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Aloe Vera
Species (Family)
Aloe barbaensis Mill ., Aloe ferox Mill . an hybris
with Aloe africana Mill . an Aloe spicata Baker
None ocumente .
Aloe Gel, Aloe vera Tourn . ex L ., Aloe vera (L.)
Parts Use
Leaf gel
Pharmacopoeial an Other
Martinale 32n eition
PDR for Herbal Meicines 2n eition
WHO volume 1 1999
Legal Category (License Proucts)
Aloe vera is not inclue in the GSL .
Constituents (G2,G6,G22,G41)
Aloe vera is reporte to contain mono- an polysaccharies, tannins, sterols, organic acis, enzymes
(incluing cyclooxygenase)," ) saponins, vitamins an
minerals . )2)
Glucomannan an other polysaccharies containing arabinose, galactose an xylose .
Inclues cholesterol, gamolenic aci an arachionic aci ." ) The polar, non-polar an fatty aci
composition has been investigate ."
Foo Use
Aloe vera is not use in foos .
Herbal Use
Traitionally, aloe vera has been use in ointments
an creams to assist the healing of wouns, burns,
(G2,G6,G4I . 64)
eczema an psoriasis .
Pharmacological Actions
Aloe vera refers to the mucilaginous tissue locate in
the leaf parenchyma of Aloe vera or relate Aloe
species . However, many ocumente stuies for Aloe
vera have utilise homogenise leaf extracts which
therefore combine aloe vera with aloes, the laxative
preparation obtaine from the bitter, yellow juice
also foun in the leaf (see Aloes) . Unless otherwise
specifie, the following stuies will refer to a total
leaf extract .
In vitro an animal stuies
Gel preparations have been reporte to be effective
against raiation burns, skin ulcers an peptic
ulcers . (2) However, the gel was also foun to be
ineffective against rug- an stress-inuce gastric
an peptic ulcers in rats . (2)
Anti-inflammatory activity has been observe in
various rat an mouse moels that receive subcutaneous injections of Aloe vera leaf extract . (31 A positive response was note in woun-healing (10 mg/kg,
rat ; 100 mg/kg, mouse), mustar oeema (10 mg/kg,
rat) an polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration
(2 mg/kg, mouse) tests, although no activity was
emonstrate in the antifibrosis test (cotton pellet
granuloma) (400 mg/kg, rat) .
Anti-arthritic an anti-inflammatory activity has
been ocumente for a cream containing homogenise Aloe a fricana leaves, ribonucleic aci, an
ascorbic aci, following topical application to rats
which ha been injecte (ay 0) with Mycobacterium
butyricum to cause ajuvant arthritis . (4) This moel
is consiere a goo experimental tool for stuying
rheumatoi arthritis . (4) The cream was foun to be
active when applie both as a prevention (ays 1-13)
an as a regression (ays 21-35) treatment .
Subsequent work suggeste that anthraquinone compouns (anthraquinone, anthracene an anthranilic
aci) may be the active components in the aloe leaf
mixture . (5) These compouns are, however, constituents of aloes rather than aloe vera (see Aloes) . Aloe
vera juice (presumably containing the anthraquinones containe in aloe preparation) has been
applie irectly to open pressure sores to assist in
Aloe Vera
their healing.(6) The aloe vera extract exhibited an
anaesthetic reaction, antibacterial action and
increased local microcirculation . (6)
Endogenous cyclooxygenase in Aloe vera has been
found to convert endogenous arachidonate to various
prostanoids, namely PGE 2 (major), TXB 2, PGD 2,
PGF2a , and 6-keto-PGF 1 ba . (1) The production of
these compounds, especially PGE2, has been associated with the beneficial effect of an aloe extract on
human bronchial asthma (8) (see below) .
Hypoglycaemic actions have been documented for
aloes extracts (see Aloes) .
Clinical studies
Enhancement of phagocytosis in adult bronchial
asthma has been attributed to a non-dialysable fraction of the extract, consisting of active components
and protein or glycoprotein . (7) Despite the nature of
these proposed active components, it has been proposed that activity of the fraction may be related to
observation that aloe
synthesises prostaglandins from endogenous arachidonic acid using endogenous cyclooxygenase .(l)
In this current study, () activity of the aloe vera
extract required dark storage at 4-30°C for a period
of 3-10 days . (3) These conditions are reported to be
favourable for the hydrolysis of phospholipids, thus
releasing arachidonic acid for synthesis of prostanoids."n In addition, activity was dependent on
patients not having received prior treatment with a
corticosteroid.(8) The gel has been reported to be
effective in the treatment of mouth ulcers .(8)
Side-effects, Toxicity
None documented .
Contra-indications, Warnings
Hypoglycaemic activity has been documented for
an aloe vera extract, although it is unclear whether
this is associated with the true aloe vera gel or
aloes extract.(9)
Pregnancy ancl lactation The external application of
aloe vera gel during pregnancy is not thought
to be any cause for concern . However, products
stated to contain aloes extracts or aloe vera
may well contain gastrointestinal stimulant anthraquinone components that are well recognised as
the active constituents in aloes (laxative) . As such,
ingestion of such preparations during pregnancy and
lactation should be avoided .
Pharmaceutical Comment
Aloe vera is obtained from the mucilaginous tissue
in the centre of the Aloe vera leaf and consists
mainly of polysaccharides and lipids . It should not
be confused with aloes, which is obtained by
evaporation of water from the bitter yellow juice
that is drained from the leaf. Unlike aloes, aloe vera
does not contain any anthraquinone compounds
and does not, therefore, exert any laxative action .
Studies have reported an anti-inflammatory and
anti-arthritic action for total leaf extracts but the
activity seems to be associated with anthraquinone
compounds . Hypoglycaemic activity has been
reported for aloe vera extract . Aloe vera is a source
of gamolenic acid . The literature on burn management with aloe vera gel preparations is confused
and further studies are required ." o)
See also General References G5, G6, G18, G19, G22,
G29, G31, G32, G36, G41, G43, G63 and G64 .
Afzal M et al . Identification of some prostanoids in
Aloe vera extracts . Planta Med 1991 ; 57: 38-40 .
Parmar NS et al . Evaluation of Aloe vera leaf
exudate and gel for gastric and duodenal anti-ulcer
activity. Fitoterapia 1986 ; 57 : 380-381 .
Davis RH et al . Biological activity of Aloe vera.
Med Sci Res 1987; 15 : 235 .
Davis RH et al . Topical effect of aloe with
ribonucleic and vitamin C on adjuvant arthritis .
J Am Pod Med Assoc 1985 ; 75 : 229-237 .
Davis RH et al . Antiarthritic activity of anthraquinones found in aloe for podiatric medicine.
J Am Pod Tied Assoc 1986 ; 76 : 61-66 .
Cuzzell JZ . Readers' remedies for pressure sores .
Am J Nurs 1986 ; 86 : 923-924 .
Shida T et al . Effect of Aloe extract on peripheral
phagocytos's in adult bronchial asthma . Planta
Med 1985 ; 51 : 273-275 .
Plemons JM et al. Evaluation of acemannan in the
treatment of aphthous stomatitis . Wounds 1994; 6 :
40-45 .
Ghanam N et al. The antidiabetic activity of aloes :
preliminary clinical and experimental observations .
Hormone Res 1986 ; 24 : 288-294 .
Marshall JNI . Aloe vera gel : What is the evidence?
Pharm j 1990 ; 244 : 360-362 .

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