During the past several years, aloe vera has attained such a reputation that its use is no longer confined to the natural cosmetics and health food industries. Major cosmetic companies also have now incorporated aloe vera into their products. Trade associations formed by producers of aloe vera ingredients and products have been established for the promotion of aloe vera, and standards for aloe vera identification and quality have been proposed. At least two companies have claimed to have isolated active principles from aloe vera gel and to have devised methods for testing its biological effects (though to date none of these claims or test results have been published or authenticated).
Although many major cosmetic marketers have aloe in their products, most have done so in response to market pressures rather than because of actual experience with the beneficial effects of the gel. So far, no credible evidence has been offered that processed aloe vera gel possesses the activity of fresh gel. Furthermore, due to the absence of analytical and identification standards, no assurance is provided that any of the commercially available aloe vera gel products contain any active ingredients at all. This difficulty in pinning down aloe vera gel purity may be a factor for those cosmetic marketers who have resisted putting aloe vera into their products, the feeling among their chemists being that they will wait for gels with consistent qualities that will yield consistent positive results.
Despite heavy promotion in aloe vera products, the following difficulties remain:
1. Lack of meaningful identification or purity standards, to a point where no one can mount a successful challenge to producer claims that they have the best or purest products (even though some of their liquid products may be mostly water with citric acid and preservatives and their concentrates nothing but diluents).
2. Powdered aloe vera concentrates, currently produced by spray-drying, freeze-drying, and solvent precipitation (after initial evaporation), contain …