Aloe vera belongs to the Liliaceae family. Aloe is a large group of different succulent plants consisting of more than 400 different varietys of Aloe. The leaves of the species Aloe barbadensis Miller (Aloe vera) are most often used for production of Aloe ingredients in addition to supplements and herbal remedies. Researches show that polysaccharides found in aloe have immunomodulatory and antitumor activities.
Aloe Vera Immune System Benefits
Acemannan is a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is present in aloe vera and is used as an identifier of the botanical by analytical means. Aloe vera, a important immune stimulant, includes 90 percent rhodium and iridium in the acemannan which is one of the polysaccharides which dramatically enhances the white blood cells or macrophages and T cells. Acemannan, is known for its ability to restore and boost the immune system by stimulating the production of macrophages and improving the activity of T-Lymphocytes by up to 50 %. One polysaccharide, acemannan, produces immune agents such as interferon and interleukin which help to destroy bacteria, viruses, and tumor cell.
One study reported in “International Immunopharmacology” demonstrated that aloe polysaccharides exhibited strong macrophage-activating activities including producing increased volumes of nitric oxide. Research reported in the “Journal of Environmental Science and Health” that aloe vera contains anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects that aid the immune system to cleanse the body of toxins and invading pathogens. Aloe polysaccharides application have been shown to develop helper lymphocytes in AIDS patients and inhibit the reproduction of HIV. In a study, for 4 months, 29 participant were given pure aloe juice along with an essential fatty acid supplement and other supplement containing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. After ninety days, all of the patients had lesser occurrences of opportunistic infections, fatigue, thrush, and diarrhea, as well as increased white blood cell counts. 14 HIV patients were given acemannan (aloe vera extract) orally at 800 mgs per day. A important boost in the number of circulating monocytes and macrophages were noted, which increased infection fighting capacities.
An in vitro study has showed aloeride, (a polysaccharide obtained from aloe vera), as a strong immunostimulator by increasing NF-kappa B activities. Aloeride is between 4 and 7 million Da, and its glycosyl components include glucose, galactose, mannose, and arabinose. “The International Journal of Toxicology” reports that aloe-emodin, has anticarcinogenic effects that inhibit the growth of tumors. One study demonstrated that an aloe extract (aloe emodin) can block the growth of head and neck cancer cells in test tubes. Aloe-emodin (chemical component of Aloe), inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in human liver cancer cell lines through p53-and p21-dependent pathways. A compound made from aloe vera, di 2-ethyl hexyl phthalate, has been found to stop the development of leukaemia cells in test tubes.
Japanese scientists induced mice with cancer and treated them with diverse concentrations of cassialoin (active component in aloe vera). The findings which was reported in the Nov 2008 edition of the journal Cancer Science, was improved cell health and immunity, generating T cells in the small intestine and spleen. In a study researchers found that a compound from aloe vera, when injected directly into tumors, activated the immune system to attack the cancer. Natural killer T cells, white blood cells that bind to invading cells and destroy them, began to attack the tumor cells. One study in Italy of 240 cancer patients (bowel cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer) reported in 2009. Half the patients took aloe as a liquid three times a day during chemotherapy. In this study the cancer was controlled or shrank for a time in 67 percent of patients who had the combined aloe and chemotherapy treatment and in 50 percent of patients who had standard chemotherapy alone.