Learn about the Aloe Vera Plant & Juice.

Aloe Vera, an herb, has been used by mankind for over 4,500 years. Often referred to as the “medicine plant,” Aloe Vera is truly a natural pharmacy because of its wide range of therapeutic properties.
 
There are over 200 varieties of aloe that are in the lily family of botanicals. Aloe Barbadensis Miller is the species that is most commonly grown commercially and known as Aloe Vera. Vera being Latin for “true” or the species of aloe that has all the beneficial medicinal properties.”
 
Having originated in the cradle of civilization, Africa, inhabitants would take the Aloe plant with them as they moved to other parts of the world until finally being brought to North America by the Spanish Conquistadors.
 
It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that Aloe Vera began to be grown commercially in the U.S., primarily in South Texas. In a relatively short period of time, Aloe Vera has become the number one herb of preference for both external and internal uses. It seems to be a paradox that at a time of so many breakthroughs in science and medicine more and more people are seeking natural alternatives for many of their health problems.
 
Today, as we look for more natural methods of treatments, researchers are beginning to verify that the ancients were justified in their use of Aloe Vera. They have shown that the polysaccharides, glycoproteins, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and other active ingredients that are present in aloe vera, do in fact have therapeutic properties.
 
It is encouraging to know that there is a natural plant product (Aloe Vera) available that is regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. A product that has been consumed by millions of people around the world and has stood the test of time. Indeed, time has shown that AloeVera is truly one of nature’s miracles.

Learn how to grow your own Aloe Vera plant.Click the above image to learn how to grow your own aloe vera plants!
 
What are the active ingredients in Aloe Vera Juice?
Aloe Vera Leaf Juice is approximately 98.5% naturally occurring water and 1.5% solids.  The solids are what give Aloe Vera Juice its therapeutic properties.  Over 200 constituents have been identified within Aloe Vera Juice.
 

Sugars
Monosaccharides: Glucose and Fructose. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate.
Polysaccharides: Glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. The most prominent polysaccharide is Acemannan

Amino Acids
Essential: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, and Tryptophan.
Non-Essential: Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine, Glutamine, and Aspartic Acid.

Vitamins
A, C, E, B12, Folic Acid, and Choline.

Minerals
Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Selenium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc.

Enzymes
Aliiase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Amylase, Bradykinase, Carboxypeptidase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, and Peroxidase.

Fatty Acids
Cholesterol, Campesterol, Beta-Sisosterol and Lupeol.

Hormones
Auxins and Gibberellins.

Others
Salicyclic Acid, Lignins, and Saponins

Anthraquinones
Anthraquinones are a group of compounds located within the rind of the Aloe Vera plant that have laxative properties.  Since 1971, these compounds have been removed to less than 1 part per million.

Different stages of aloe vera juice processingLeft to Right: material from grinding an entire aloe vera leaf, colorized solution containing anthraquinones, and decolorized aloe vera juice as a finished product.


 
Recommended Literature on Aloe Vera

The Conductor-Orchestra Concept of Aloe Vera
by Robert H Davis, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor and Research Consultant, Professor Emeritus of Physiology, Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine

THE MODEL FOR ALOE VERA
The modem symphony orchestra combines instruments from strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion to form an ensemble capable of beautiful musical expressions. Each of these musical arrangements uniquely blends the sound of various instruments into one given tone. As an orchestra tunes up, each instrument creates its own distinctive musical notes. Out of this chaos comes the miracle of Mozart and the wonder of Beethoven.

One key element of the orchestra is the conductor. An outstanding conductor develops an orchestra by combining many aspects of musical training. His role is to understand the potential contribution of each instrument and provide the leadership needed to create a synergy of sounds. Although his position is important, the talented orchestra players are the essential elements that must work together to produce the magic of a musical symphony.

HOW ALOE VERA MIMICS THE ORCHESTRA
"The Conductor-Orchestra Concept" was developed to better define the relationships that exist among over 200 biologically active compounds within Aloe Vera (Figure 1). One of these molecules, a polysaccharide, acts as the conductor that leads a symphony composed of these 200+ biologically active compounds. The polysaccharide molecule consists of mannose molecules joined by beta 1-4 linkages to form a chain. As the conductor, the polysaccharide modulates the biological activity between surrounding orchestra molecules to work synergistically. This conductor-orchestra relationship creates an infinite array of biological activities. The protein at one end of the polysaccharide helps direct the mannose phosphate at the other end into the insulin-like growth factor receptor. As part of the fibroblast, it produces collagen and proteoglycans to improve wound healing3. The Aloe Vera molecule can also stimulate macrophages to produce a variety of important biologically active substances. And it can recognize the receptors on other cell surfaces as well as recognize the individual players within the orchestra3. In addition, the biological compounds indirectly help the conductor produce the biological response occurring at the cell receptor. Altogether, the Aloe Vera molecule leads an orchestra of compounds working to produce a symphony of therapeutic effects. To suggest that the conductor - the polysaccharide - works alone in this complex array of activity is presumptive. Although there's knowledge to gain from the isolation of biological compounds and activities, it seems unwise to search for a "magic bullet".

Aloe Vera as a conductor
Figure 1 Aloe Vera molecule conducts a symphony of five active compounds.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF WATER IN THE ALOE VERA RELATIONSHIP
The important question remains unanswered - how does the polysaccharide (the conductor) communicate and relate to the 200 biologically active compounds in the orchestra? Aloe is 99.5% water and 0.5% solids. The water is removed by lyophilization but must be added again to recover the biological activities of Aloe Vera. Water, although a rather commonplace compound, is necessary for the activity of life.

Figure 2 Mannose-6-Phosphate of Aloe Vera activates the insulin-like growth factor II/Manose-6-Phosphate Receptor.
Figure 2 Mannose-6-Phosphate of Aloe Vera activates the insulin-like growth factor II/Manose-6-Phosphate Receptor.

Water is not just a solvent for organic molecules such as polysaccharides, but it plays a major role in the relationship between the polysaccharide and the 200 active compounds in Aloe. The interaction between the conductor and the orchestra arises from water's polarity. The water molecules in Aloe Vera have large oxygen atoms that draw electrons from two hydrogen atoms, giving water a positive and negative charge at either end of the molecule. This polarity enables water to dissolve active agents and to mold complex molecules'. The orchestra molecules as well as the conductor polysaccharide possess both polar and non-polar parts. The polar parts react well with water whereas the non-polar or hydrophobic parts avoid water. The polarity of water molecules aligns their negative ends with the positive ends of other molecules. A chain of these polarized water molecules act to connect the conductor polysaccharide with the orchestra molecules in Aloe Vera. This allows the conductor to communicate with the 200 orchestra compounds such as amino acids, vitamins and sterols. Information is given to the conductor in a similar way to influence the polysaccharides control over the orchestra.

