Main Aloe Properties - Main Aloe Constituents

Main Aloe Properties

Four vegetables are indispensable for the well-being of man: wheat, grape, olive and aloe. The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit, the third brings him harmony and the fourth cures him."
- Christopher Columbus

The Aloe plant

The main wild or cultivated aloe species, used basically in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and beauty, toiletry and food and beverages industries are the following: 

  • Aloe vera 
  • Aloe Saponaria 
  • Aloe Arborescens Miller 
  • Aloe Ferox 
  • Aloe Perryi 
  • Aloe Chinensis

Human use of Aloes are primarily as a herbal remedy in alternative medicines and "home first aid". It is very common to have an aloe plant in your garden or inside your house, usually in the kitchen. Both the translucent inner pulp (inner aloe gel) as well as the resinous yellow exudate known as aloe bitter or aloe sap, are used in external and internal uses. In external uses, the skin care is the most known. 

To date, much research has shown aloe having different positive medicinal benefits for external and internal uses. In the research section of the Aloetrade America main site we offer extensive information about it.

The more used part of the aloe plants are their leaves and in particular their internal transparent gel. 

The aloe gel is liquid, transparent and a colorless one composed mainly by water in approximately a 98% of its weight. The remaining 2% of weight, that it would obtain by elimination of the water, are a complex mixture of substances, such as polysaccharides, enzimes, aminoacids, vitamins, minerals and antraquinones, with their well know farmacological and cosmetological effects. 

This main element of the Aloe plant is a thick and mucilaginous gel. Externally, it can be applied directly to any number of skin complaints such as burns, rashes, cuts, acne, stings and cold sores. Aloe gel can also provide instant relief from sunburn and will eliminate blemishes caused by over-exposure to the sun when used over a prolonged period of time. It will also greatly reduce scarring and other unsightly damaged skin tissue. The aloe gel from Aloe-Spa Salute per AloeTM is the main raw material used into our aloe-spa treatments.

Aloe gel penetrates the three skin layers and it is the main reason of its soothing and relaxing properties. It has been cited as having anti aging effect, though this could be down to its intense moisturising qualities. For that reasons, it is highly used in many cosmetic and beauty preparations. 

There is also a bitter yellow juice that is produced in the thick leaf epidermis of the plant which is used, often in conjunction with the gel and other natural remedies, for the treatment of internal ailments. The products made from the extracts of Aloe Vera (usually called aloe sap, aloe blood, aloin or acibar in spanish) are aimed to cure the constipation and indigestion. The processed aloin is also reported to help with arthritis, asthma, insomnia and haemorrhoids.

At the present time they are numerous scientific works related to the aloes and their products. In the United States from 1950 to date, close to 200 Patents of Invention covering from aloe processing to new aloe derived industrial products have been registered, for medicines, cosmetics, foods, as much for its application in humans like for animals and vegetables. 

Aloe External Uses

For medicinal purposes, aloe vera is most commonly used externally to treat various skin conditions, and burns. Not only does it soothe the skin, ease pain and reduce inflammation, studies have been done to show that using aloe as a topical treatment to burns will help speed up the healing recovery process. A study performed in the 1990s showed that the healing of a moderate severe burn was sped up by six days when covering the wound on a regular basis with aloe vera gel, compared to the healing of the wound covered in a gauze bandage (Farrar, 2005). Aloe vera helps burns of various degrees, including sunburn. When the gel is rubbed over over-exposed skin, the redness will disappear within a couple of days, and it helps to preserve moisture so that the skin will not become dry and peel. A cut leaf from an aloe vera plant can be rubbed over the skin, as it exudes gel; the gel can also be bought in drugstores. 

Aloe vera can also be used to treat minor cuts and scrapes. Rubbing a cut leaf over a cut will help prevent infection and will speed up the healing response from the body. The aloe vera acts as a sealant and pulls the skin back together like a bandage or a suture. 

Although aloe should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, its many uses are beneficial and should be considered for anything such as an everyday moisturizer to a first-aid antiseptic. In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, continuous research is being done to learn how else the aloe vera plant can play an important part in human lives. 

