An aqueous extract of Aloe vera gel was analyzed guided by modulatory activity with regard to the in vitro activation of human complement and of human polymorphnuclear leucocytes (PMN). Upon ultrafiltration a high (h-Mr) and a low (l-Mr) molecular mass fraction were obtained. Pre-incubation of human pooled serum with the h-Mr fraction resulted in a depletion of classical and alternative pathway complement activity. In contrast, only the l-Mr fraction could inhibit the production of free oxygen radicals by activated PMNs. The latter activity cannot be attributed to non-specific effects like toxicity, interference with stimulant binding or scavenger activity.