When applied topically to the skin or taken orally in small doses, aloe vera gel offers a variety of health benefits. Aloe vera can help to treat skin burns, psoriasis, constipation, cold sores and frostbite. However, some individuals should not take aloe vera under any circumstances.
The following aloe vera contraindications signal that the product’s benefits do not outweigh the risks, and that aloe vera may cause serious or life-threatening side effects for these high-risk individuals. Do not take aloe vera if you fall into any of the following categories.
When taken by mouth, aloe vera can trigger contractions in the uterus, leading to miscarriage or preterm labor. It could also contribute to the development of some birth defects. Do not use aloe vera during any stage of pregnancy.
Oral aloe vera is contraindicated for breastfeeding mothers. Laxative compounds in aloe vera may pass into breast milk and trigger diarrhea and cramping in the nursing child.
Children Under 12
Do not give aloe vera to a child under 12 years of age unless a pediatrician says it is okay. Children under 12 are more susceptible to aloe vera side effects; they may experience severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea after taking the product.
People with Diabetes
Aloe vera may lower blood sugar, so it is sometimes considered to be contraindicated for patietns with diabetes. In theory, it could trigger an episode of life-threatening hypoglycemia if it is taken in large amounts. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely if you are diabetic and take aloe vera.
People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If you have any form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you should not take aloe vera. Aloe vera contains aloin, a potentially harsh stimulant laxative which can irritate the lining of the bowels and cause severe bloody diarrhea in people with these conditions.
Although aloe vera can help hemorrhoids when it is applied topically, hemorrhoids are regarded as an oral aloe vera contraindication. When taken internally, aloe may worsen hemorrhoids by causing more straining durin gbowel movements.
People with Kidney Disease
Large doses of aloe can harm the kidneys, so it is best to avoid oral aloe vera if you have any form of kidney disease. However, topical aloe vera gel is safe for people with these conditions.
Visit the National Institutes of Health for more information about aloe vera contraindications.