STANDARDIZATION: THE ALOE VERA UNIT
The conductor-orchestra theory has been adopted by key Aloe Vera suppliers and new manufacturing standards arc being developed around this theory. A standardized "unit" of Aloe Vera should be established by the industry that samples a predetermined amount of product for testing. This Aloe unit can then be tested and delivers a measurable biological-chemical response. Other approaches to determine the activity of Aloe Vera, such as selectively testing only one, single component of this complex molecule, is unwarranted and unscientific based on our current knowledge. Clearly, a "magic bullet" approach is not valid. Science has proven that Aloe Vera, in its natural composition, keeps the body in a healthy physiological state. This does not mean that the study and fractionation of Aloe Vera is unimportant. Individual active components such as the polysaccharide may prove very exciting for specific applications. However, the study of Aloe Vera and its complete compliment of components are necessary to fully understand the potential of Aloe Vera.

THE YIN YANG THEORY AND ALOE
The Yin Yang theory is used in eastern culture to indicate the active and passive principles that bring balance to the universe. These two forces interact to bring all things into existence'. In a similar manner, Aloe Vera moderates the balance of its own biological systems. Aloe Vera has an inhibitory system that blocks pain and inflammation as well as a stimulatory system that improves growth and wound healing". Also, independent laboratory testing of Aloe Vera fractions has shown their activity to include modulation of antibodies and cellular immunity. One example of the normalizing influence of Aloe Vera is its inhibition of the auto- immune condition demonstrated in adjuvant arthritis. Overall, the beneficial effects of Aloe Vera often result because two components act in such a way (Yin Yang) to normalize the balance of activity.

A RECEPTOR FOR ALOE VERA
It has been well established that the Insulin-like Growth Factor TI (IGF-II) and mannose-6-phosphate (M-6-P) bind to the same receptor on the fibroblast (Figure 2). These two ligands bind at separate binding sites within the TGF-II/M-6-P receptor. However, the exact effect of these ligands binding to their individual binding sites is still unclear'. One possible theory is that the binding of either ligand is capable of activating fibroblast proliferation. This would indicate that free M-6-P is a growth substance capable of yielding the same response as IGF-II'. In Aloe, M-6-P is located at the end of the polysaccharide chain that fits into the receptor. This may be important in understanding how Aloe heals wounds and inhibits inflammation. It has been demonstrated that M-6-P improves wound healing in a straight line, dose-response fashion when compared with controls. For example, Glucose- 6-phosphate, when used as a control, does not activate the receptor' in the fibroblast. The binding site for this glucose is at the other end of the polysaccharide chain of Aloe and is probably a weak to moderate covalent bond. Lack of response by this control indicates that M-6-P is specific to the receptor. This may be important in understanding how Aloe heals wounds and inhibits inflammation. The receptor dynamics arc part of the overall Aloe Vera conductor-orchestra theory. One exciting characteristic of this theory is that the conductor-orchestra unit has little or no toxicity at very high gm/kg doses. Most of us working with Aloe Vera have recorded no toxicity. In fact, we feel that Aloe Vera can modulate, reduce and may even eliminate toxicity of other biological agents.

MECHANISM OF ACTION OF ALOE VERA: WOUND HEALING
The concept that the Aloe Vera molecule synergizes with plant growth factors to repair and produce growth, broadly portrays the activity of Aloe Vera (Figure 3). Three characteristics of growth factor activity in Aloe are:

- inhibition of pain and inflammation
- stimulation of fibroblasts to functionally produce collagen and proteoglycans
- increased wound tensile strength

Figure 3 Mechanism of action of Aloe Vera.
Figure 3 Mechanism of action of Aloe Vera.
 
The mechanism of Aloe's inhibition of pain and inflammation will be detailed in the next section; first we most understand how Aloe Vera enhances wound healing.

During the healing process, Aloe Vera's stimulation of the fibroblast produces and adds new collagen to tissue. However, we should note that macrophages can also secrete substances that can similarly stimulate fibroblasts. Whether the effect is direct (from Aloe) or indirect (from microphages), new collagen forms between the margins of wounds when Aloe is present. These collagen bonds are responsible for increased tensile strength. Therefore, if the tensile strength increases, it is assumed the collagen production is increased by Aloe. This is a different approach than the Danhof response of Aloe based on the uptake of tritiated thymidine, which only represents an increase in fibroblast number. Whereas, we are demonstrating a functional increase in collagen and proteoglycans through wound tensile-strength.

When skin is injured, fibroblasts migrate into the wound area to proliferate and produce collagen as well as proteoglycans. Proteoglycans form the ground substance in which collagen fibers embed. This represents a remodeling of connective tissue. Cells in the wound area communicate with each other by growth factors. Growth factors in Aloe are attracted to the wound area and bind to the fibroblast IGF receptor to produce collagen and proteoglycans which increase the tensile strength (Figure 4).

Connective tissue is mainly composed of collagen, which makes up one third of our body protein. Also, connective tissue contains large complex chains of modified sugars that form the framework for collagen. These modified sugars hold water and give connective tissue flexibility and resistance. In wound healing, collagen and proteoglycans repair and remodel this connective tissue. To produce collagen for repair, glucose from the diet is stimulated by Aloe Vera and forms glucosamine within the fibroblast. Then, in the presence of zinc and vitamin C, glucosamine forms procollagen'2. In addition, procollagen can be formed directly from external amino acids. Next, Aloe pushes the fibroblast to convert the secreted procollagen to collagen. The glucosamine and procollagen form the "core protein" as a frame for connective tissue. Also, they form hyaluronic acid as a frame for "link protein" and the proteoglycans. These "core" and "link" proteins are essential components for connective tissue. In addition, this connective tissue can double and triple if the necessary sugars and amino acids are stimulated by Aloe Vera in the fibroblast.

This activity demonstrates how wound healing is enhanced when connective tissue, subjected to mechanical forces and damages, repair themselves by the Aloe-fibroblast stimulating influence to make collagen and proteoglycans. Aloe Vera acts as a mechanism to promote the active biological agents that heal damaged tissue.

ALOE VERA AND INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is the response of living tissue to a damaging stimulus. It is a defense mechanism against a traumatic insult. On a molecular basis, the inflammatory process involves complex regulators, potentiators and mediators. A uniform response occurs regardless of the nature of the irritant event, though the inflammatory process may act as a double edge sword by also creating a threat to an organism. Inflammation may be acute or chronic. The acute inflammation response to a tissue insult involves the release of vasoactive substances. This increases the permeability of capillaries so that fluid goes into interstitial tissue and produces edema. Then, polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN's) move out of the capillaries and are attracted to the injury site by a mediator called leukotrienes"'4. The PMN's increase their metabolism and oxygen consumption as they phagocytize the trauma debris. However, the products resulting from this increased metabolism contain oxygen radicals that attack the membrane lipids and produce further inflammation". If the irritant remains under the skin, chronic inflammatory response occurs. Connective tissue forms around the irritant and, over a long period of time, attempts to push the trauma outside the body. Lysozymes, products of these inflammatory cells, function in a manner to modulate neutrophil (PMN) activity.
 
