So, what is in Aloe Vera that makes it so powerful?
Aloe vera can help to prevent inflammation and support joint and muscle functioning. It naturally contains amino acids and plant sterols which exert a natural anti-inflammatory action by inhibiting the actions of hormones which cause inflammation.
Aloe Vera contains antioxidants.
Aloe Vera contains a wide range of vitamins including A, C and E which are potent antioxidants that may help slow down cell damage. Aloe vera boosts immunity and helps eliminate free radicals from the body and slows down the aging process. It can also help to protect the body from viruses.
Aloe Vera contains essential minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
It also contains essential minerals including calcium, magnesium and zinc. Think of aloe vera as a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement. Not only do you get the soothing effects of aloe you get its abundant vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients that help in the elimination of toxins and 'food build up' in the colon.
Aloe Vera contains enzymes which help to clean out the colon and aid detoxing.
High in enzymes, lipases and proteases, aloe vera can help to breakdown food and aid digestion. Its ability to process food means it can help to completely clean out the colon and therefore aid detoxing, absorbing toxins through the intestines.
Aloe vera contains a range of fatty acids.
Fatty acids from aloe vera, such as HCL Cholesterol, can be helpful in reducing symptoms of acid indigestion and chronic digestive system issues while reducing fats in the blood.
Aloe vera is the most well-known natural adaptogen.
Which means it can adapt to external changes and fight illness as a result of stress and inflammation. Adaptogens help to increase your body’s natural defensive response. This means it can help with both constipation and diarrhea as it adjusts and helps to balance the digestive system.
Energize your probiotics.
Studies have also shown that when absorbed in the body it may energize probiotics in the gastrointestinal tract, helping the friendly bacteria to flourish and in turn, creating a healthier environment in the gut, while alkalizing your body and building up your immune system.
Aloe vera’s long list of beneficial ingredients makes it something of a one-stop miracle plant that can aid many common ailments, especially digestive issues. In a day and age where an increasing amount of people are being diagnosed with food allergies and intolerances, as well as digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, it can become a struggle to balance your diet and maintain a healthy body.
There are many different types of aloe vera growing all over the world in dry and subtropical locations, but the original wild version is suspected to have come from desert regions of Africa. Chiefly, the one used most commonly for medicinal purposes is Aloe barbadensis Miller, one of 4 species used medicinally and considered the most widely used and most potent of the 360 Aloe species. Aloe vera is a succulent plant that is cultivated all over the world for its thick gelatinous leaves. When the leaves are cut, a clear viscous substance (Acemannan) can be pressed or filleted out of the aloe leaf.
It is an extremely hardy succulent that can go for long periods of time without water, with developed storage techniques that capture water within its matrix of unique long-chain polysaccharides. Because of these characteristics, the aloe plant can grow in a variety of climatic conditions, most prolifically in dry, arid volcanic soil zones. Acemannan, Aloe’s inner leaf gel material, is the healing and therapeutic element of the plant that is a rich source of polysaccharides and many other ingredients including lignins, saponins, salicylic acid, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and fatty acids. Acemannan is discussed later in greater detail. Aloe is well known commercially for its topical use in the cosmetic industry in hair and skin products. But it is also a very popular ingredient in a wide range of health food products and beverages due to its number of nutritional components. Today, many people are also using fresh raw aloe leaf by "filleting" out the inner gel and consuming it like a vegetable blended into juice, water or drinks. Aloe is about 99% water and is a very hydrating and super nourishing food for the body. In addition, it contains beneficial phytochemicals such as anthraquinones and various glucomannans. It is an excellent top superfood, not only for the skin, but for many systems of the body, helping to boost immunity, purify the liver and aid digestion. Most modern-day people know what aloe is or have at least heard of it. In the following pages we will discuss some of aloe's attributes as a dietary supplement and certain elements of the gel that make it a super healthy addition to most any blended drink. There are quite a few aloe hybrids that are used for ornamental and landscape purposes which are likely not as effective, as most do not have the stabilized gel in the center of the leaf. This gel is necessary for the aloe plant's therapeutic health benefits such as wound healing, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiviral, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and gastroprotective.(reference: Hamman JH.Composition and applications of Aloe vera leaf gel. Molecules. 2008; 13(8):1599-1616) Most “Aloe containing” commercial products are not effective. Only by properly identifying, isolating and stabilizing the active ingredient, Acemannan, can effective products be produced.
What is Meant by Stabilized Aloe?
Some aloe manufacturers start with 5-20% aloe gel, add preservatives, and call this product “100% stabilized Aloe.” Then they use the 100% stabilized Aloe gel to make their drinks and topical products. The label will bear the company name and state that it contains 100% stabilized Aloe gel. This leads the consumer to believe that this product contains 100% Aloe. It is important therefore to understand that 100% stabilized Aloe, in this case, does not equate to its Acemannan content. When manufacturers refer to their aloe product as stabilized, they mean that enough preservatives have been added to control microbial growth. However, this does not mean that any of the natural components, especially Acemannan, in Aloe have been stabilized and are present in the products.
This is cogently demonstrated in a recent study in part supported by the International AloeScience Council (IASC). Thirty-two products representing most of the world’s suppliers of aloe demonstrated a lack of consistency in Acemannan content among aloe products. The amount and molecular weight of the Acemannan component was determined by two separate methods, and samples demonstrated a wide range in quantity and mass. Molecular weight of Acemannan in the 32 samples varied from o to 133 KDa. The samples were compared to Acemannan Immunostimulant, an injectable product, made from the solublepolymannan. The only consistent finding in this study was the lack of consistency among the various “certified”products. Studies with known amounts of Acemannan produce consistent and reproducible results. Only products with sufficient Acemannan can deliver the desired health benefits. For Acemannan to be effective, both its size and amount must be controlled. In a truly stabilized aloe product, the amount and size of Acemannan must be known and maintained for the intended use. 11 Improper manufacturing processes used by many aloe product manufacturer scan produce Aloe products with little or no Acemannan. (Reference: Turner CE, Williamson DA, StroudPA, Tally DJ Evaluation and comparison of commercially available Aloe Vera L.products using size exclusion chromatography with refractive index andMulti-angle laser light scattering detection. International Immunopharmacology. 2004;4(14) 1727-1737.)
Currently, most manufacturers do not assay for Acemannan content in their final products. Only when the Aloe industry begins to routinely use validated assays to ensure the Acemannan content and therefore the efficacy of the commercial aloe product will consumers consistently experience the astonishing health benefits attributed to fresh Aloe. Aloe’s active ingredient, Acemannan, is partially and sometimes fully removed by manufacturers during the processing phase. Many of the preservatives added toAloe products for bacterial control are toxic to skin fibroblasts, thus outweighing the benefits (Turner CE, Williamson DA, Stroud PA, Talley DJ,Evaluation and comparison of commercially available Aloe vera L. products using size exclusion chromatography with refractive index and multi-angle laser light scattering detection.) (International Immunopharmacology, 2004;4(14):1727-1737 McAnalley BH. Process for preparation of aloe products, produced thereby and compositions thereof: Patent; 1988.) and preventing the consumer from receiving the potential benefits of Acemannan. Currently, stabilized Aloe products are defined as products that contain enough preservatives to control microbial growth. Instead, a stabilized aloe product should maintain the right amount and size of Acemannan during the product’s shelf life.