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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4856412, 10 pages
Research Article

Could We Really Use Aloe vera Food Supplements to Treat Diabetes? Quality Control Issues

Pharmacognosy Research Laboratories & Herbal Analysis Services UK, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Solomon Habtemariam

Received 8 September 2017; Accepted 5 November 2017; Published 6 December 2017

Academic Editor: Gioacchino Calapai

Copyright © 2017 Solomon Habtemariam. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes UK has recently listed a number of herbs and spices that have been clinically shown to improve blood glucose control in type-2 diabetes patients and the diabetes high-risk group. With Aloe vera being top in this list, its health benefit along with health and beauty/food retailers supplying it was illustrated in detail. Previous article from this laboratory scrutinised the merit of using A. vera as an alternative therapy to prescription antidiabetic drugs and the risk of using food supplements in the market which do not qualify as drug preparations. In continuation of this discussion, the present study assesses three Aloe Pura brands and one Holland and Barret brand of A. vera juice supplements in the UK market through chromatographic and spectroscopic analysis. While the polysaccharide active ingredient, acemannan, appears to be within the recommended limit, it was found that Aloe Pura (one of the best-selling brands for A. vera supplement) products have benzoate additive that does not appear in the supplement levels. Moreover, two of the Aloe Pura brand juices contain methanol, suggesting that the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) certification does not guarantee the medicinal quality of these products. The therapeutic fitness of such supplements is discussed.