Aloe vera benefits for food and medicine have known for a long time ago in many civilizations. Indonesian peoples use Aloe vera for hair treatment and some medicinal functions. As information, Lidah buaya is Indonesia’s name for Aloe vera. Commonly, the plants grew in the garden and backyard as ornamental plant. The benefits of Aloe vera compounds besides as antiviral agent also reported effective as anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-helminthic, antifungal, and antimicrobial.
Aloe vera, The Miraculous Plant and the benefits for food and medicine
Aloe vera is known as miraculous plants in many civilizations, such as Egypt, India, Mexico, China, Japan. Peoples use Aloe vera benefits as a food, medicine, and cosmetic purpose. It because the plant leaves contain numerous natural sugar, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and some phytochemicals.
Many available publications and reports tried to study and reveal Aloe vera chemical’s contents and its function for our health. So, from some scientific reports, I try to collect information about the detailed phytochemical content in the Aloe vera leaves.
Chemicals Content Variation
Of course, the chemicals content of Aloe vera is depended on the genetic background and the growth condition factors. Usually in optimum condition, leaves color will shiny green and the thickness will be maximal, leaves length will reach 50 cm or can be more.
But when the plants grew under optimal conditions, the leaves’ color will be pale green and almost no jelly layer in the leaves. It happens when I explore a place in Baluran National Park to do food foraging. I found a group of Aloe vera near to the beach, but unfortunately, no part of it can be extracted as food for that day.
In fact, commercial products of Aloe vera has been known for decades. Its products are food, cosmetics, and even for medicinal purposes. Nowadays the products are available and easily found in the markets. Recently the study of Aloe vera also focuses on its potential for our health. Below is some phytochemicals content in Aloe vera:
vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Vitamins are well known as an antioxidant which has a function to neutralizes free radicals in our body.
Some reports mention enzymes that contain Aloe vera such as aliases, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. As you know, that the presence of enzymes in our body is essential to optimize the metabolism process. But, actually, bradkynase has a function as an anti-inflammatory agent
Calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc are some minerals we can find in Aloe vera. As additional information, at the laboratory level, It was known that zinc has a function to inhibit virus RNA polymerase activities
Some sugars contain in Aloe vera are monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). One of the sugar, a complex carbohydrate called acemannan is acts as the main agent in accelerating the wound healing process and also protects our skin from radiation.
Anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Then aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterial, and antivirals. The antiviral activity mostly came from anthraquinones. But, some compounds individually also involved in antiviral activity, such as quercetin, catechin hydrate, kaempferol, acemannan, azidothymidine, acyclovir, aloin, emodin.
Iophenol, cylcoartanol, cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. Phytosterols (iophenol and cycloartanol), have the function of inducing the downregulation process of fatty acid synthesis and at the same time also play a role in upregulating fatty acid oxidation in the liver. It will improve our liver performance
There are 20 amino acids with 7 essential amino acids that exist in the Aloe vera leaves. more interesting because amino acids are essential as building blocks of proteins in our body and muscles. The other function of amino acids is the function as an energy source during the metabolism process.
Aloe vera for Covid-19
During the covid-19 pandemic, a researcher group also reported their review about the potential of Aloe vera benefits as an anti-covid agent. They publish their study in the European Journal of Medicinal Plants. Some researchers are still continuing to reveal and digging some aspects which probably can improve our understanding of Aloe vera. For another article about Aloe vera, and it benefits like food and medicine, you can read here
- Dalia I. Sanchez-Machado, Jaime Lopez-Cervantes, Raquel Sendon, Ana Sanches-Silva. 2017. Aloe vera: Ancient knowledge with new frontiers. Trends in Food Science & Technology:61 (2017), p94-102
- Pankaj K. Sahu, Deen Dayal Giri, Ritu Singh, Priyanka Pandey, Sharmistha Gupta, Atul Kumar Shrivastava, Ajay Kumar, Kapil Dev Pandey. 2013. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Aloe vera: A Review. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 2013, 4
- Pius T. Mpiana, Koto-Te-Nyiwa Ngbolua, Damien S. T. Tshibangu, Jason T. Kilembe, Benjamin Z. Gbolo, Domaine T. Mwanangombo, Clement L. Inkoto, Emmanuel M. Lengbiye, Clement M. Mbadiko, Aristote Matondo, Gedeon N. Bongo, Dorothée D. Tshilanda. 2020. Aloe vera (L.) Burm. F. as a Potential Anti-COVID-19 Plant: A Mini-review of Its Antiviral Activity. European Journal of Medicinal Plants 31(8): 86-93, 2020
always love to learn from nature. Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses