Aloe vera juice, taken from the outside of the leaves of the aloe vera plant, differs in composition from aloe vera gel, which is taken from the inside of the leaves. Aloe vera juice contains anthraquinones, an ingredient that has laxative properties. While some companies sell a version of aloe juice that is actually diluted aloe vera gel, the research done on aloe vera juice focuses on the compounds derived from the outside of the plant's leaves. Aloe vera juice made from the whole leaf of the plant contain these compounds, as well.
Aloe vera juice, when used occasionally, may cause abdominal pain, spasms, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause an electrolyte imbalance. Aloe vera juice may interact with certain prescription medications. If you are taking prescription medications, check with your doctor before using aloe vera juice. Both the gel and the outer leaf have been associated with miscarriage. Aloe vera juice can lower blood sugar, and can cause reduced potassium levels when used with horsetail and licorice. Aloe vera juice is a laxative and should not be used with other laxatives.
The long-term use of aloe vera juice may result in a laxative dependence. The frequent use of laxatives and laxative dependence may cause hepatitis, metabolic acidosis, weight loss, calcium excretion and malabsorption of necessary nutrients. These conditions may lead to serious kidney disease or kidney failure. Frequent use of aloe vera juice may cause sustained low potassium levels resulting in heart disturbances.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are conflicting studies on the effects of taking aloe vera internally. Some of the studies show that the compounds found in aloe vera plants protect against cancer, while others show they increase the risk of cancer.