"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
by Gertrude Baldwin

[History] [Location] [Chemical Constituent] [Medicinal Qualities] [Contra-Indications] [Known Herbal Formulas] [Dosages & Applications] [Personal Experiences] [Endnotes]
Aloe vera has marvelous medicinal properties.  Scientists have discovered over 150 nutritional ingredients in Aloe vera.  There seems to be no single magic ingredient. They all work together in a synergistic way to create healing and health giving benefits. The ten main areas of chemical constituents of Aloe vera include: amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, lignins, monosaccharide, polysaccharides, salicylic acid, saponins, and sterols.33

     The amino acids in Aloe vera are the building blocks of protein and influence our brain function.  Humans require 22 amino acids and the body will make all of them except for eight essential amino acids which our body gets from the food/drinks that we take in.  Every one of the essential amino acids are available in Aloe vera and they include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine,and tryptophan. Some of the other non-essential amino acids found in Aloe vera include alanine, arginine, asparagine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline, serine, tyrosine, glutamine, and aspartic acid.34
     Located in the sap of the leaves you will find twelve anthraquinones, a phenolic compound that has stimulating effects on the bowels and antibiotic properties. In small amounts the anthraquinones do not have a purgative effect.  They help with absorption from the gastro intestinal tract and have anti-microbial and pain killing effects.  Too many anthraquinones can produce abdominal pain and diarrhea. The most important anthraquinones are aloin and emodin. They are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and analgesic.35   The anthraquinones in Aloe vera breakup residue, pus and lifeless cells, bring blood to the region and flush out material from the wounds and ulcers.36

          Enzymes act as biochemical catalysts that break down the proteins we eat into amino acids.  The enzymes turn the food we eat into fuel for every cell in our body, enabling the cells to
function and work efficiently. “The main enzymes found in Aloe vera include Amylase (breaks down sugars and starches), Bradykinase (stimulates immune system, analgesic, anti-inflammatory), Catalase (prevents accumulation of water in the body), Cellulase (aids digestion - cellulose), Lipase (aids digestion - fats), Oxidase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Proteolytiase (hydrolyses proteins into their constituent elements), Creatine Phosphokinase (aids metabolism), and Carboxypeptidase.”37

      The next thing we need to ask ourselves is what fuels the enzymes?  The key is the vitamins and minerals we take in.  For instance if we lack in zinc and/or Vitamin B6, our body will not be able to break down or use protein.  Because of the healing properties of Aloe vera and its synergistic action, the body receives what it needs to work properly.  Aloe vera, an anti-oxidant rich plant, contains vitamins such as A, C, and E plus the minerals, zinc, and selenium. Anti-oxidants help boost the immune system and combat free radicals in the body.38 

     It also contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12 along with choline, calcium (teeth and bone formation, muscle contractions and heart health), magnesium(strengthens teeth and bones, maintains healthy muscles and nervous system, activates enzymes), zinc (speeds up wound healing, mental quickness assists with healthy teeth, bones, skin, immune system, and digestive aid), manganese (activates enzymes, builds healthy bones, nerves and tissues), chromium (assists with protein metabolism and balancing of blood sugars), selenium which all influence our brain performance.39 

     Additional minerals found in Aloe vera include copper (important for red blood cells, skin and hair pigment), iron (involved in oxygen transportation and making of hemoglobin in red blood cells), potassium (helps with fluid balance), phosphorus (helps build bones and teeth, assists with metabolism and body pH), and sodium (regulates body liquids, helps with nerve and muscle performance, and helps deliver nutrients into body cells).40  Aloe vera also contains the trace minerals of rhodium and iridium used in cancer and tumor research experiments.41

      Another component of Aloe vera consists of the lignins, a major structural material of cellulose content, that allows for penetrative properties.42   Aloe vera can soak into the skin up to seven layers deep.  Lignins penetrate the toughened areas of the skin being beneficial for skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. 43

     The next elements of Aloe vera we will discuss include monosaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides contain the simple sugars which include glucose.  The polysaccharides are the more complex long-chain sugars involving glucose and mannose or the gluco-mannans. These sugars are ingested whole from the stomach. They do not get
broken down like other sugars, and appear in the bloodstream in exactly the same form.  This process is known as pinocytosis.  Once in the blood stream, they exert their healing and  immuno-regulating effect.  Some of these polysaccharides are not absorbed but stick to certain cells lining the gut and form a barrier preventing absorption of unwanted material so helping to prevent a leaking gut syndrome. The sugars are also used in moisturizing preparations.44

     One polysaccharide, acemannan, is known for its ability to restore and boost the immune system by stimulating the production of macrophages and improving the activity of T-Lymphocytes by up to 50 %. Acemannan produces immune agents such as interferon and interleukin which help to destroy viruses, bacteria, and tumor cells.45  Acemannan improves cellular metabolism by normalizing cellular function and regulating the flow of nutrients and wastes in and out of the cells.  It knows how to destroy parasites and fungus. In some AIDS patients, it even protected the immune system from the toxic side effects of AZT.46  Carrington Laboratories in the United States have separated the acemannan from Aloe vera. The product is sold as “Carrisyn” and is being used for treatment of AIDS and Feline leukemia.47

     Many sources stated that Aloe vera has mucopolysaccharides, nitrogen containing polysaccharides, found in animals and bacteria.48  A regulation and testing board for Aloe vera products known as the International Aloe Science Council concludes that some people are misinformed and confused on terminology.  The Aloe has polysaccharides but not mucopolysaccharides.49 

     Aloe vera contains salicylic acid which is an aspirin-like compound with anti -inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-bacterial properties. It has anti-pyretic properties for reducing fevers.  Other constituents of Aloe vera would include prostaglandins, tannins, magnesium lactate, resins, mannins, proteins such as lectins, monosulfonic acid and gibberlin.50

     Another constituent of Aloe vera includes saponins.  These are soapy substances from the gel that is capable of cleansing and having antiseptic properties. The saponins perform strongly as anti-microbial against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts.51  The plant sterols or phyto-steroids in Aloe vera include Cholesterol, Campesterol, Lupeol, and B (Beta sign) Sitosterol.52  The plant steroids have fatty acids in them that have antiseptic, analgesic, and  anti-inflammatory properties.53