Aloe Vera wound healing process
Figure 4 Aloe Vera Wound Healing Process.
 
Topical steroids are usually applied to block acute and chronic inflammation hut their properties also retard wound healing". They decrease edema by reducing capillary permeability, vasodilation and stabilizing lysosomal membranes. Steroids can actually increase the spread of infection by inhibiting connective tissue formation.

Aloe Vera is also used to inhibit acute inflammation. But, unlike steroids, it stimulates fibroblast growth to improve wound healing and block the spread of infection. This is the miracle of Aloe.

Studies have shown that since only about 1% of steroids can penetrate the stratum corneum of the skin, 99% is unavailable and wasted. Our data has shown that Aloe Vera can act as a vehicle for steroids - to improve absorption and act as an efficient carrier. This is a significant economic consideration for Aloe vera11,16.

The complexity of Aloe Vera's components makes the study of its anti-inflammatory activity a difficult task. Aloe Vera does not have a single mechanism of action. Aloe Vera contains amino acids such as phenylalanine and tryptophane that have anti- inflammatory activity17-19. The salicylic acid in Aloe prevents the biosynthesis of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid. This explains, in part, how Aloe reduces vasodilation and decreases the vascular effects of histamine, serotonin and other mediators of inflammation". Since prostaglandins play an integral role in regulating both inflammation and immune reactions, Aloe Vera can affect both of these systems by blocking prostaglandin synthesis. The analgesic effect of Aloe Vera is synergistic with aspirin. Since Aloe Vera has both stimulatory and inhibitory components, Aloe can modulate both immune and inflammatory reactions. It can act as a stimulator of wound healing and antibody production. Aloe can block prostaglandin and modulate the production of lymphocytes and macrophage derived mediators (lymphokinins) including interleukins and interferons20-22.

Besides Aloe's effects on inflammatory and immune reactions, it also acts as a scavenger of free oxygen radicals produced by PMN's. The vitamin C in Aloe that inhibits inflammation picks up oxygen radicals to block the inflammatory process. Vitamin E, a known antioxidant, is also a component of Aloe Vera. These biological effects of the orchestra work in collaboration with the conductor (polysaccharide) to produce these valuable therapeutic effects.

ALOE VERA IS A BIOLOGICAL VEHICLE
Compounds that are poorly absorbed through the stratum corneum of the skin need a vehicle to aid them in penetration. Glucocorticoids and vitamin C are not absorbed well and, as a result, most of the material is wasted when applied topically. A vehicle must be found that solubilizes steroids and Vitamin C while at the same time hydrates the stratum corneum. As previously mentioned, Aloe Vera's anti-inflammatory, wound healing and analgesic properties make Aloe a "biological vehicle" that helps to nullify the detrimental activity of glucocorticoids hut at the same time aids the penetration". Similarly, vitamin C is not readily absorbed by the tissue. However, vitamin C has been shown to help in the synthesis of collagen, since it may counterbalance the collagen breakdown to reduce the development of autoantibodies. In certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the levels of vitamin C are low. Our data, thus far, suggests that Aloe Vera aids in the absorption of vitamin C and adds to its biological activity. Although all the factors that control the absorption of vitamin C are not known, previous studies show esterifying ascorbic acid increases the availability to tissues so that the therapeutic dose can be reduced26. In a similar manner, Aloe Vera's activity as a biological vehicle to increase the absorption of vitamin C may be just as possible.

Aloe Vera can solubilize water soluble compounds as well as lipid soluble substances. Also, it can hydrate the stratum corneum cell membranes to aid a range of materials in penetrating the skin. The biological activity of Aloe can add and even synergize with many agents in producing therapeutic effects so that we call Aloe Vera a "biological vehicle".

SUMMARY
Aloe Vera contains polysaccharides that act as a conductor to direct biological activities among an orchestra of various molecules. Many agents within Aloe have been isolated, identified and demonstrated to synergize with one another over a large biological spectrum. A standard preparation of Aloe Vera with a well-defined unit for each biological activity is necessary for future research. The conductor-orchestra theory opposes the idea that suggests that one molecule in Aloe (a polysaccharide) is responsible for the beneficial effects and that the standardization should be based on that polysaccharide. A greater understanding between the conductor and orchestra is needed to better define how Aloe Vera synergizes its many activities. This understanding will change many pharmacologic concepts in the future. The conductor-orchestra concept will be practiced as the central format by which the Aloe industry will operate.

REFERENCES

1. Tizard I.R., Carpenter R.H., MeAnalley B.H. and Kemp M.C. 1989. The biological activities of mannans and related complex carbohydrates. Mol. Biother. 1: 290-294.

2. Davis R.H. DiDonato J.J., Hartman G.M and Haas R.C. 1994. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of a growth substances in Aloe Vera. JAPMA 84: 77-81.

3. Zhongmin M., Grubb J.H. and Sly W.S. 1991. Cloning, sequencing and functional characterization of the murine 46- k Da Mannose-6-phosphate receptor. J.Beol.Chem. 266: 10589- 11)59 1.

4. Coats B.C. 1979. The silent healer, a modem study of Aloe Vera. Garland, Texas.

5. Pennesi E. 1993. Water, water everywhere. Science news. 143: 121-126.

6. Watson R.R. 1994. Nutrition and AIDS. CRC Press, London. 238-239.

7. Davis R.H., Parker W.L., Samson R.T. and Murdock D.P. 1991. The isolation of an active inhibitory system from an extract of Aloe Vera JAPMA. 81: 258-261.

8. Davis R.H., Parker W.L., Samson R.T. and Murdock D.P. 1991. Isolation of a stimulatory system in Aloe extract. JAPMA 81: 473-475.

9. Westlund B., Dahms N.N. and Kornfield S. 1991. The bovine mannose-6-phosphate/lnsulin-Iike Growth Factor II receptor. J. Beol, Chem. 266: 23233-23229.

10. Nolan C.M., Kyle J.W., Watanabe H. and Sly W.S. 1990. Binding of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF II) by human cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor/IGF II receptor expressed in receptor deficient mouse L cells. Cell Regulation. 1: 197-213.

11. Davis R.H., DiDonato J.J., Johnson R.W.S. and Stewart C.B. 1994 Aloe Vera, hydrocortisone and sterol influence on wound tensile strength. JAPMA (In press).

12. Bucci L.R. 1992. Glucosamine - a new portent nutraceutical for connective tissue. Podiatric Products. 9: 56-57.

13. Davis R.H., Kabbani J. and Maro N.P. 1986. Aloe Vera and inflammation. Pa. Acad. Sci. 60: 67-70.

14. Davis R.H., Kabbani J. and Maro N.P. 1987. Aloe Vera and wound healing. JAPMA. 77: 165-169.

15. Fridovich I. 1978. The biology of oxygen radicals. Science. 201: 875-880.

16. Davis R.H., Parker W.L. and Murdoch D.P. 1991. Aloe Vera as a biological active vehicle for hydrocortisone acetate. JAPMA 81: 1-9.

