Aloe vera is a plant with remarkable regenerative properties of the skin and mucous membranes, immunomodulatory, hypoglycemic and lipid lowering.
The paper than on the therapeutic uses of aloe vera held in May 2002 in the Botanical Garden of Madrid, in the framework of the Days of Phytotherapy and Ethnobotany, D. Ricardo Gampel Trajterman, pharmaceutical and biochemical dedicated for 30 years to be summarized aloe study in the United States.
Ricardo Gampel, immuno-pharmacologist, and specialist in natural therapies from the University of Buenos Aires, the use of aloe or aloe runs parallel with the development of humanity from its origins: it is documented in the beginning of the Chinese civilizations, Indian and Sumerian, Assyrian and ancient Egypt, among the Babylonians and the Hebrews. They stand out as most common uses references to the regenerative power of aloe on wounds, injuries and burns and skin conditions, as well as a drink for indigestion and gas. In the first century AD Dioscorides, in his Greek herbarium, makes a wide description of the plant for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. In Estepona (Málaga) and introduced by the Arabs grow the first plantations of aloe in the Iberian Peninsula, becoming an essential element of folk medicine of the Mediterranean coast until: “The widespread use of modern pharmacopeia relegated to oblivion together most medicinal plants.”
The rediscovery of the therapeutic value of aloe occurs during the Second World War, “Burns caused in the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic explosions were cured quickly with Aloe and in many cases without stop signs or scars.”
Varieties and denominations
The genus Aloe belongs to the family of lily with such common plants as garlic, onions, asparagus and tulip. There are about 350 varieties recognized species or genus Aloe, growing in semi – arid areas of tropical and subtropical regions, most with some therapeutic property, and can be from plants about 20 cm. high to real trees over 20 meters.
Given the confusion surrounding the name of different varieties, making different species of Aloe they are known as true aloe vera in Latin- -Aloe to Gampel only be so called the aloe barb adenosis miller species. A correct designation is important because not all have the same characteristics aloes. According to Gampel “Today, virtually Aloe species used for medicinal purposes limited to two the aloe from Miller or aloe Cape; from which it is obtained mainly aloes, and aloe barb adenosis miller, originally from Barbados already, which is obtained from aloe gel and aloe “.
Due to strong demand, the species aloe barb adenosis miller experiences an increase in growing areas, which has been introduced in many regions of the warmest areas of the United States, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Bahamas, Venezuela, Greece, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Arabia, Algeria, and India. There are also barb adenosis aloe plantations in Andalusia, the Balearics, and the Canaries. Aloe baseline, hard, thick, fleshy leaves, harvested from the adult plant more than 3 years and not more than 5, from which the aloes and aloe vera gel are obtained are used.
Aloe Vera – Gel and juice
“Both the gel as the aloes is obtained from fresh leaves. But they are very different products both chemically and pharmacologically and therapeutically, so do not be confused,” says Ricardo Gampel.
Aloes, latex or exudate obtained by incision of the fresh leaves of aloe ferox species and barb adenosis, is dark yellowish color, taste bitter and nauseating. Its active ingredients are derived laxative or purgative action. This latex is condensed and dried to obtain a waxy mass crumbly, dark reddish brown to black, which shaped caked and dried mud-like lumps called wormwood. Pulverized is incorporated into pharmaceutical preparations laxatives.
The aloe vera gel is a clear, slightly yellowish liquid mucilaginous white or almost transparent, obtained by grinding the leaves of cultivated varieties of aloe barb adenosis without removing the pulp. The polysaccharides are its main constituent and contain anthraquinone derivatives laxative action. After treated by physical methods aloe vera gel or juice aloe juice, to be conveniently preserved and stabilized is obtained, since it is sensitive to light and heat and can quickly deteriorate.
Juice and juice obtained from Aloe Barbadensis Gel free of aloin and other anthraquinone substances laxatives, so can be safely orally, ensure the content of biologically active polysaccharides, and maintain the color and taste aloe vera gel.
The concentrate is aloe vera aloe gel that has been dewatered. Aloe extract is an aqueous or other solvent containing less than 10% of aloe vera gel solution. Aloe vera oil is the lipid fraction obtained from the leaves of Aloe barb adenosis Miller.
Chemical composition of the gel
Its composition and physicochemical and pharmacological properties can vary depending on rain or irrigation, the land, the time of collection of leaves, age, and storage, and in the form of obtaining the gel and storage. 99.4% by weight of aloe vera gel is water. Over 60% of the total solids are sugars linked mucilaginous polysaccharides such as glucose, mannose, rhamnose, xylose, arabinose, galactose and uronic acids. The mucilage is composed of different neutral polysaccharides, acids and acetylated (mannan, glucomannan, galactomannan …), responsible for the great ability of the plant to retain water and through which can survive in drought conditions. The mucilaginous polysaccharides are
The active principles responsible for the biological activity of aloe vera gel, and including Ricardo Gampel highlights the acemannan: “That has aroused great interest for their pharmacological properties and as a major active component of aloe gel”Polysaccharide recently identified high molecular weight, consisting of glucose, galactose, mannose and arabinose, and which apparently has a higher immunostimulating activity of acemannan”.
Following Gampel, the remaining solids comprising the aloe vera gel, which may also contribute to its therapeutic activity, are organic acids and salts (glutamic, malic, salicylic, citric, magnesium lactate, calcium oxalate …). Enzymes (cellulase, carboxypeptidase, bradykinins, catalase, amylase, oxidase, tyrosinase); sapogénicas, tannins, sterols, triglycerides, amino acids (lysine, histidine, glutamine, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagine, threonine, serine, glutamic acid, glycine, alanine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine and tryptophan). RNA and traces of alkaloids, vitamins (beta-carotene, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, choline, folic acid) and minerals (aluminum, boron, barium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, strontium, silicon). It should never contain appreciable amounts derivatives or anthraquinone laxative action.
