Aloe Vera Juice and Warfarin
By: Alere Staff
Many people drink juices because they think they are a safe, healthy alternative to other sugary or caffeinated commercial drinks that are readily available. The advertising and marketing of juices encourages people to drink juices with the belief they are making a healthier choice by taking in fruits and vegetables.
Whether you drink juice occasionally or daily for some of the advertised health benefits or you drink juice just because you like them, it is important to always check with your physician or pharmacist to be sure of any potential interactions between juices and the medications you take.1
Aloe vera juice is a readily available juice and comes from the aloe vera leaf. The leaf separates into two parts: juice and gel. The juice is a yellowish liquid that is found just under the skin of the aloe leaf and it surrounds a gel that is found on the inside of the leaf.1 The gel is used by many who believe it is a good topical remedy for various skin conditions.2 There are studies being conducted to determine if there are any health benefits to using the topical gel.1
The juice of the aloe vera leaf is different than the gel and can sometimes contain aloe latex, which has been used to treat constipation.1 Aloe latex has been known to cause side effects such as stomach pain and cramps. It can be fatal to consume one (1) gram of aaloe latex per day for several days.3
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became concerned about the safety of aloe latex several years ago since people develop a kind of “tolerance” to aloe latex. This means they have to take more of it to get the same desired laxative effect. As a result, they are likely to increase their dose and increase their risk for serious, potentially fatal side effects.1 Because of the side effects the FDA had manufacturers remove aloe from all over-the-counter laxatives.
When purchasing aloe juice, avoid products that contain aloe latex, aloin or aloe-emoin compounds. If you have an aloe plant at home, aloe gel should not be taken directly from the plant as a home remedy, as the gel can contain aloe latex. According to the FDA, only gel or juice preparations specifically for internal use should be consumed.
If you are taking warfarin, the concern is that the aloe latex found in homemade or some manufactured products can cause a laxative effect that can speed up the bowels. Diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding.4 It is important to talk with your doctor about starting any new foods or drinks because they can interact with your warfarin, so please keep this in mind.
- MedlinePlus. Aloe. Page accessed on May 18, 2014. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/607.html.
- Gallagher J, Gray M. Is aloevera effectivefor healing chronic wounds?J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs 2003;30:68-71.
- Yang HN,Kim DJ, Kim YM, et al. Aloe-induced toxic hepatitis. JKorean Med Sci 2010;25:492-5.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Medication Guidefor Coumadin Tablets and Coumadin for Injection [PackageInsert]. Princeton, NJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. 2011.