17. Forst MB. and Davis R.H. 1979. Effects of tryptophane, anthranilic acid and ribonucleic acid on adjuvant arthritis. JAPA 69: 643-656.

18. Davis R.H. 1972. Antiphlogistic activity of L-phenylalanine and L-tryptophane within the mouse peritoneal cavity. Experientia 28: 1230-1231.

19. Davis R.H., Pitkow H.S. and Shovlin K.A. 1981. Anti-inflammatory effect of tryptophane in a Selye pouch. JAPA 71: 690-691.

20. Hart L.A., Van Enckevort PH., Van Dijk H., Zaat R., De Silva KTD and Labadie R.P. 1988. Two functionally and chemically distinct immuno-modulatory compounds in the gel of Aloe Vera. J. Ethnopharmacol. 23: 61-71.

21. Loddeke L. 1992. Aloe Vera to be tried as AIDS treatment The Houston Post, October 4: 1.

22. Womble D.O. and Helderman J.H. 1988. Enhancement of Allo-responsiveness of human lymphocytes by acemannan. J. Immunopharmacol. 10: 967-979.

23. Davis R.H., Rosenthal K.Y., Cesario L.R. and Rouw G.R. 1990. Vitamin C influence on localized adjuvant arthritis. JAPMA 8O: 14-18.
 

 
Polysaccharide - The Magic Bullet
by Robert H Davis, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor and Research Consultant, Professor Emeritus of Physiology, Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine

The Aloe leaf has polysaccharide in the parenchymal cells which is used by the plant for energy. Mucilage is a different storage form. All polysaccharides are not the same. When mucilage is placed over a wound, the wound remains moist and does not drop as does dry wounds. Epidermal and fibroblast growth factors come from the mucilage and stimulate the fibroblast directly for growth and repair. The cells as a result migrate within the wound in a proper manner to increase wound healing. The occlusive nature (cover) of mucilage increases wound healing from a mechanical and endocrine viewpoint. Mucilage is also a good anti-inflammatory agent. Some polysaccharides are immune stimulatory and this immune property improves wound healing probably through the macrophage. The big polysaccharides appear to be immune stimulatory whereas the smaller ones have anti-inflammatory activity. When an animal bites into the Aloe leaf, a hole is made in the leaf so that there is opportunity for the gel fillet to leak to the outside. However, this does not occur. The mucilage in combination with the Aloe gel hardens which seals the hole. Mucilage always hardens and acts as a container for the inner gel fillet. The transformation which occurs here is a sol-gel transformation of mucilage. Aloe Vera tends to improve the penetration of water whereas mucilage tends to block the escape of water from a wound. We have been able to transfer the sol-gel transformation of mucilage and Aloe to an animal wound in which it improves an incisional wound some 130%. If Aloe and mucilage are placed between two sticks, it takes some 1,200 gms of force to pull the sticks apart. Wound healing does not just require immune stimulation by polysaccharides, but Aloe's healing comes from growth factors, amino acids, glycoproteins, gibberellins, auxins and minerals such as zinc as well as polysaccharides. These biologically active agents synergize to give us the miracle of Aloe Vera.

Polysaccharide is not a magic bullet in that these other biological agents make major contributions to the biological activity of Aloe Vera. In the making of Aloe Vera, two major processing procedures are used by the Aloe industry to give us Aloe Vera. The fillet method removes the rind by a mechanical means and the fillet is washed. The Whole Leaf method grinds up the whole leaf and removes the rind by filters. The anthraquinones are removed by charcoal. The amount of aloin left is less than 5 parts per million. This amount is not detectable by the defication reflex. When the Aloe Vera is freeze dried for both the fillet and whole leaf methods and the powders are stored on the shelf for eight years, no difference was recorded in biological activity. Both methods yield the expected activity that was recorded in the beginning. Processing of Aloe Vera is supposed to break down the Polysaccharide polymer (depolymerase enzyme) into fragments that have little or no activity. This may or may not be true as we have not seen the evidence. However, if it is true in Aloe Vera, to assume that the smaller polymers resulting from the enzyme breakdown of the polysaccharide do not have biological activity is a presumption. In fact, there are a number of small polymers that have great biological activity and are immune stimulators which are being sold successfully on the open market. The breakdown of the Polysaccharide in Aloe by enzymes must be presented and the resulting polymers must be evaluated across the board for biological activities using the original Aloe Vera as the controlled test substance. In all the work that has been done with the Polysaccharide, we have never seen Aloe Vera as the test control to which the polysaccharide is compared. These things must be done before we claim that the various Polysaccharides are the magic bullets. Are they much more potent than the mother Aloe Vera from which they were extracted? This must be shown by peer review.

Aloe Vera contains a large polysaccharide molecule which we have called the conductor. This molecule leads the many biologically active substances into a symphony of biological events to heal wounds, reduce inflammation and eliminate pain. The conductor molecule fits into the fibroblast, similar to a lock and a key mechanism so as to set up a cascade of important biological events, supported by Aloe substances which are part of the orchestra. The polarity of water is needed for the polysaccharide to communicate with the active substances to synergistically achieve the maximum desired benefits. We oppose the theory that there is only one active molecule (a polysaccharide) responsible for all of its beneficial effects. We are convinced that all the biologically active substances in Aloe are necessary to achieve the maximum-end-benefit. Only Aloe can attack the entire spectrum of human conditions because specific synergisms are brought into sharper focus. We have observed that if the polysaccharide from Aloe is washed extremely well-that is to remove all agents from it; the polysaccharide has very little biological activity. In fact, what is called polysaccharide is a polysaccharide with active orchestra members attached to it giving it biological activity along the lines we have discussed. If the polysaccharide is prepared in different ways, some activities may be lost and others remain. The "magic bullet" apparently requires a communication with orchestra agents to have its best influence.

Aloe Vera is a biological vehicle in that it acts as a physical or physiological carrier for active biological agents but, also as biological activity to the test agent no matter what the pharmacological agent under consideration is. In effect, it is a physical carriage plus added Aloe Vera activity. This is the orchestra of active substances surrounding the polysaccharide conductor. Thus, the Aloe Vera can add to the biological activity of most test substances. Substances can be synergized and put into Aloe for a biological vehicle effect. Can the conductor (the polysaccharide) do this most important biological vehicle effect by itself without the surrounding orchestra agents? I think not. It needs the rest of the team. If it can, it needs to be published as data under peer review and not just a "commercial blurb" put out to stir up controversy. Aloe Vera contains water soluble compounds such as amino acids, enzymes and carbohydrates as well as oil soluble compounds such as vitamins, sterols and anthraquinones. Possibly, pharmacologic agents of both solubility's can be placed in Aloe and carried through the skin to blood vessels. In an indirect way, the biological agents in Aloe can help the conductor (the polysaccharide) produce the biological response at the cell receptor. To suggest that the polysaccharide works alone is presumptive and it is unwise to call it the magic bullet. The polysaccharide has biological activity but not of the order obtained by synergizing with the surrounding biological compounds.

