What Are the Side Effects of Aloe Vera?


Quick Answer

Side effects of aloe vera applied externally include redness, itching, numbness, or irritation in individuals with sensitive skin or severe allergies. Taken internally, aloe vera may produce abdominal cramping or diarrhea, states AloeVera.com. More serious side effects of aloe vera include cancer and kidney disease, reports WebMD.

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Applying aloe vera gel to the skin has not been shown to produce significant side effects in persons without severe plant allergies, although it should not be used on deep surgical wounds. Aloe vera sprays to eliminate pain and speed recovery process of burns may contain ingredients that produce allergic reactions in some people. These side effects may include chest tightness or difficulty breathing, swelling of lips or tongue, trembling, dizziness, blurred vision or rash. Persons experiencing any of these should seek medical attention immediately, according to AloeVera.com.

The FDA became concerned about the safety of aloe latex in laxatives, heightened by the fact that people develop tolerance to aloe latex, having to take increasing amounts to achieve a laxative effect and thus increasing their risk of harmful side effects. Legislation was passed requiring manufacturers to remove or reformulate all over-the-counter laxative products in that contained aloe beginning in 2002, according to WebMD. Aloe latex is also hard on the kidneys when taken internally, and could lead to serious kidney disease and even death. There is also concern that chemicals found in aloe latex might cause cancer when taken internally.

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