The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) has released its quality control standards for the botanical dietary supplement materials aloe vera leaf, aloe vera leaf juice, and aloe vera inner leaf juice. Each AHP monograph establishes standards for assuring authenticity, purity, and quality control of the monographed botanical and represents one of the most comprehensive standards for aloe vera leaf juice and inner leaf juice GMP compliance in the English language. Each monograph addresses the historical use of the botanical along with multiple methods of analysis for ensuring botanical authenticity that include both physical and chemical tests appropriate for individual dispensaries or small or large companies. The identification section provides detailed photographs and images with which to develop internal company identification specifications.
Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Aloe Vera Inner Leaf Juice are the first monographs of this kind on the juices. The phenolics-rich aloe latex (exudate), sometimes also referred to as “juice,” is one of the oldest and widespread botanical drugs in the world. However, less attention has been given to the leaf juice (also known as whole leaf extract) and inner leaf juice (sometimes referred to as “gel”), which have become popular commercial botanical materials in the past 20 years. More importantly, according to AHP
Executive Director Roy Upton, “Concerns regarding the potential carcinogenicity of aloe vera were raised due to a National Toxicology Program (NTP) study in which large quantities of high-aloin-yielding products were administered to animals. Some of these products averaged 6300 ppm of aloin A and are completely different than many aloe vera juice products on the market that limit aloin to less than 5 ppm.
Additionally, these preparations were administered everyday for 2 years.” Upton went on to state, “I am ecstatic that AHP is the first pharmacopoeial standard developed for aloe vera leaf and inner leaf juice as these are important herbal products worldwide. I am also happy that we can clarify the distinctions between the high-aloin-containing products for which safety concerns have been noted and help establish the standards for ensuring the identity, purity, quality, and safety of aloe juice products."
The AHP monograph was supported by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) and establishes independent standards for the identity, purity, quality, and potency of aloe vera juices that limit the concentration of potentially carcinogenic phenolic compounds (aloins) while ensuring a minimum requirement of polysaccharides, the putative beneficial constituents of the juice products. Additionally, the monograph provides detailed analytical testing methods for the detection of adulterants that appear in commercial aloe vera leaf and inner leaf juice products.
As with all AHP monographs, various sections were developed and reviewed by some of the world's leading experts on aloe vera. Unlike other AHP monographs, however, is the lack of the Therapeutic Compendium that typically accompanies AHP’s Standards of Identity, Analysis, and Quality Control.
AHP and IASC plan to develop this in the near future, so that the full benefits of the plant can be more widely and critically articulated. As is, the AHP monograph represents the most comprehensive and critically reviewed work of aloe vera quality control that should be of tremendous benefit to the aloe vera industry and will help to create a self-regulatory mechanism that ensures the quality and safety of aloe vera juice products. According to Devon Powell, Executive Director of IASC, “There are game changers that come into play in the lifespan of a business or organization that truly move missions to a higher level and foster significant growth—and this monograph is one of them for the aloe industry. It will be of value for those who supply, manufacture with, or in any way use processed aloe vera, including researchers, regulators, and government agencies. It’s a huge step forward.”