Aloe Vera has been called a modulator in that it brings biological systems into balance. Using the Gowda 50% ethanol extraction procedure on Aloe Vera, we found that 78% of the anti-inflammatory activity was present in the supernatant. The wound healing activity was present in the precipitate with the polysaccharide and other precipitated agents. Never the less, in the supernatant most of the anti-inflammatory activity was present in the supernatant without the presence of the polysaccharide. Some of the wound healing orchestra compounds were precipitated with the polysaccharide to help with the wound healing activity. The carrageenan-inflamed synovial pouch response to Aloe Vera confirms our biological results based on the Gowda experiment. The fibroblast stimulation activity of Aloe Vera recorded in wound healing was clearly observed. The fibroblast response in the air pouch was not a chronic inflammation but rather a growth-repair response. Aloe stimulates the fibroblast directly to increase wound tensile strength. It stimulates glucosamine to form collagen and proteoglycan but zinc and vitamin C must be present. Mast cells of animals treated with carrageenan were found in connective tissue and pouch fluid. They were particularly increased in the inner being of the air pouch as a result of inflammation. Aloe Vera reduced the inflammation and the pouch wall vascularity but at the same time Aloe Vera increased the pouch wall weight. This increase in air pouch punch biopsy weight by Aloe represents a healing and repair response. Aloe stimulates growth and repair by directly stimulating fibroblasts. Aloe Vera has no anti-fibrosis effect but stimulates the fibroblasts for growth and repair as seen in wound healing. Both of these studies clearly demonstrate that Aloe Vera inhibits inflammation and stimulates wound healing at the same time which is the miracle of Aloe. We have not seen data that the magic bullet (the polysaccharide) can do this. In fact, this wonderful dual biological characteristic appears to be exclusive for Aloe Vera. The polysaccharide is an immune stimulator which increases the immune response to an antigen. LaBadie has shown that Aloe Vera can act as an adjuvant to enhance the immune response to an antigen He found that there are two functionally and chemically distinct immunomodulatory compounds in the gel of Aloe Vera. One fraction could enhance antibody formation and another could inhibit antibody formation such that LaBadie called Aloe Vera an immune modulator. Davis and LaBadie showed that the Aloe Vera can inhibit and stimulate phagocytosis as well as "mop up" oxygen radicals. Aloe Vera acts as an immune stimulator on wound healing and an immune inhibitor on inflammation. Aloe Vera can prevent and regress the autoimmune condition of adjuvant induced arthritis. This condition involves both antibody and cellular immunity. Aloe Vera can inhibit the infiltration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes into a site of irritation. This represents a block on leukotrienes. Undernourished individuals have impaired immune responses which may be cofactors in the immunodeficient virus infection. This makes people more susceptible to viral infection. The many nutritional components in Aloe Vera may help the infected individual fight off a disease as a co-factor as well as play a role in regulating the immune system (cell mediated immunity). No single component such as the polysaccharide can do the complete job. A treatment of many compounds as seen in Aloe Vera would seem to be more beneficial for multi-factorial syndrome. The global AIDS problem may be out of control because there is no treatment. If the polysaccharide can contribute in this area, possibly, Aloe Vera can even make a better contribution because it is multifaceted. Aloe Vera has 200 biologically active agents as well as polysaccharide to act as a biological vehicle and a treatment possibility.

Yagi presented data on the isolation of a glycoprotein (Aloe glycoprotein) which has bradykinin-degrading activity and a proteolytic activity against bradykinin. The Aloe glycoprotein has hemagglutinating and cytoagglutinating activity. It has mitogenic activity for lymphocytes. This glycoprotein is called Aloctin A. This glycoprotein has strong anti-tumor activity whose activity varies with the dose at microgram amounts. Aloctin A is non toxic and at very small doses causes complete regression of tumors. Like the polysaccharide, the glycoprotein appears to have an anti-tumor effect based on cell division and immune system response. Thus, the polysaccharide is not the only magic bullet, glycoprotein is another one. In fact, Aloe Vera has many magic bullets such as gibberellins, auxins, sterols and chromones to mention a few. All of these compounds are found around the polysaccharide in the orchestra.

The penetration of topical agents through the skin may be influenced by the drug, the vehicle and the skin. Little attention has been given to the influence of Aloe Vera and mucilage on the penetration through the skin. The stratum corneum acts as a barrier to drug penetration through the skin but also acts as a reservoir for molecules when a drug is applied on the skin. When hydrocortisone is applied to the skin, 99% fails to penetrate the skin stratum corneum and is wasted. Placing hydrocortisone in Aloe Vera enhances the penetration and adds to the biological activity of hydrocortisone. Aloe Vera increases the penetration of skin by water hydration, occlusiveness and by increasing compound solubility. Aloe Vera increases the penetration through the skin whereas the polysaccharide mucilage acts as an occlusive seal forming a firm cover to keep moisture in the skin. Aloe can aid water soluble and insoluble compounds as a biological carrier so that it can be a good carrier for all kinds of drugs as well as contributing Aloe activity to the drug it carries. Can Aloe polysaccharides alone aid in skin penetration and add its biological activity to an agent it carries? We think it cannot by itself. It needs the orchestra environment of biologically active compounds to complete the task. The properties of a large polysaccharide are completely different from those of a small polysaccharide. What is said of the smaller one cannot be attributed to the larger one. In any event, we need to see the data to prove that the magic bullet (the polysaccharide) can act in a fashion similar to Aloe Vera. The FDA must see the data recorded in "commercial blurbs" backing up all the claims made by people who say "If you don't have our polysaccharide, you don't have the active Aloe Vera." This is not true based on scientific evidence. These claims are false and are made by people motivated by money and not be evidence.

Gibberellin is a growth factor found in Aloe plants that has anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity in laboratory animals. It does this in normal and diabetic animals. Gibberellins' wound healing activity is related to its ability to stimulate protein synthesis as well as RNA-DNA cellular systems. It stimulates wound healing (open and incisional wounds) in a dose-response manner. Aloe Vera and Gibberellin can stimulate fibroblasts directly to form collagen and proteoglycans for wound healing. We also feel that Aloe Vera (or Gibberellin) can stimulate or modulate the macrophage to produce the traditional growth factors which stimulate fibroblasts. It appears that Aloe Vera or Gibberellin can do the same thing as proposed by the polysaccharide. Because of the contributions of other agents, they probably do a better job on open and incisional wounds. However, studies need to be designed to show this. Aloe Vera and Gibberellin are anti-inflammatory even in the diabetic. They improve wound healing, reduce edema and pain. Aloe Vera has an additive "vehicle effect" with gibberellins on wound tensile strength. Gibberellin blocks hydrocortisone's inhibition on would healing similar to Aloe Vera.

