Many home cooks keep an aloe plant in the kitchen to soothe emergency burns and minor skin abrasions, but did you know you can drink it, too?
Yes, You Can Drink Aloe Vera Juice!
I’ve long kept a bottle of aloe vera juice in my refrigerator as a go-to natural remedy for the occasional upset stomach. A friend from the Caribbean uses it as a pick-me-up whenever she feels sluggish. Some folks knock a bit back if they’ve imbibed too much the night before.
A Short History of Aloe Vera Juice
It makes sense. Aloe is one of the oldest plants in the world favored by traditional cultures, historically employed to soothe all kinds of things that ail you—whether that’s digestive issues, fevers, or, more esoterically, smearing it on your body to combat perspiration like hunters in the Congo do.
The plant is native to sub-Saharan Africa but its easy cultivation means it’s now fairly widespread—and likely on your counter.
What's in Aloe Vera Juice?
Lily of the Desert offers a widely available juice and gel and claims it contains 200 biologically active components such as vitamins A, C and E, minerals and amino acids.
You may see language like "whole leaf" or "inner fillet." The former means the whole leaf has been processed, including the yellowy sap layer between the outer rind and the inner fillet; the latter means it’s comprised of just the gel inside the leaves.
Is Aloe Juice the Next Coconut Water?
Following in coconut water’s boom, a number of manufacturers have developed aloe-based waters. The juice and gel are colorless and their slightly bitter citrus notes work well with other like-minded, nutritionally trendy ingredients such as honey, wheatgrass, goji berries and pomegranate. In my Wegmans, they fly off their ransacked shelves faster than I can try them all.
What to Look for in Aloe Waters
Aloe waters feel especially refreshing after a challenging yoga class or on a hot day. If you have texture issues, the waters with jellylike aloe flotsam might not be for you, but I like them because I know there’s real aloe in there.
Some are made with just aloe vera juice, which is clear. Ingredients and their amounts really vary; many rely on combos of juice and/or natural sweeteners (honey, organic cane sugar and stevia) to round out the bitterness.
You may also find single-serving powdered mix-in packets. I prefer the ones with a coconut water base (like Alodrink’s Coco Exposed) because they typically have no added sugar and feel a tropical holiday.
How I Use Aloe Vera Juice
As summer winds down, I’ve taken to some DIY agua frescas with the juice or the gel and permutations of watermelon, cucumber and lime. It’s also a stealthy add-in to lemonade.
One note of caution: I’ve spied recipes advising you to just scrape out the inner leaf and do the same. However, some aloes are poisonous. A nonprofit called the International Aloe Science Council exists (offering certification testing of raw materials and finished products). So, I’d rather trust my gut—and whatever else aloe may benefit—to juices, gels and waters from companies who’ve already processed it for human consumption.
Are you a fan of aloe vera juice? I'd love to hear how you use it!