Aloe vera as a functional ingredient in foods

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


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Aloe / adverse effects
  • Aloe / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Cosmetics
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Mannans / adverse effects
  • Mannans / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Risk Assessment


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Cosmetics
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Gels
  • Mannans
  • Plant Extracts
  • acemannan