Health Vlogger Trying to Promote the Benefits of Aloe Vera Ends up Poisoning Herself Live on Camera

Image Credit: YouTube

Bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, and social media influencers are the new normal – millions of people subscribe to the channels and posts of people who (often) have zero qualifications to give advice about anything.

But the Internet doesn’t care about what you know, it only cares about what you say you know – and also how pretty you are, natch.

But this “health” vlogger is probably wishing she’d done a bit more reading on aloe vera before eating it live in front of her viewers. Or at least made sure the plant she’d acquired actually was aloe vera.

The woman, known as Ms. Zhang, can be seen on the video taking a large bite of a green plant that certainly resembles aloe vera and saying (in Mandarin), “This is great.”

Image Credit: YouTube

Shortly afterward, though, her mouth went number, her throat began to burn, and she had to stop vlogging in order to get herself to a hospital. There, she presented with burns and sores in her mouth and required a stomach pumping (she’ll be fine, doctors say).

Image Credit: YouTube

It turns out the plant she chewed up was agave americana, not aloe vera. The similar-looking plant is cultivated in Mexico and other places in North America primarily for ornamental purposes and, less often, the manufacture of mezcal, and it is often referred to as American aloe because of how similar the two plants appear.


Unlike actual aloe, though, agave americana is extremely toxic, says Cornell University’s department of animal science.

Agave americana has several toxic compounds, not all of which have been positively identified. It contains the incredibly irritating calcium oxalate raphides (microscopic daggers of crystalline oxalate) as well as some other really irritating oils in the sap.”


For the record, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that “there is not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it.”

I suppose that even if her video failed to promote the idea of using aloe vera for various medical ailments, she taught people something: namely, don’t eat something unless you’re 100% sure it’s not going to injure you.

Or worse.