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International Journal of Biological & Medical Research
Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(1): 466-471
Aloe vera their chemicals composition and applications: A review
Sharrif Moghaddasi M * , Sandeep Kumar Verma
A R T I C L E I N F O A B S T R A C T
It was known to people in Egypt and also Greece for example Aristoteles explains special
charactristics of Aloe vera jelatin that is extracted from this plant is continuously used to treat
burns, cuts and inflamed scars since many years. It is useful for skin damaged from X ray as
reported in many researches in journals related X rays. On the other hand concentration of
glucose in gelatin, results in high osmotic presure, that protect skin from live bacteria. Aloe
vera include ''Antrokinon'' cemicals that are known as anti virus, anti bacteria and anti cancer.
Aloe vera (Aloe vera )has 400 species but just 2 species; A.barbadensis are used for trade in the
world. This plant need very less water for living and also can survive on saline soils, beaches
and is resistance to diseases and insects. It can live in very hot regions, but cannot tolerate cold.
Aloe vera grows in, Mexico, India, South and centeral America, Africa, Australia, Carribians and
Iran. This paper reviews history, its chemicals, medical usage, plant morphology, extracts and
agronomy of Aloe vera.
hand concentration of glucose in gelatin, results in high osmotic
presure, that protect skin from live bacteria. Aloe vera include
''Antrokinon'' chemicals that are known as anti virus, anti bacteria
and anti cancer. Researchers shows that plant is very helpful for
treatment of Psoriyazis. Aloe vera is very similar to Cactus but
belongs to Lily family of Aloe barbadensis groups. Aloe vera has
400 species but just 2 species; A.barbadensis and A.aborescens are
used for trade in the world. This plant need very less water for
living and also can survive on saline soils, beaches and is resistance
to diseases and insects. It can live in very hot regions, but cannot
tolerate cold. Aloe vera grows in South Texas, Florida and South
California in USA. It also grows in Mexico, India, South and centeral
America, Africa, Australia, Carribians and Iran. This paper reviews
history, its chemicals, medical usage, plant morphology, extracts
and agronomy of Aloe vera.
Ancient Egyptian papyrus and Mesopotamian clay tablets
describe aloe as useful in curing infections, treating skin problems
and as a laxative. Cleopatra was said to include aloe cream in her
beauty regimen . Aloe was used by Hippocrates and Arab
physicians, and was carried to the Western Hemisphere by Spanish
The plant of Aloe vera and its usage as drug dates back to 6000
years B.C. The plates blonging to Sumer period during 2200 years
BC, show use of this plant as a drug. In that plates, it is written
about origin of this plant as Africa, that has 240 species and is ever
green. Cleopatra said that her beauty is due to use of Aloe vera
plant. One prescription that belong to 1550 BC shows Aloe vera
plant used for different illness. It was known to people in Egypt and
also Greece for example Aristoteles explains special charactristics
of Aloe vera. Jelatin that is extracted from this plant is continuously
used to treat burns, cuts and inflamed scars since many years. It is
also used in cosmetics sector, medical sector and beverage sectors.
It is useful for skin damaged from X ray as reported in many
researc hes i n journals relate d X rays. Because of high
concentration of water and oil in this plant, it helps to protect skin
from drieness and so the skin that is burnt or cut heals very quickly.
aIslamic Azad University/Saveh Branch, Iran
b Abant Izzet Baysal University, Department of Biology, Bolu- 14280, Turkey.
* Corresponding Author : DR. Sharrif Moghaddasi M.
Islamic Azad University
Saveh Branch, Iran
Copyright 201 BioMedSciDirect Publications IJBMR - All rights reserved.1 ISSN: 0976:6685.
International Journal of
BIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL RESEARCH
Int J Biol Med Res
Volume 2, Issue 1, Jan 2011
Copyright 2011 BioMedSciDirect Publications. All rights reserved.
explorers. Legend has it that Alexander the Great captured the
island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean to secure its aloe supplies to
treat his wounded soldiers.Aloe is also popular in both
traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (India). The Chinese
describe aloe's skin and the inner lining of its leaves as a cold, bitter
remedy which is downward draining and used to clear
constipation due to accumulation of heat ; the gel is considered
cool and moist. In Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of
India, aloe is used internally as a laxative, antihelminthic,
hemorrhoid remedy, and uterine stimulant (menstrual regulator);
it is used topically, often in combination with licorice root, to treat
eczema or psoriasis. In Arabian medicine, the fresh gel is rubbed
on the forehead as a headache remedy or rubbed on the body to
cool it in case of fever, as well as being used for wound healing,
conjunctivitis, and as a disinfectant and laxative.