Activity on organs and systems
With abundant references and documented studies in vitro, in animals and in humans, Ricardo Gampel developed the properties and applications of aloe vera. For activity on the gastroduodenal mucosa, it highlights the protective effect against gastric mucosal lesions, their antiulcer activity and growth inhibition of Helicobacter pylori. This acemannan in aloe vera may be useful in inflammatory bowel diseases like
Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis
In the endocrine system highlights the hypoglycemic and lipid lowering activity “Aloe vera administered orally is able to reduce blood glucose levels; you can also have some activity on blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides although the mechanism action has not been elucidated.”
As the immune system and immunomodulatory aloe has antimicrobial activity against a wide number of microorganisms, blocks HIV replication and herpesvirus activity and stimulates monocytes and macrophages. The active in immunosuppression conditions, aloe vera is also effective in preventing immunosuppression-induced states of ultraviolet radiation and preventing respiratory viral infections (colds, flu, and laryngitis) to induce antibody formation.
Also has anti-inflammatory activity: it inhibits prostaglandin synthesis and reduces migration and infiltration of leukocytes, release of histamine and the synthesis and secretion of leukotrienes: “The anti-inflammatory activity of aloe vera gel synergizes with other properties (healing and immunostimulant) to facilitate wound healing or against arthritic processes (for their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties)”.
To Gampel: “Aloe vera has anticarcinogenic and antitumor properties Especially in soft sarcomas, acemannan is capable of reducing tumor growth or cause regression thereof This antitumor activity, with the immunostimulant and protective properties induced lesions. Radiation, determine the possible application of aloe vera in the prevention of melanomas and skin cancers, “so that studies have been initiated to evaluate the antitumor activity of acemannan and other polysaccharides from aloe.
In relation to the skin and mucous, highlight the properties of healing and regeneration.
Vera, ingested or external application aloe, facilitates the healing of wounds, burns, and skin lesions and reduces pain: “It has proven particularly effective in burns radiation – induced, included solar, and subsequent to treatment with radiation injury. Aloe gel increases correct interlace of collagen fibers on the injured area due to cell and tissue regeneration promoted by glycoproteins, reepithelialization, and angiogenesis favored by allantoin and the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect of polysaccharides and phenolic compounds “. It also facilitates the healing of mouth sores and ulcerations or irritative inflammatory lesions of gastrointestinal mucosa.
In situations where wound healing is affected and delayed, for example, diabetes, aloe is particularly effective: “Not only decreases the healing time of injuries but improves blood flow and maintains a higher sensitivity in the injured area compared with other treatments.”
No less important is it’s antipsoriatic activity. Gampel explains penetration polysaccharides aloe vera gel through skin promotes moisturization, occludes the dermis and inhibits the formation of psoriatic plaques, which can be reduced so the significant duration of outbreaks.
Ricardo Gampel considers that the alterations produced in the skin by age and by solar radiation are due to degenerative changes are greater than the regenerative capacity, which is reflected in the appearance of wrinkles and changes in pigmentation. Aloe gel, in the words of Gampel: “Prevents premature photoaging, restores the balance between degenerative and regenerative changes and stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin aloe gel increases the collagen content. Soluble and inhibits the enzymes responsible for the formation and accumulation of melanin in the skin, which would lead to the appearance of spots or areas of hyperpigmentation.”
Applications and instructions
Oral aloe vera is a great regulator, purifying and toning overall body organs and systems. Recommended for its healing properties in ulcers and irritative, inflammatory, or infectious fermentative gastrointestinal problems, and their immunostimulatory properties if an increase in natural defenses in cases of respiratory or gynecological infection, urinary required.
It is recommended to purify and detoxify in hepatobiliary diseases and to an accumulation of toxins in rheumatism, arthritis, allergic conditions such as rhinitis or asthma, gout, and skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and eczema. It helps regulate and cleanse the body and help control cholesterol levels, glucose and uric acid and blood pressure, venous circulation and general metabolism, so it can be useful as an adjunct in weight control diets.
Is externally applied anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and soothing, it promotes healing and regeneration of the skin and soothes and heals wounds, sores, eczema, psoriasis, bruises, muscle or joint aches, acne, skin spots, etc. Relieves pain, irritation, itching and inflammation compresses applied in the days following the burn, solar or not, calm and accelerates regeneration of damaged skin.
To summarize, in internal and external use aloe vera is indicated for dermatological conditions and rash infections (measles, chickenpox, rubella, and herpes). Diseases of the gastric and intestinal mucosa (gastritis, hyperacidity, gastroduodenal ulcers, gastrointestinal infections and inflammatory bowel diseases as Crohn’s, colitis and irritable colon) and oral mucosa (aphthae, gingivitis, periodontitis, oral and esophageal candidiasis), immunosuppressive states, inflammatory and autoimmune type arthritis, tumor processes, prevention of immunosuppressive states and infectious processes, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia.
For external use, have been reported adverse reactions and allergic reactions are very rare. In internal use aloe vera gel is considered safe and no known interactions. The juices obtained from aloe vera gel should be biological and contain no substances. Anthraquinone derivatives can cause diarrheas and intestinal cramps, and chronic use can cause potassium loss, dehydration and dependence on laxatives.
To verify the origin and authenticity of aloe vera, a group of American manufacturers founded in 1990 the IASC (International Aloe Science Council), whose seal assurance and quality control of American aloe, has become synonymous with security aloe vera.