Hydrocortisone inhibits wound healing by blocking the formation of connective tissue. This increases the spread of infection. Aloe Vera and gibberellins counteracts these detrimental effects of steroids. Gibberellins and Aloe Vera block the steroid inhibition on wound tensile strength. Aloe Vera contains three sterols that have good anti-inflammatory activity. They exhibit anti-inflammation in a dose-response fashion and may be a major contributor to the anti-inflammation in Aloe. Aloe Vera blocks a wide variety of irritants that act by different biochemical pathways. However, it has no chronic anti-inflammatory activity because it stimulates the fibroblast for wound healing. However, we wonder if it aids the hydrocortisone's chronic anti-inflammatory activity since Aloe Vera prevents and regresses adjuvant induced arthritis. Aloe Vera acts as biological vehicle for aspirin and it synergizes with its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity.

Summarizing the main events of Aloe Vera, we must conclude that gibberellins, sterols, chromones, aspirin like compounds and auxins are magic bullets in Aloe Vera. Mucilage improves wound healing; glycoprotein is anabolic and produces both anti-cancer effects and immune system responses that are anti-tumor. Both of these must be considered magic bullets as well as the polysaccharide found in the parenchyma cells of the Aloe leaf. Is it wise to precipitate the polysaccharide with alcohol and throw out all these wonderful biological agents? Is it wise to say that only the polysaccharide is worthwhile when you are aware of this data? I think not. It is acceptable to isolate the various compounds and evaluate them by themselves. However, do not run down Aloe Vera from which they came the data presented here refutes the concept that "If Aloe Vera doesn't have a certain polysaccharide, it's not Aloe Vera." It rejects the concept that only the polysaccharide is active and important in Aloe Vera.
 
 

 
Aloe Vera - The Miraculous Healer
by Lee Cowden, M.D.

The beneficial healing effects of Aloe Vera have been documented in an- dent literature for thousands of years including the Old Testament of the Bible. I learned of the healing effects of Aloe Vera from my grandmother long before I became a board certified internist and cardiologist. My grandmother kept an Aloe Vera plant in her house year round, and when anyone would get a burn or other skin injury, she would cut off an Aloe Vera leaf and open it up and lay it on the injured area of the skin, which prompted rapid healing. In medical practice, I have used Aloe Vera preparations topically to rapidly increase the healing of burns, lacerations, surgical wounds, and various skin lesions, including psoriasis, pre-cancerous skin lesions, early cancerous skin lesions, lupus erythematosis and discoid lupus, and a variety of rashes and contact dermatitis. Most infectious dermatitis, including bacterial and fungal sources appear to heal more rapidly with Aloe Vera application than with most other treatments topically available. It wasn't until about 1988 that I learned that Aloe Vera could be consumed orally and also had very impressive healing powers internally.

Before discussing the internal applications of Aloe Vera, I think that it is important to say that I have found that not all Aloe Vera products are created equally. Of the various Aloe Vera products that I have tested in clinical practice, both topically and orally, whole leaf Aloe Vera's appear to be superior to the rest, sometimes by a factor of several fold. Unlike many of the Aloe Vera products, a whole leaf cold-processed Aloe Vera product has the aloin removed from the preparations that are used internally. This type of Aloe is also stabilized for long shelf life and long effectiveness after opening. It has the highest, or one of the highest, concentrations of biologically active glycoproteins, which appear to be very important in the healing process. When inadequate amounts of aloin are removed from other Aloe products, consumption of those Aloe products orally oftentimes will result in diarrhea, but I have not found that to be a problem with cold- processed whole leaf Aloe Vera products consumed orally.

I first used the oral Aloe Vera products in 1988 for the treatment of esophagitis, gastritis and peptic ulcers. Since then I've started using whole leaf Aloe instead of the liquid or tablet antacids for treatment of those dyspepsia symptoms. I have found that patients that consume one-eighth to one-quarter cup of Aloe twice daily are usually able to reduce the length of intake of prescription medications for ulcer disease by several weeks. I have not seen any significant side effects from use of oral Aloe, and have seen many side effects from the prescription medications. Aloe is also quite good at healing lesions of the mouth including cold sores and infected gums or post-surgical gum wounds, as well as sore throats from viral or bacterial causes. When diluted to about one-third to one-half strength with distilled water, whole leaf Aloe designed for oral consumption can also be used very effectively for nasal congestion and sinus congestion when dropped in the nose with an eye dropper. This is preferable to many of the prescription and over the counter spray nasal decongestants, which in some cases have been shown to cause nasal cancer. Aloe Vera nasally has never been shown to cause any kind of cancer. In using the Aloe orally for mouth lesions and sore throats and dyspepsia, I discovered that patients who also had Irritable Bowel Syndrome had a significant reduction in their symptoms. I started using the whole leaf Aloe gel for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease with very beneficial effects. As would be expected, the Aloe Vera treatment for dyspepsia and colitis is more effective when used in conjunction with an appropriate diet for those conditions.

When using whole leaf Aloe orally for these various conditions, I also noticed that patients who had sleep disturbance demonstrated an improved quality of sleep while on the Aloe and that when the Aloe was discontinued for the other condition, that oftentimes the sleep disturbance recurred. This observation has also been made in a controlled study on alcoholic patients in Washington. Patients who use the Aloe on a regular basis also appear to have fewer episodes of viral infection and allergic symptoms from both food and inhalant allergies than they had prior to starting the Aloe products. The patients who have cutaneous manifestations of connective tissue diseases do appear to improve more rapidly if they receive both topical applications of the Aloe products as well as oral administration of the Aloe. This is true especially of lupus. It is also true of arthritis conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. I have found that oral and topical use of Aloe liniment allows a reduction in the amount of prescription medication used to control these severe forms of arthritis.

For women with recurrent or severe vaginitis, several of the Aloe products are beneficial in eradicating and controlling the vaginitis symptoms, including the Aloe gel or liquid as a douche or the Aloe jelly inserted like an over the counter vaginal cream would be inserted. In my opinion, it is preferable to use an acidophilus powder mixed into a douche and inserted into the vagina about ten to twelve hours after administration of the Aloe products, because the Aloe products do reduce the natural flora of the vagina in addition to the pathogenic organisms present.

I do not have any ownership in or receive any monies from any company that makes Aloe Vera products, but use them because of their effectiveness in patient care and because of their apparent absence of significant adverse reactions. As I have said, I do use prescription medications where indicated in conjunction with the Aloe Vera products for treatment of conditions that warrant such, but in many cases, the various conditions can be treated without using prescription medications at all if the appropriate Aloe product is used in an appropriate fashion.
 

 
Immune Enhancing Effects of Aloe Vera
by John C. Pittman M.D.

