Aloe Vera as a succulent plant is member of the lily family. It forms itself part of a subspecies (the Aloinae) of which there are over 200 types.
The potency of Aloe Vera is due to its rich variety of ingredients, which are present in perfect balance, and work together as a team. Although the solid portion of the Aloe Vera plant forms only 1%-1.5%, the rest being water, this small amount of active ingredient can produce a strong effect. This can only be explained by a synergistic effect, which means that the effect of the whole is greater than the add up effects of the individual components.
There are thought to be only five varieties of the aloe family which possess documented medicinal benefits, and of these it is Aloe Barbadensis Miller, which has been of most use to humans because it has been shown to be the most powerful of all aloes.
There are over 75 known ingredients in the Aloe Vera leaf. The main ingredients are:
Lignin is cellulose-based substance in the gel with no known specific medicinal properties. It is thought to provide the ability to .
Saponins are glycosides which are thought to comprise about 3% of aloe vera gel. These soapy substances contain antiseptic properties, which are capable of cleansing.
Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, Iron
Vitamins a, C & E are the important antioxidant vitamins, essential in the fight against damaging free radicals. All three are important for the immune system, and Vitamin C assists in wound healing. It also makes collagen, which keeps bones skin and joints firm and strong. Vitamin A is essential to maintain normal night vision. Vitamin E not only helps the body utilise oxygen, but prevents blood clots, thrombosis, atherosclerosis as well. It also improves wound healing and fertility and is good for the skin.
Vitamin B complex, including Choline
The B Vitamins are associated with the production of energy and with amino acid metabolism, which helps develop muscle mass.
Aloe Vera is one of the rare plant sources of the essential Vitamin B12, necessary for manufacturing red blood cells.
Aloe contains Folic Acid which is also important for the development of blood cells.
Amino Acids: Our human body requires 20 amino acids to maintain good health and all but eight can be manufactured in the body. The others need to be taken as food (essential amino acids). Together, they form the building blocks of proteins from which we manufacture and repair muscle. Aloe Vera provides 19 of the 20 required amino acids and seven of the eight essential ones. The amino acid tryptophan is missing.
Enzymes: The many enzymes in Aloe Vera can be divided into two groups:
enzymes that aid digestion (i.g. Lipase help break down fats, amylase, break down starch and sugar)
and those that are anti-inflammatory
Consequently the nutrients in our food can be more efficiently absorbed, when one is drinking aloe on a regular basis.
Sugars: Aloe Vera contains two sorts of sugars, monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose, and long chain sugars (polysaccharides), the main one being a glucomannose often referred to as Acemannan.
Sterols: The plant sterols are important anti-inflammatory agents
Salicylic acid: This is also found in Aloe Vera, and it is metabolized in the body to an aspirin-like compound which, together with lupeol (one of the sterols in aloe), provide some of its pain-killing properties.
Aloe Vera has three important qualities:
- provides essential micro nutrients
- kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts
- reduces inflammation
Aloe Vera is currently grown commercially, mainly in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, in the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Spain and in Australia. There are several Aloe companies. For any Aloe drink to stand a chance of doing good, it needs to contain a substantial quantity of the parenchymatous gel. If a product is clear, looks like water and tastes like water, then it probably is water, and not particularly beneficial.
In the USA is an independent organization established, called International Aloe Science Council which, amongst other things, evaluates the quality of aloe products. If such products meet with various criteria and reach a particular standard, they are accredited with the IASC seal of approval, which can then appear on the container. Cold stabilised aloe vera gel is about 97% pure and the nearest thing that you can get to the natural raw gel extracted from the plant.