Many cosmetic companies are now adding aloe to every product possible including makeup, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions, as well as any product that is created to soothe, protect and moisturize the skin. That explains our main aloe-spa products. 

This is due partially to the fact that Aloe extract is full of vitamins, nutrients and minerals, as well as, the perception of the general public of Aloe as a healing ingredient. The International Aloe Science Council advises choosing products that contain between twenty-five and forty percent aloe in them to receive the ultimate aloe vera benefits to the skin. Most of our products are in a range of 60% of aloe content or even more, such as the aloe moisturizing gel or our after sun aloe gel, with percentages upto 85%.

Aloe gel is also useful for any dry skin condition, especially eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin, and for treating fungal infections such as ringworm. In Ayurvedic medicine, the gel is usually applied fresh and can even be converted into an ointment for long-term use. 

Main Aloe Constituents 

Aloe is a natural pharmacy for you. Like no other natural plant, aloe has hundreds of research, medical papers and clinical trials to demonstrate its wide properties. Following is a description of its main constituents.

Amino Acids 

Aloe provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential ones. The amino acids provides the basic building blocks of proteins in the production of muscle tissue etc, and the human body cannot manufacture them. 

Anthraquinones 

Aloe provides 12 anthraquinones: Aloe emodin, Aloetic Acid, Aloin, Anthracine, Antranol, Barbaloin, Chrysophanic Acid, Emodin, Ethereal Oil, Ester of Cinnamonic Acid, Isobarbaloin, Resistannol. 

In relatively small concentrations together with the Gel fraction they provide Analgesic, Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antiviral activity. In high concentration on their own they can be toxic. Are also known as aloe bitter, aloe bitter sap, aloe gum, or aloe laxatives. 

The antraquinones are found in the sap. The anthraquinone derivatives (anthrones and chromones) comprise the phenolic fraction of the sap. The primary sap component is Aloin/Barbaloin anthrone derivative. 

Enzymes

Aloe provides 8 enzymes: Aliiase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Amylase, Carboxypeptidase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Peroxidase. The enzymes help breakdown of food sugars and fats aiding digestion and enhancing nutrient absorbtion. 

Hormones 

Auxins and Gibberellins. Wound Healing and Anti-inflammatory. 

Lignin

It is a cellulose based substance.Thought to provide penetrating power in Aloe vera skin preparations and may act as a carrier for other components 

Minerals

Aloe provides 9 minerals: Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc Minerals are essential for good health and is known to work in certain combination with each other, vitamins and other trace elements 

Salicylic Acid

Aspirin like compound. It is an analgesic. 

Saponins

They are glycosides. Saponins are a soapy substance both cleansing and antiseptic. 

Sterols

Aloe provides 4 main plant steroids: Cholesterol, Campesterol, Lupeol, ß Sitosterol. Are anti-inflammatory agents. Lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties. 

Sugars 

Monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. 

Polysaccarides: gluco-mannans / polymannose. 

They have anti-inflammatory action. Acemannan is an anti-viral, and generates immune modulating activity. The long chain gluco-mannans are absorbed intact by the pinocytotic process of certain cells lining the digestive tract.

Vitamins

A, C, E, B, Choline, B12, Folic Acid 

They are antioxidant (A,C,E): neutralises free radicals. B's and Choline involved in amino acid metabolism, B12 required for production of red blood cells, Folic Acid in the development of blood cells. 

References 

The Essential Aloe Vera, The Actions And The Evidence, by Dr Peter Atherton, 2nd Edition, 1997 

The Health and Medical Use of Aloe Vera by Lawrence G Plaskett, PhD, FRSC, 1998 {ISBN:0-943685-21-4}

Aloe Vera: A Scientific Approach by Robert H Davis, PhD, 1997 {ISBN:0-533-12137-X}

The Silent Healer A Modern Study of Aloe Vera, by Bill C Coates, R.Ph., C.C.N. with Robert Ahola, 3rd Edition, 1996

Aloe Vera: Nature's Soothing Healer by Diane Gage, 1996 {ISBN:0-89281-627-9}

Source: Extracted from Aloetrade America main site