The Aloe leaf has polysaccharide in the parenchymal cells which is used by the plant for energy. Mucilage is a different storage form. All polysaccharides are not the same. When mucilage is placed over a wound, the wound remains moist and does not drop as does dry wounds. Epidermal and fibroblast growth factors come from the mucilage and stimulate the fibroblast directly for growth and repair. The cells as a result migrate within the wound in a proper manner to increase wound healing. The occlusive nature (cover) of mucilage increases wound healing from a mechanical and endocrine viewpoint. Mucilage is also a good anti-inflammatory agent. Some polysaccharides are immune stimulatory and this immune property improves wound healing probably through the macrophage. The big polysaccharides appear to be immune stimulatory whereas the smaller ones have anti-inflammatory activity. When an animal bites into the Aloe leaf, a hole is made in the leaf so that there is opportunity for the gel fillet to leak to the outside. However, this does not occur. The mucilage in combination with the Aloe gel hardens which seals the hole. Mucilage always hardens and acts as a container for the inner gel fillet. The transformation which occurs here is a sol-gel transformation of mucilage. Aloe Vera tends to improve the penetration of water whereas mucilage tends to block the escape of water from a wound. We have been able to transfer the sol-gel transformation of mucilage and Aloe to an animal wound in which it improves an incisional wound some 130%. If Aloe and mucilage are placed between two sticks, it takes some 1,200 gms of force to pull the sticks apart. Wound healing does not just require immune stimulation by polysaccharides, but Aloe's healing comes from growth factors, amino acids, glycoproteins, gibberellins, auxins and minerals such as zinc as well as polysaccharides. These biologically active agents synergize to give us the miracle of Aloe Vera.

Polysaccharide is not a magic bullet in that these other biological agents make major contributions to the biological activity of Aloe Vera. In the making of Aloe Vera, two major processing procedures are used by the Aloe industry to give us Aloe Vera. The fillet method removes the rind by a mechanical means and the fillet is washed. The Whole Leaf method grinds up the whole leaf and removes the rind by filters. The anthraquinones are removed by charcoal. The amount of aloin left is less than 5 parts per million. This amount is not detectable by the defication reflex. When the Aloe Vera is freeze dried for both the fillet and whole leaf methods and the powders are stored on the shelf for eight years, no difference was recorded in biological activity. Both methods yield the expected activity that was recorded in the beginning. Processing of Aloe Vera is supposed to break down the Polysaccharide polymer (depolymerase enzyme) into fragments that have little or no activity. This may or may not be true as we have not seen the evidence. However, if it is true in Aloe Vera, to assume that the smaller polymers resulting from the enzyme breakdown of the polysaccharide do not have biological activity is a presumption. In fact, there are a number of small polymers that have great biological activity and are immune stimulators which are being sold successfully on the open market. The breakdown of the Polysaccharide in Aloe by enzymes must be presented and the resulting polymers must be evaluated across the board for biological activities using the original Aloe Vera as the controlled test substance. In all the work that has been done with the Polysaccharide, we have never seen Aloe Vera as the test control to which the polysaccharide is compared. These things must be done before we claim that the various Polysaccharides are the magic bullets. Are they much more potent than the mother Aloe Vera from which they were extracted? This must be shown by peer review.

Aloe Vera contains a large polysaccharide molecule which we have called the conductor. This molecule leads the many biologically active substances into a symphony of biological events to heal wounds, reduce inflammation and eliminate pain. The conductor molecule fits into the fibroblast, similar to a lock and a key mechanism so as to set up a cascade of important biological events, supported by Aloe substances which are part of the orchestra. The polarity of water is needed for the polysaccharide to communicate with the active substances to synergistically achieve the maximum desired benefits. We oppose the theory that there is only one active molecule (a polysaccharide) responsible for all of its beneficial effects. We are convinced that all the biologically active substances in Aloe are necessary to achieve the maximum-end-benefit. Only Aloe can attack the entire spectrum of human conditions because specific synergisms are brought into sharper focus. We have observed that if the polysaccharide from Aloe is washed extremely well-that is to remove all agents from it; the polysaccharide has very little biological activity. In fact, what is called polysaccharide is a polysaccharide with active orchestra members attached to it giving it biological activity along the lines we have discussed. If the polysaccharide is prepared in different ways, some activities may be lost and others remain. The "magic bullet" apparently requires a communication with orchestra agents to have its best influence.

Aloe Vera is a biological vehicle in that it acts as a physical or physiological carrier for active biological agents but, also as biological activity to the test agent no matter what the pharmacological agent under consideration is. In effect, it is a physical carriage plus added Aloe Vera activity. This is the orchestra of active substances surrounding the polysaccharide conductor. Thus, the Aloe Vera can add to the biological activity of most test substances. Substances can be synergized and put into Aloe for a biological vehicle effect. Can the conductor (the polysaccharide) do this most important biological vehicle effect by itself without the surrounding orchestra agents? I think not. It needs the rest of the team. If it can, it needs to be published as data under peer review and not just a "commercial blurb" put out to stir up controversy. Aloe Vera contains water soluble compounds such as amino acids, enzymes and carbohydrates as well as oil soluble compounds such as vitamins, sterols and anthraquinones. Possibly, pharmacologic agents of both solubility's can be placed in Aloe and carried through the skin to blood vessels. In an indirect way, the biological agents in Aloe can help the conductor (the polysaccharide) produce the biological response at the cell receptor. To suggest that the polysaccharide works alone is presumptive and it is unwise to call it the magic bullet. The polysaccharide has biological activity but not of the order obtained by synergizing with the surrounding biological compounds.

