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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Apr;50(4):305-26. doi: 10.1080/10408390802544454.

Aloe vera as a functional ingredient in foods.

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Department of Analytical Chemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, University of La Laguna, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.


The main scientific discoveries on Aloe vera published mainly in the last three decades are presented in this work. After describing Aloe from a botanical point of view, the papers related with the chemical composition of different parts of the leaf of Aloe, particularly those in which the gel is described and are presented in a synthetic manner. The chemical analyses reveal that Aloe gel contains mannose polymers with some glucose and other sugars, among which the most important is Acemannan. Besides these, other components such as glycoproteins, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are described. Different factors also affecting the chemical composition of the gel, such as species and variety, climatic and soil conditions, cultivation methods, processing and preservation, are enumerated and discussed. On the other hand, the main therapeutic applications have been revised and the possible damaging effects of Aloe are also commented upon. A special emphasis is placed on the biologically active compounds or groups of compounds responsible for the therapeutic applications and which are their action mechanisms. The paper concludes that more research is needed to confirm the therapeutic and beneficial effects and to definitively clarify the myth surrounding Aloe vera. A general view on the problem of the commercialization and establishment of the quality and safety of Aloe products in the food industry has been offered here. The main points and European regulations that need to be considered regarding the quality control of prepared Aloe products are presented in this paper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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