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What are the risks of drinking aloe vera?

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Drinking aloe vera is not considered safe because the latex form of aloe, which is present in drinkable preparations, may lead to cancer, and it also can cause serious kidney disease and death in some cases. Uses for oral aloe latex include treatment of constipation, as well as epilepsy and colds, according to WebMD.

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Aloe latex was formerly a key ingredient in many laxatives. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration developed concern because of the tolerance people developed to aloe latex, meaning that they had to increase the dosage in order to get the same laxative effect. Elevating their dosage meant elevating the risk of the side effects. When the FDA asked manufacturers for safety data involving aloe latex, the manufacturers did not comply. As a result, the FDA banned the manufacture and sale of over-the-counter laxatives containing aloe latex effective Nov. 5, 2002, as stated by WebMD.

People take aloe gel orally for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, osteoarthritis, itching, fever and swelling, as well as diabetes, stomach ulcers, asthma and side effects from radiation treatments. However, the majority of aloe gel use is topical, with application to the skin. While some research supports the topical use of aloe gel, oral use has had mixed results with gel, according to WebMD.

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