Aloe Vera has been called a modulator in that it brings biological systems into balance. Using the Gowda 50% ethanol extraction procedure on Aloe Vera, we found that 78% of the anti-inflammatory activity was present in the supernatant. The wound healing activity was present in the precipitate with the polysaccharide and other precipitated agents. Never the less, in the supernatant most of the anti-inflammatory activity was present in the supernatant without the presence of the polysaccharide. Some of the wound healing orchestra compounds were precipitated with the polysaccharide to help with the wound healing activity. The carrageenan-inflamed synovial pouch response to Aloe Vera confirms our biological results based on the Gowda experiment. The fibroblast stimulation activity of Aloe Vera recorded in wound healing was clearly observed. The fibroblast response in the air pouch was not a chronic inflammation but rather a growth-repair response. Aloe stimulates the fibroblast directly to increase wound tensile strength. It stimulates glucosamine to form collagen and proteoglycan but zinc and vitamin C must be present. Mast cells of animals treated with carrageenan were found in connective tissue and pouch fluid. They were particularly increased in the inner being of the air pouch as a result of inflammation. Aloe Vera reduced the inflammation and the pouch wall vascularity but at the same time Aloe Vera increased the pouch wall weight. This increase in air pouch punch biopsy weight by Aloe represents a healing and repair response. Aloe stimulates growth and repair by directly stimulating fibroblasts. Aloe Vera has no anti-fibrosis effect but stimulates the fibroblasts for growth and repair as seen in wound healing. Both of these studies clearly demonstrate that Aloe Vera inhibits inflammation and stimulates wound healing at the same time which is the miracle of Aloe. We have not seen data that the magic bullet (the polysaccharide) can do this. In fact, this wonderful dual biological characteristic appears to be exclusive for Aloe Vera. The polysaccharide is an immune stimulator which increases the immune response to an antigen. LaBadie has shown that Aloe Vera can act as an adjuvant to enhance the immune response to an antigen He found that there are two functionally and chemically distinct immunomodulatory compounds in the gel of Aloe Vera. One fraction could enhance antibody formation and another could inhibit antibody formation such that LaBadie called Aloe Vera an immune modulator. Davis and LaBadie showed that the Aloe Vera can inhibit and stimulate phagocytosis as well as "mop up" oxygen radicals. Aloe Vera acts as an immune stimulator on wound healing and an immune inhibitor on inflammation. Aloe Vera can prevent and regress the autoimmune condition of adjuvant induced arthritis. This condition involves both antibody and cellular immunity. Aloe Vera can inhibit the infiltration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes into a site of irritation. This represents a block on leukotrienes. Undernourished individuals have impaired immune responses which may be cofactors in the immunodeficient virus infection. This makes people more susceptible to viral infection. The many nutritional components in Aloe Vera may help the infected individual fight off a disease as a co-factor as well as play a role in regulating the immune system (cell mediated immunity). No single component such as the polysaccharide can do the complete job. A treatment of many compounds as seen in Aloe Vera would seem to be more beneficial for multi-factorial syndrome. The global AIDS problem may be out of control because there is no treatment. If the polysaccharide can contribute in this area, possibly, Aloe Vera can even make a better contribution because it is multifaceted. Aloe Vera has 200 biologically active agents as well as polysaccharide to act as a biological vehicle and a treatment possibility.

Yagi presented data on the isolation of a glycoprotein (Aloe glycoprotein) which has bradykinin-degrading activity and a proteolytic activity against bradykinin. The Aloe glycoprotein has hemagglutinating and cytoagglutinating activity. It has mitogenic activity for lymphocytes. This glycoprotein is called Aloctin A. This glycoprotein has strong anti-tumor activity whose activity varies with the dose at microgram amounts. Aloctin A is non toxic and at very small doses causes complete regression of tumors. Like the polysaccharide, the glycoprotein appears to have an anti-tumor effect based on cell division and immune system response. Thus, the polysaccharide is not the only magic bullet, glycoprotein is another one. In fact, Aloe Vera has many magic bullets such as gibberellins, auxins, sterols and chromones to mention a few. All of these compounds are found around the polysaccharide in the orchestra.

The penetration of topical agents through the skin may be influenced by the drug, the vehicle and the skin. Little attention has been given to the influence of Aloe Vera and mucilage on the penetration through the skin. The stratum corneum acts as a barrier to drug penetration through the skin but also acts as a reservoir for molecules when a drug is applied on the skin. When hydrocortisone is applied to the skin, 99% fails to penetrate the skin stratum corneum and is wasted. Placing hydrocortisone in Aloe Vera enhances the penetration and adds to the biological activity of hydrocortisone. Aloe Vera increases the penetration of skin by water hydration, occlusiveness and by increasing compound solubility. Aloe Vera increases the penetration through the skin whereas the polysaccharide mucilage acts as an occlusive seal forming a firm cover to keep moisture in the skin. Aloe can aid water soluble and insoluble compounds as a biological carrier so that it can be a good carrier for all kinds of drugs as well as contributing Aloe activity to the drug it carries. Can Aloe polysaccharides alone aid in skin penetration and add its biological activity to an agent it carries? We think it cannot by itself. It needs the orchestra environment of biologically active compounds to complete the task. The properties of a large polysaccharide are completely different from those of a small polysaccharide. What is said of the smaller one cannot be attributed to the larger one. In any event, we need to see the data to prove that the magic bullet (the polysaccharide) can act in a fashion similar to Aloe Vera. The FDA must see the data recorded in "commercial blurbs" backing up all the claims made by people who say "If you don't have our polysaccharide, you don't have the active Aloe Vera." This is not true based on scientific evidence. These claims are false and are made by people motivated by money and not be evidence.

Gibberellin is a growth factor found in Aloe plants that has anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity in laboratory animals. It does this in normal and diabetic animals. Gibberellins' wound healing activity is related to its ability to stimulate protein synthesis as well as RNA-DNA cellular systems. It stimulates wound healing (open and incisional wounds) in a dose-response manner. Aloe Vera and Gibberellin can stimulate fibroblasts directly to form collagen and proteoglycans for wound healing. We also feel that Aloe Vera (or Gibberellin) can stimulate or modulate the macrophage to produce the traditional growth factors which stimulate fibroblasts. It appears that Aloe Vera or Gibberellin can do the same thing as proposed by the polysaccharide. Because of the contributions of other agents, they probably do a better job on open and incisional wounds. However, studies need to be designed to show this. Aloe Vera and Gibberellin are anti-inflammatory even in the diabetic. They improve wound healing, reduce edema and pain. Aloe Vera has an additive "vehicle effect" with gibberellins on wound tensile strength. Gibberellin blocks hydrocortisone's inhibition on would healing similar to Aloe Vera.

Hydrocortisone inhibits wound healing by blocking the formation of connective tissue. This increases the spread of infection. Aloe Vera and gibberellins counteracts these detrimental effects of steroids. Gibberellins and Aloe Vera block the steroid inhibition on wound tensile strength. Aloe Vera contains three sterols that have good anti-inflammatory activity. They exhibit anti-inflammation in a dose-response fashion and may be a major contributor to the anti-inflammation in Aloe. Aloe Vera blocks a wide variety of irritants that act by different biochemical pathways. However, it has no chronic anti-inflammatory activity because it stimulates the fibroblast for wound healing. However, we wonder if it aids the hydrocortisone's chronic anti-inflammatory activity since Aloe Vera prevents and regresses adjuvant induced arthritis. Aloe Vera acts as biological vehicle for aspirin and it synergizes with its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity.

Summarizing the main events of Aloe Vera, we must conclude that gibberellins, sterols, chromones, aspirin like compounds and auxins are magic bullets in Aloe Vera. Mucilage improves wound healing; glycoprotein is anabolic and produces both anti-cancer effects and immune system responses that are anti-tumor. Both of these must be considered magic bullets as well as the polysaccharide found in the parenchyma cells of the Aloe leaf. Is it wise to precipitate the polysaccharide with alcohol and throw out all these wonderful biological agents? Is it wise to say that only the polysaccharide is worthwhile when you are aware of this data? I think not. It is acceptable to isolate the various compounds and evaluate them by themselves. However, do not run down Aloe Vera from which they came the data presented here refutes the concept that "If Aloe Vera doesn't have a certain polysaccharide, it's not Aloe Vera." It rejects the concept that only the polysaccharide is active and important in Aloe Vera.