Chemical Components

Aloe vera extract, or diluted aloe gel, is made of mostly water (99%) and mono- and polysaccharides, most important of which is the monosaccharide mannose-6-phosphate and the polysaccharide gluco-mannans, which are long-chain sugars containing glucose and mannose. Gluco-mannan has been named acemannan and is marketed as Carrisyn. A glycoprotein with anti-allergic properties has also been isolated, and has been named alprogen. Recently, C-glucosyl chromone, an antiinflammatory compound, has also been identified.

Aloe gel also contains lignans, saponins, salicylic acid, sterols and triterpenoids, vitamins A, C, E, B12, thiamine, niacin and folic acid, and the minerals sodium,

calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, chromium, zinc and iron (Shelton 1991, Yamaguchi et al 1993).

The fresh gel contains glutathione peroxidase, isozymes of superoxide dismutase, and the proteolytic enzyme carboxypeptidase (Klein & Penneys 1988, Sabeh et al 1993).

Ultimately, the types and levels of components present in aloe gel vary according to geographic origin, variety and processing method.

The exudate contains the pharmacologically active anthraquinone glycosides: aloin, aloe-emodin, barbaloin and emodin (Choi & Chung 2003).

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