Vol. 5, Issue 6 (2017)
Health benefits of aloe vera: A wonder plant
Author(s): Amreen Nazir and Dr. Hafiza Ahsan
Abstract: The name Aloe vera is derived from the Arabic word “Alloeh” meaning “shining bitter substance,” while “vera” in Latin means “true” (Haque et al. 2014) . Phytochemistry of aloe vera gel has revealed the presence of more than 200 bioactive chemicals (Ahlawat et al. 2011)  which includes Anthraquinones like Aloe-emodin, aloectic acid, anthranol, aloin A and B (or collectively known as barbaloin), isobarbaloin, emodin and ester of cinnamic acid, Carbohydrates (Pure mannan, acetylated mannan, acetylated glucomannan, glucogalactomannan, galatan, galactogalacturan, arabinogalactan, galactoglucoarabinomannan, pectic substance, xylan, cellulose, chromones, isoaloeresin-D, isoarabaichromone and neoaloesin A), Enzymes (amylase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cyclooxidase, cyclooxygenase, lipase, oxidase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and superoxide dismutase) etc.
In food industry, aloe vera has been utilized as a source of functional food like drinks, jams, and other beverages including tea. Health benefits of aloe vera include its application in wound healing, treating burns, minimizing frost bite damage, protection against skin damage from x-rays, lung cancer, intestinal problems, increasing high density lipoprotein (HDL), reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL), reducing blood sugar in diabetics, fighting acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), allergies and improving immune system (Nandal et al. 2012) . It is the best herbal answer to support the health and healing mechanisms of the body because it does not heal, rather it feeds the body’s own systems in order for them to function optimally and be healthy. However the industries involved in processing of aloe vera need Government surveillance to ensure that the aloe vera products have beneficial bio-active chemicals as per claims of the manufacturers. Regulatory bodies also need to look into the safety and toxicological aspects of aloe vera products for food applications.