Though the famed “plant of immortality” has been used for wellness and medicinal purposes throughout the world for several thousand years, it itself is not immortal.
Yes, Aloe Vera does expire. Like any other plant or organic matter it does go bad after a certain amount of time. The specific shelf life depends on what type of Aloe Vera you are using; from gel & lotion to juices, extracts, raw leaves, and more.
Why Keep Aloe Vera on Hand?
The benefits of Aloe Vera range from its application in wound healing and treating burns to treating digestive and intestinal problems, use as an anti-inflammatory, reducing blood sugar in diabetics, and in boosting the immune system. Aloe Vera also contains over 75 potentially active constituents and compounds—vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids—that our body needs. Aloe is a great thing to keep on hand, nonetheless common forms of Aloe Vera and Aloe Vera products have expiration dates.
The type of Aloe you use will determine how long you’ll be able to keep it on hand before the beneficial ingredients become inactive.
Raw Aloe Vera
Raw Aloe Vera is freshly cut from a live Aloe Vera plant. It is not pasteurized or heat processed, and therefore does not have a very long shelf life. Like a tomato, once diced and sliced, what’s not used needs to be refrigerated. Aloe Vera can also be frozen until needed to help keep the ingredients active. Once it is thawed, keep refrigerated. It should be consumed within a week. If you are not going to use it within that time, it’s okay to re-freeze the gel or even make Aloe Vera ice cubes. Just make you know how to eat Aloe Vera safely.
Raw Aloe Vera Shelf Life:
24 hours (room temperature), 5-7 days (refrigerated), or 1-2 weeks (frozen)
Aloe Vera Products
If purchased from a store, carefully processed Aloe Vera products usually contain preservatives to help keep the beneficial ingredients active for an extended period of time, depending on the label, from a few weeks to several months. Whether Aloe Vera gel, juice or extract, or capsules, here is a guide for the expected shelf life of each:
When properly stored per the label’s instructions, Aloe Vera gel has a normal expiration date of two years. It mustn’t necessarily be refrigerated but stored in a cool, dry place. To keep it from drying out, the lid should be tightened after use. If you bring the gel outside to the beach or park, do not leave it in direct sunlight. Keep it in your backpack or beach bag to prevent the gel from drying out. If the gel drys out, it loses its active ingredients and will no longer be effective when used.
Aloe Vera Gel Shelf Life:
2-3 years (room temperature), or 5+ years (frozen or refrigerated)
Juice or Extract
The names are often used synonymously because Aloe Vera juice is extracted from the inner gel of the plant. In either case, if you are purchasing Aloe Vera water, juice, or extract from the refrigerated section of a grocery store, then it’s common sense that it, like any refrigerated product purchased, should be kept refrigerated when you get home. If not refrigerated when purchased, labeling should indicate the expiration date. Once opened, the juice can last from a couple days to several weeks, depending on the preservatives.
Aloe Juice/Extract Shelf Life:
2-3 years (unopened), or 2-4 weeks (refrigerated after opening)
Aloe Vera capsules should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct light to ensure long life. The bio-active ingredients in the capsules can last for five years from the manufacturing date with proper storage. However, if stored in excessive heat or high humidity for long periods of time, or stored in a refrigerator or freezer, the capsules will begin to lose their properties.
Aloe Vera Capsules Shelf Life:
5+ years (DO NOT refrigerate)