Aloe vera juice is enjoyed across the world as a refreshing beverage.
This cooling herbal drink is gaining popularity as people increasingly prioritise healthier lifestyles.
But what are the benefits of aloe vera juice? Are there any side effects to be aware of? How much aloe vera juice is too much to drink each day? And how do you make aloe vera juice?
Read on to find out more.
What is aloe vera juice?
Aloe vera juice is available worldwide. It’s usually sold in plastic or glass bottles, and may be in the form of pure aloe vera juice, or as a drink made with aloe vera extracts along with other ingredients which can include other plant extracts, sugar or sweeteners.
Pure aloe vera juice is derived from the spiky green aloe vera plant.
This succulent has been used since ancient times in alternative medicine. For commercial purposes, the aloe vera plant is cultivated in hot climates including India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, China and Costa Rica.1
You’re also likely to see aloe vera plants in UK homes and offices, as they don’t need much water or strong sunlight to thrive.
Inside the spiky aloe vera leaves a firm yet sticky gel which is prized in skincare and alternative medicine. This gel is wrapped in a tough membrane known as the latex and encased in a tough green casing called the rind.2
How is aloe vera juice made?
Aloe vera juice is made in one of two ways:3
Whole leaf processing
In this method, the entire aloe vera leaf – incorporating the rind, latex and gel – is ground up and filtered using activated carbon to remove the latex compounds called aloin.
The filtering process is known as ‘decolourisation’ or ‘purification’.
Aloe vera latex is bitter tasting, has harsh laxative effects and may be harmful in large quantities. Removing the aloin protects the consumer against these effects.4
Inner leaf processing
With this method, the rind and latex are stripped away before the inner gel is processed into a liquid. Sometimes, the gel is also carbon filtered for extra purity (decolourised).
In Europe, aloe vera juice destined for use in beverages must have aloin at no higher amount than 0.1 parts per million.5
How to make aloe vera juice
It’s important that you track down an edible variety of aloe vera.
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller is the most common variety considered edible. Avoid the Aloe vera var. Chinensis, which isn’t edible.6
All aloe varieties look similar, though, so if you’re in doubt – don’t consume it.
- First, make sure you get hold of a fresh aloe vera leaf from the edible variety Aloe vera barbadensis Miller. You should be able to get this from a garden centre, specialist grocery or online.
- Rinse the leaf thoroughly to remove any external dirt.
- Allow the leaf to dry.
- With a sharp knife, cut into the rind down the serrated sides of the leaf, revealing the gel underneath.
- Carefully cut down the length of the leaf, removing the rind and latex layers in strips.
- Do this until the aloe vera leaf is completely free from the green rind and the yellowish-green latex layers. At this stage you should be left with just the clear gel. It should have a wet, slimy yet firm texture.
- Rinse thoroughly in cold water.
- Chop the aloe gel roughly into pieces and store in a bowl.
- Add these aloe gel pieces to a food processor or blender, to make a smooth, runny gel.
- Strain using a colander to collect the juice.
You can then add this liquid to smoothies, protein shakes and fruit juice – or simply drink it alone.
You may not enjoy the taste of drinking aloe vera juice unsweetened, though, so we recommend beginning with a fruit blend or adding your favourite sweetener.
How to store fresh aloe vera juice
Keep homemade fresh aloe vera juice in the fridge for up to a week.
Shop-bought aloe vera juices have a longer fridge life of around two months, although this varies with different formulas.
What does aloe vera juice taste like?
Aloe is derived from the Arabic word alloeh meaning ‘bitter and shiny substance’, which might give you an idea of what it tastes like in its natural form.7
Raw unsweetened aloe vera juice (straight from the leaf) has been described as tasting anywhere from neutral to extremely bitter.
Aloe vera juices that are available commercially taste much better, thanks to additional natural flavourings such as cranberry and chamomile, or sweeteners.
- Aloe vera juice is made from the gel inside the tough, spiky aloe vera plant
- Only decolourised, purified aloe vera juice is safe to drink
- You can buy aloe vera juice, fruit drinks with aloe extract, or you could make your own aloe drink
- Buying aloe vera juice drink in the UK assures you that it’s purified and free from aloe latex
What are the benefits of aloe vera juice?
Aloe vera juice benefits include:
It’s full of vitamins
Despite being around 98.5% water, aloe vera is packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients.8
For example, aloe vera contains vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants.
Aloe vera also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline, as well as minerals calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.9
The aloe vera plant also contains minerals, plant sugars and amino acids.
Altogether, aloe vera contains at least 75 active ingredients.10
Benefits of making your own aloe vera juice
It may be cheaper
If you can get hold of a reliable supplier of fresh aloe vera leaves, making your own aloe vera juice could be the more cost-effective option.
You can choose your own formula
If you prefer a different consistency or chunks of aloe vera in your beverage, this is within your control if you make your own!
Benefits of buying aloe vera juice
You’re assured of purity
When you make your own aloe vera juice, you won’t be able to perform the decolourising process which ensures all the latex fibres are removed. A compound called aloin found in latex fibres can cause digestive issues and cramping, and these can be left behind if you’re making your own.
Thanks to strict standards on beverages sold in the UK, you can be assured that aloe vera bought from a trusted retailer won’t contain levels of aloe vera latex that’s considered harmful.11
The process of cleaning, filleting and blending raw aloe vera leaves can be a messy one. Simply unscrewing a bottle and pouring out a daily dose is a breeze in comparison.
It lasts longer
Ready-prepared aloe vera juice comes with a longer shelf life of up to two months in the fridge, compared with just a few days in the case of homemade aloe vera juice.
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Now that you know all about aloe vera juice's benefits for the body, which is the best aloe vera juice to try? There are many to choose from, so we've rounded up 9 of the best aloe vera juices.
Aloe vera dosage – how much is safe?
Between 15ml and 50ml aloe vera juice daily is the generally recommended dose. Always read the label as strengths and formulas of commercial aloe vera juice vary.
What are the side effects of drinking aloe vera juice?
Whole-leaf aloe vera extract incudes the latex and the aloin– the plant compound found in aloe vera latex which has strong laxative effects. This is why side effects of aloe vera juice which hasn’t been decolourised can include symptoms such as diarrhoea and cramping can occur.12
As commercial aloe vera juice doesn’t contain the aloin– aloe vera juice shouldn’t cause the gastrointestinal side-effects you may get with a whole-leaf aloe vera extract like tablets or capsules.
Excessive aloe vera intake for a prolonged period has been linked to toxic hepatitis in rare cases. 13,14
It’s important to be aware that aloe vera plants may be toxic to cats, dogs and other pets.15
Is it good to drink aloe vera juice everyday?
As long as you’re not experiencing any undesirable side-effects, you can drink decolourised, purified aloe vera juice every day. Never exceed the stated dose.
- Aloe vera contains plenty of nutrients, including vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamins C and E, and active plant phenols
- Non-decolourised aloe vera can cause abdominal cramps and diarrhoea
Last updated: 1 June 2021
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