Leave it to TikTok to discover (or, in this case, rediscover) all the best health trends. With over 13 million views on the hashtag, the spotlight currently belongs to aloe vera juice, a beverage many TikTokers claim can help clear breakouts, improve digestive health, and boost overall well-being.
Aloe vera juice has been around for ages and is well-known for its nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. Laura DeCesaris, a clinical nutritionist and functional-medicine certified practitioner. But she says there’s an extra demand right now for multi-tasking functional beverages. “Essentially, if you’re already going to be drinking fluids, it’s popular to look for options that have extra health benefits to help increase energy and vitality,” she tells Bustle.
The juice comes from the cool, pulpy gel found inside the aloe vera leaf, which is then combined with water to create a drink, says DeCesaris. Yes, it’s the same stuff you put on sunburns too. Aloe vera juice is widely available in bottles and jugs at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as online and in health food stores. “You can drink it on its own or add it to a glass of water with a squeeze of citrus for a refreshing beverage,” she tells Bustle. Or, if you think it’s too bitter, you can blend it into a smoothie, mix it with sparkling water, or stir it into fruit juice.
Here, experts break down the potential benefits of adding a few ounces of aloe to your daily routine.
The Benefits Of Aloe Vera Juice
TikToker @brialem shared a now-viral video about her aloe vera juice experience, rating it at an “11 out of 10.” She noted that her digestive health has “never been better” since she started drinking one ounce of juice in the morning and one at night. And according to the experts, there really may be something to it.
While more research is needed to validate all of the potential benefits, DeCesaris says a few studies have shown that aloe vera juice may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which includes digestive issues like constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it may help ease symptoms of heartburn, and that it may enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical interventions for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — all great information to note if you’re prone to indigestion.
This may be because aloe vera juice is anti-inflammatory in nature, DeCesaris explains, and because it has “mucilaginous benefits” or a gel-like consistency that coats the lining of your stomach to reduce acid secretion. Then there are the antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which she says can help to reduce inflammation even more and fight free radicals in the body.
While you might want to drink aloe vera juice for those digestion benefits, there are countless videos touting the drink’s many potential skin benefits, too. In @brialem’s video, she says her acne “cleared up a ton” after only a week and a half. TikToker @munch.with.momo, who’s been drinking aloe vera juice every day to see if it might tame psoriasis symptoms, also happily reported that it’s had a “positive impact.”
Aloe vera gel is something you can apply topically to soothe and moisturize your skin, especially if you have a burn. It’s also been shown to work well when combined with other acne treatments, like topical retinoids, to reduce inflammation and heal breakouts faster. But does it really help if you drink it?
While TikTok says yes, naturopathic physician Dr. Alyssa DeSena isn’t so sure. “Most of the evidence supporting aloe vera’s use in acne is when aloe is used topically,” she tells Bustle. “There is not much on how aloe vera juice affects people who suffer with acne and psoriasis if they drink the juice.”
That said, DeSena points out that many folks who have breakouts and psoriasis often have gut health issues too, which is why drinking something that heals inflammation on the inside may lead to visible benefits on the outside. It’s just one of those online trends that research still needs to catch up with to fully understand its benefits as a natural remedy.
How Much Aloe Should You Drink?
One word of warning: Aloe vera juice is a natural laxative, which is great news if you’re feeling constipated, but not so great if you already have regular bowel movements. To make sure you don’t overdo it or upset your system, DeCesaris recommends drinking “inner leaf” aloe vera juice rather than “whole leaf.” It’s a bit milder in flavor and it’s less likely to cause loose stools, she says.
Start by drinking two ounces a day to see how you tolerate it, before slowly increasing to four ounces a day. “Everyone responds to foods, herbs, and drinks differently,” DeCesaris adds. “If you’re currently taking any medications, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first before adding aloe to your routine.”
Hajheydari, Z. 2014. Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial. J Dermatolog Treat. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2013.768328.
Hong, S. W. 2018. Aloe vera Is Effective and Safe in Short-term Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility. doi.org/10.5056/jnm18077
Panahi, Y. 2015. Efficacy and safety of Aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. doi: 10.1016/s0254-6272(15)30151-5. PMID: 26742306.
Panahi, Y., Aslani. 2016. Effect of aloe vera and pantoprazole on gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in mustard gas victims: A randomized controlled trial. Pharmaceutical Sciences. https://doi.org/10.15171/ps.2016.30
Dr. Laura DeCesaris, clinical nutritionist and functional-medicine certified practitioner
Dr. Alyssa DeSena, naturopathic physician