additionally, while this research is promising, it’s not conclusive and more human trials are needed.
Topically applying aloe vera is commonly believed to help treat certain skin conditions. Some research has found that taking aloe vera supplements may help improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles, but more studies are needed.
Older research has indicated that both the gel and juice from aloe vera may lower fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (
Oppositely, two separate reviews found that drinking aloe vera juice did not improve fasting blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes — though it did in those with pre-diabetes (
Further, another study observed that aloe juice improved both blood sugar and blood fatty acid levels in those with pre-diabetes (
While this sounds promising, research is limited. Larger, randomized, and controlled trials are needed to confirm the relationship between aloe vera juice and blood sugar control.
Additionally, aloe vera extract supplements are not standardized, regulated, or considered a safe alternative treatment for diabetes (
Preliminary research has found that aloe vera juice may improve fasting blood sugar levels in people with pre-diabetes. Still, newer, stronger data is needed to explore and potentially confirm these benefits.
Aloe vera juice contains anthraquinone glycosides. These are plant compounds with laxative effects that could help relieve constipation. However, research on this topic is outdated and the safety of using aloe vera juice to treat constipation is unknown (
In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no longer approved aloe vera laxatives for over-the-counter sales, as they haven’t been tested to confirm their safety and efficacy (
Some preliminary research suggests that aloe vera syrup could help treat and reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Other early research shows promising results for using aloe vera extract to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (
Ultimately, while it’s possible that aloe vera may have digestive benefits, there’s not yet enough research indicating the safety or dosage of its use for these purposes.
Aloe vera juice may work as a laxative, though research on the safety of aloe vera products is lacking. Some research suggests aloe could have other benefits on digestive health, but more research is needed.
Some animal studies suggest that aloe vera offers antibacterial properties and could support the treatment of some dental and oral conditions (
Plus, a study in 74 people with oral submucous fibrosis — a chronic condition that causes pain and inflammation in the mouth — showed that taking 1 ounce (30 mL) of aloe vera juice twice daily for 3 months was as effective as traditional treatments like hydrocortisone injections (
Another study found that an aloe vera mouthwash effectively reduced the severity and pain related to oral mucositis — a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments — in individuals with head and neck cancers (
Further, a study in 64 people with cancer found that using an aloe vera mouthwash solution 3 times daily for 14 days helped reduce the occurrence and associated pain of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis, which is an infection in the mouth (
It’s also speculated that aloe vera mouthwash could help reduce dental plaque and manage pain and swelling following oral surgery (19,
Although more long-term data is needed, these studies indicate that aloe vera juice could offer an alternative approach to treatments for certain dental and oral conditions (
Aloe vera juice and mouthwash may improve various dental and oral conditions thanks to their potential antibacterial properties. Still, more research is needed.
Aloe vera can be found as a juice or a gel. The juice can be thought of as the sap, as it comes from the leafy part of the aloe plant. The gel, on the other hand, is a thick substance that comes from the inner parts of the plant.
Generally, aloe vera juice can be consumed as a drink, while the gel is often applied topically.
Some research suggests using aloe vera juice and supplements for various health conditions. However, most of the available data comes from small, short-term studies, and larger, human clinical trials are still needed.
It’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional before trying anything new when it comes to your diet and health — including adding aloe vera juice or supplements to your routine.
This is especially true if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or chestfeeding, as the safety of aloe vera products remains unknown in these groups.
Similarly, be sure to review aloe vera supplements or juices with your doctor first if you’re taking any medications to avoid possible interactions.
Aloe vera is commonly known as a topical gel used to treat sunburn. Promisingly, it may also provide other health benefits, largely due to its antioxidant properties.
Preliminary research has indicated that aloe vera may benefit your skin, dental, oral, and digestive health. It may even improve blood sugar control. However, more long-term data from human clinical trials is needed to confirm these benefits.
Be sure to talk with a healthcare professional before trying any aloe vera products, especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, or taking any medications.
Just one thing
Try this today: If you’d like to incorporate aloe vera juice into your routine, try blending it into a smoothie to mask the slightly bitter taste.