Statistics show that constipation is the most common gastrointestinal issue.

Constipation is a condition in which a person has fewer than 3 bowel movements a week, with stools being hard, dry and difficult to pass.

According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, about 42 million people in the US suffer from it.

Changes in daily routines, low-fibre food consumption, lack of physical activities and taking certain medicines can lead to constipation.

People may suffer from constipation at some point of their life, but there are people who do suffer from chronic constipation that may lead to severe health problems like hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, anal fissures, etc.

Aloe vera, the most commonly used natural product for medicinal purposes and skincare has been found to be beneficial in constipation.

Let’s learn about this natural product before examining its benefits in constipation.

Please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to the relevant section –

Constipation: Reasons and Problems

Our small intestine absorbs nutrients from the food we eat. Then it moves to large intestine or colon.

This is where stool is formed by absorbing water from food.

Water absorption makes semi-solid food as solid by the time it leaves colon. In case of constipation either too much water is absorbed by colon (making stool hard) or colon muscles become weak and thus cannot push the stool outside.

This is what we call constipation.

A most common cause of constipation is poor diet devoid of fibers, lack of physical activity, unhealthy lifestyle, excessive use of laxatives, high caffeine / alcohol intake, low water intake, etc.

Certain medical conditions and medication can also lead to constipation.

While constipation does happen to everyone at some point but there are people who are always constipated.

This can lead to several complications including, hemorrhoids, fissures, fecal impaction, rectal prolapse, etc.

What is Aloe vera?

Aloe vera is a fleshy green plant that belongs to the lily family that is mainly grown for medicinal and agricultural purposes.

It adapts best to the tropical dry regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America and has been grown for centuries over these areas.

The leaf of the Aloe vera consists of 3 layers that are- gel, latex and the outermost protective thick layer called rind.

These layers consist of many essential elements like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate, etc. which contributes to its various effective properties, making it a panacea.

Aloe vera is commonly consumed in the form of juice or gel for its wound healing, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.

The shiny bitter latex of Aloe vera is found to be effective in dealing with constipation. Let’s examine its benefits in the subsequent sections.

Benefits of Aloe vera for Constipation

The laxative and anti-inflammatory effect of aloe vera makes it beneficial for constipation.

The attribute of these properties goes to the presence of an anthraquinone compound called barbaloin that helps to increase water content and mucus secretion to ease bowel movements.

Let us understand the benefits of consuming aloe vera to get relief from constipation in more detail.

Aloe Vera for Constipation & Its Dosage

1. Aloe vera helps to increase bowel movements.

The latex of Aloe vera contains a compound known as barbaloin (an anthraquinone) which provides the laxative effect.

A study carried out on animal model revealed that barbaloin gets converted into aloe-emodin that provides various benefits.

It increases intestinal water content, intestinal peristalsis (contraction/relaxation of intestine muscles to pass food) and stimulates mucus secretion.

All these effects of barbaloin make it a laxative by helping in increasing the bowel movement and loosening the stool and hence make the stool easier to pass out of the body.

What does this mean? The laxative effect of Aloe vera is due to the presence of a compound called barbaloin in the latex that helps to increase the water content and mucus secretion.

2. Aloe vera helps to reduce inflammation.

Chronic constipation may lead to the inflammation of anal canal area (terminal part of the large intestine). This occurs due to a decrease in the bowel movements and hardening of stool over time.

Consuming aloe vera can be beneficial in reducing inflammation and thus reduce the swelling and pain caused in the anus.

This is because of the presence of an anti-inflammatory compound known as C-glucosyl chromone.

This compound reduces the formation of prostaglandins (hormones). Prostaglandins cause inflammation in the body when in excess.

This anti-inflammatory action is based on the theoretical evidence and no clinical trials have been done on this so far.

What does this mean? Aloe vera possesses anti-inflammatory property due to the presence of a certain compound in it. This helps to provide relief from swelling and pain of anal canal area.

3. Consuming aloe vera can help to fight against gut infections

Research conducted by Centre for Digestive Diseases, Australia claims that the most common cause of constipation is an infection caused by the bacterial agent.

This bacterial agent, which is yet to be identified, paralyzes the intestinal bowel movements thus making the stool difficult to pass which results in constipation.

The presence of antiseptic agents in the bacteria can help to fight against these bacterial agents that cause infection in the gut.

Antiseptic agents inhibit bacterial action. Thus constipation caused as a result of gut infections can be prevented.

However, this is based on theoretical evidence and no clinical study on it has been done so far.

What does this mean? Antiseptic property of aloe vera helps to fight against gut infections, thereby preventing constipation.

Dosage of Aloe vera for constipation

The dosage of aloe vera for adults suffering from constipation is 0.04-0.17 grams of dried juice.

If suffering from inflammatory bowel disease with constipation symptoms, the suggested amount of intake is 100 ml of aloe vera gel twice a day.

Maintain a gap of 5-6 hours between the consumption of aloe vera and any medication to avoid side effects.

How to take aloe vera for constipation

Aloe vera juice: Whole leaf or pure aloe vera juice may help in constipation.

The juice should not be extra processed (as most processing aims at minimizing the number of laxative properties of aloe vera).

Whole leaf juice is better than inner leaf juice for constipation. Aloe vera juice will not only help in constipation but will also fight fungal infection of any.

Aloe vera gel: Similar to aloe vera juice one can also take aloe vera gel by mixing it with any fruit/vegetable juice.

If you are not getting the right aloe vera juice/gel one you can also prepare the same using aloe vera leaves yourself. The process is not very complicated.

Precautions

There are certain precautions which one should take while consuming aloe vera to avoid its side effects.

Excessive oral consumption of aloe latex is not recommended as it may cause intestinal cramps or diarrhea. Further, its high dosage can cause kidney damage.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid aloe supplements and aloe vera unless advised by a health practitioner.

Consult a doctor before consuming aloe vera if you are under medications as aloe vera is known to interact with certain drugs and hence can cause side effects.

Conclusion

Aloe vera has become a superfood across the world because of its numerous beneficial properties like wound healing, antiseptic, enhanced immunity, etc.

The laxative and anti-inflammatory effect of aloe vera makes it beneficial for constipation.

The attribute of these properties goes to the presence of an anthraquinone compound called barbaloin that helps to increase water content and mucus secretion to ease bowel movements.

The latex juice of aloe vera, if consumed in prescribed amount can be bliss for people suffering from constipation or other bowel disorders. But excessive amounts may have a strong laxative effect.

Please consult a herbalist before taking aloe vera or latex for constipation.

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