Today aloe vera gel is an active ingredient in hundreds of skin
lotions, sun blocks and cosmetics. The gel's use in cosmetics has
been boosted by claims that it has similar anti-aging effects to
vitamin A derivatives. Aloe first gained popularity in the United
States in the 1930's with reports of its success in treating X-ray
burns [8,9,10]. Recently, aloe extracts have been used to treat
canker sores, stomach ulcers and even AIDS. Some natural health
enthusiasts promote aloe gel as a cleansing juice . Some
naturopaths promote aloe juice as a way to prevent and treat renal
stones . Many mothers keep a plant handy in the kitchen where
it readily thrives in bright sunlight with little care . When faced
with a minor burn, a fresh leaf can be cut and the gel of the inner
leaf applied directly to the burn immediately after the injury .
The inner leaf lining of the plant is used as a potent natural laxative.
In a 1990 survey of members of a health maintenance
organization, aloe vera was used by 64%; of these, 91% believed it
had been helpful . Aloe is also an ingredient in Compound
Benzoin tincture .
Sharrif Moghaddasi M / Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(1): 466-471
From the gel:
1. Polysaccharides: glucomannan and acemannan
2. Other: carboxypeptidase, magnesium, zinc, calcium, glucose,
cholesterol, salicylic acid,prostaglandin precursors (gamma-
linolenic acid [GLA]), vitamins A, C, E, lignins, saponins, plant
sterols and amino acids .
From the latex leaf lining:
3. Anthraquinone glycosides: aloin, aloe-emodin, barbaloin
2.1 Medicinal species: Aloe vera, A. barbadensis (Barbados aloe),
A. vulgaris, A.arborescens, A. ferox (Cape aloe), A. perryi (Socotrine
or Zanzibar aloe). There are over300 species of aloe, most of which
are native to South Africa, Madagascar and Arabia . The
different species have somewhat different concentrations of active
2.3 Plant description: The botanical name of Aloe vera is Aloe
barbadensis miller. It belongs to Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family,
and is a shrubby or arborescent, perennial, xerophytic, succulent,
pea-green color plant. The aloe plant has long (up to 20 inches long
and 5 inches wide), triangular, fleshy leaves that have spikes along
the edges. The fresh parenchymal gel from the center of the leaf is
clear; this part is sometimes dried to form aloe vera concentrate or
diluted with water to create aloe juice products. The sticky latex
liquid is derived from the yellowish green pericyclic tubules that
line the leaf (rind); this is the part that yields laxative
anthraquinones. The flowers (not used medicinally) are
2.4 Where it's grown: Aloes are indigenous to South Africa and
South America, but are now cultivated worldwide except in tundra,
deserts and rain forests. In the US aloe is commercially cultivated
in southern Texas . It takes approximately four years to reach
maturity and has a life span of about 12 years.
Figure 1: Aloe vera plant.
3. AloeVera: Potentially Active Chemical Constituents
Table 1: Summary of the chemicals composition of A. Vera [23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29].
Class Compounds Properties
organic comounds and lipids
isobarbaloin , emodin,
ester of cinnamic acid.
isoaloeresin D, isorabaichromone,
Y-linolenic acid, steroids(campestrol,
triglycerides, triterpenoid, gibberillin,
lignins,potassium sorbate,salicylic acid,
Lectins, lectin-like substance
Mannose, glucose, L-rhamnose, aldopentose
Vitamin A, B12,C, E,choline and folic acid
Auxins and gibberellins
It also contains salicylic acid that
possesses anti-inflammatory and
Lignin, an inert substance,
when included in topical preparations,
enhances penetrative effect of the other
ingredients into skin. Saponins that are
the soapy substances from about
3% of the gel and have cleansing
and antiseptic properties.
Vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants and
antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
That helps in wound healing and have
Pure mannan, acetylated mannan,
pectic substance, xylan, cellulose
Aloin and emodin acts as analgesics,
antibacterials and antivirals.
A glycoprotein with antiallergic properties,
called alprogen and novel
The novel anti-inflammatory commands .
Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive
inflammation when applied to the skin
topically, while others help in the
breakdown of sugars and fats.
They are essential for the proper
functioning of various enzymes systems
in different metabolic pathways
and few are antioxidants
Sharrif Moghaddasi M / Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(1): 466-471
4. Biological activity of Aloe vera
The gel or mucilage obtained from the flesh of the leaf contains
quite different compounds from the bitter latex extracted from the
leaf lining . Aloe gel is 99% water with a pH of 4.5 and is a
common ingredient in many non-prescription skin salves. The gel
contains an emollient polysaccharide, glucomannan. It is a good
moisturizer, which accounts for its use in many cosmetics .
Acemannan, the major carbohydrate fraction in the gel, is a water-
soluble long chain mannose polymer which accelerates wound
healing, modulates immune function (particularly macrophage
activation and production of cytokines) and demonstrates
antineoplastic and antiviral effects . The gel also contains
bradykininase, an anti-inflammatory , magnesium lactate,
which helps prevent itching, and salicylic acid and other
antiprostaglandin compounds which relieve inflammation.
The leaf lining (latex, resin or sap) contains anthraquinone
glycosides (aloin, aloe-emodin and barbaloin) that are potent
stimulant laxatives. These water soluble glycosides are split by
intestinal bacteria into aglycones which effect the laxative action.
The laxative effect from aloe is stronger than from any other herb,
including senna, cascara or rhubarb root; it also has more severe
side effects such as cramping, diarrhea, and nausea . For
medicinal use, the leaf lining is dried and the residue is used as an
herbal laxative. The products are usually taken at bedtime.
They are poorly absorbed after oral administration, but
moderately well absorbed after bacterial hydrolysis. They are
eliminated in the urine, bile, feces and breast milk. They turn
alkaline urine red . Most herbalists recommend that they be
avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of stimulating uterine
contractions and also avoided during lactation due to the risk of
excretion in breast milk . Aloe is seldom recommended as a
first choice among laxative preparations due to the severe
cramping and nausea associated with its use.
4.1 Healing properties: Various researchers reported that the
effective components for wound healing may be tannic acid 
and a type of polysaccharide . Other researcher have also
reported that glucomannan, a mannose-rich polysaccharide and
gibberellin a growth hormone interacts with growth factor
receptors on the fibroblast therby stimulating its activity and
proliferation which in turn significantly increase collagen
synthesis after topical and oral Alov vera  Aloe gel not only
increased collagen content of the wound but also changed collagen
composition and increased the degree of collagen cross linking.
Due to this, it accelerated wound contrcation and incresed the
breaking strength of resulting scar tissue  An increased
synthesis of hyaluronic acid and dermatan sulfate in the
granulation tissue of a healing wound following oral or topical
teratment has been reported .
significant increase in the number of circulating monocyte and
macrophages which mirrored clinical improvements . In a
pilot study in HIV-infected persons acemannan increased the
number of white blood cells and improved symptoms . Aloe
extracts also increased phagocytosis in asthmatic adults .
Alprogen inhibit calcium influx into mast cells, therby inhibiting
the antigen-antibody-mediated release of histamine and
leukotriene from mast cells .In a study on mice that had
previously been implanted with murine sarcoma cells, acemannan
stimulates the synthesis and release of interleukin -1(IL-1) and
tumor necrosis factor from macrophages in mice, which in turn
inhitiated an immune attack that resulted in necrosis and
regression of the cancerous cells . Several low-molecular-
weight compounds are also capable of inhibiting the release of
reactive oxygen free radicals from activated human neutrophils
4.3 Antimicrobial: Aloe vera contains 6 antiseptic agents: Lupeol,
salicyclic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulfur.
They all have inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria and viruses.
Acemannan acts alone and synergistically with azidothymidine
(AZT)and acyclovir to block reproduction of Herpes and the AIDS
virus , AntifungalAloe extract treatment of guinea pig feet that
had been infected with Trichophyton mentagrophytes resulted in
a 70% growth inhibition compared with untreated animals . In
recent, atudies, a polysaccharide fraction has shown to inhibit the
binding of benzopyrene to primary rat hepatocytes, therby
preventing the formation of potentially cancer-initiating
benzopyrene-DNAadducts. An induction of glutathione S-
transferase and an inhibition of the tumorproting effects of
phorbol myristic acetae has also been reported which suggest a
possible benefit of using aloe gel in cancer chemoprevention
4.4 Skin and mucus membranes: In humans, aloe has been
reported to accelerate healing from deep scrapes, frostbite, flash
burns of the conjunctiva, and even canker sores [53, 54,55]. Only
one study has had an opposite effect; that is, aloe-treated surgical
wounds healing by secondary intention took longer to heal than
comparison wounds . Despite the conflicting research, some
dentists and otolaryngologists use aloe gel to promote healing in
injured tissues in the mouth, nose, sinuses and ear . Aloe gel
has most often been used as a topical treatment for burn wounds
. In a study of 27 adults with partial thickness burns, those
treated with aloe healed an average of six days faster than those
treated with Vaseline gauze . Psoriasis remedy In a 1995
double-blind, placebo controlled study of aloe's effect on 60
patients with psoriasis vulgaris, an aloe vera extract (0.5%) in a
hydrophilic cream resulted in a significant clearing of the psoriatic
plaques in 83.3% of the aloe-treated patients versus 6.6% of the
placebo group . The aloe treatment was well tolerated with no
adverse drug-related side effects. Its moisturizing effects has also
been studies in teratment of dry skin associated with occupational
exposure where aloe vera gel gloves improved the skin integrity,
decreases appearance of fine wrinkle and decreases erythema
 .It has also anti-acne effect.
4.2 Immune modulati on : Im munostimu la nt a nd ant i-
inflammatory (gel) ,In a case studies of 14 HIV-1+ patients who
were prescribed 800 mg/day of acemannan, there was a
Sharrif Moghaddasi M / Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(1): 466-471
4.5 Effects on skin exposure to UV and gamma radiation: Aloe
vera gel has been reported to have a protective effect against
damage to skin [62, 63]. Exact role is not known , but following the
administration of alove vera gel, an antioxidant protein,
metallothionein, is generated in the skin which scavenges hydroxyl
radicals and prevents suppression of superoxide dismutase and
glutathione peroxidase in the skin. Its reduces the production and
release of skin keratinocyte-derived immunosuppresive cytokines
such as interluki n -10 and hence prevents UV-induced
suppression of delayed type hypersensitivity .
4.6 Anti-diabetic effects: Several pre-clinical (in animal) and
clinical (in human) trials showed a blood glucose lowering effects
for Aloe vera gel preparations in different forms (e.g. juice or as
constituents in bread etc.) . In a study on streptozotocin- induced
diabetic rats oral administration of Aloe vera gel (alcohol insoluble
residue extract) significantly reduced the fasting blood glucose,
herpatic transminases, plasma and tissue cholestrol, triglicerides,
free fatty acids and phospholipids and in addition also significantly
increased plasma insulin levels. The decresaed plasma levels of
high density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased levels of low
density lipoprotin cholestrol in the sterptozotocin-induces rats
were restored to normal after teratment with gel extract .
From the findings of another study on streptozotocin-induced
diabetic rats, it was suggested that the mechanism of action of Aloe
vera extarcts to reduced blood glucose levels is by enchancing
glucose metabolism. It was further proposed that the glucose
lowering effect could be explained by an antioxidant mechanism
becasue it attenuated oxidative damage in the brains of
sterptozotocin-induced mice and reduced peroxidation levels in
the kidneys of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats .
5. Conclusions: Aloe vera bulk as well as extracts are widely used
in food, cosmetic, healthcare, skincare and medical industry as
active ingredients for extra therapeutic, hygienical, rejuvenating,
health enhance effectives. Although, Aloe vera has wide spectrum
of the propertiess and uses. Food and Drug Administration of USA
has already approved the developmental study of Aloe vera in the
treatment of Cancer and AIDS. In future, controlled studies are
requied to prove the effectiveness of Alove vera under the various
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Copyright 201 BioMedSciDirect Publications IJBMR -
All rights reserved.
1 ISSN: 0976:6685.
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