Everyone is familiar with Aloe Vera. For decades the juice form of Aloe Vera has been thought of as the only way to extract the healing essence of this dynamic botanical. However, this is far from the truth. Dehydrated Aloe Vera powder, above any other form, offers a greater concentration of broad spectrum nutrients, rich in the healing constituents that have made Aloe famous for centuries. For this reason, an understanding of the many different forms of Aloe Vera manufacturing practices is necessary; in order to see what sets dehydrated Aloe Vera powder apart from the rest.
So, what is Aloe Vera? The Aloe plant is 99 percent water, leaving only 1 percent absorbable solid including over 200 bio-active constituents (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids, polysaccharides, and polymannans). Most of these active substances are beneficial, however a few are not. Separating the inner gel from the outer leaf is necessary because anthroquinines found in the sap of the leaf can leak into the inner gel. This substance has a laxative and toxic effect on the body. Once this part of the plant is removed, the coveted inner gel of the Aloe is ready to be processed.
Within the Aloe Vera leaf, a prized polysaccharide can be found. This major polysaccharide is unique for two reasons. The first is the biological activity of the acetylated mannan, also known as an Aloe polymannan. Polymannan is a special complex carbohydrate that is also known as polymannose. The most outstanding effect polymannose has in the body is its ability to modulate immune response and general immune function.
The second reason polymannose is set apart from all other sugars is its availability in nature. Every living creature depends on the presence of polymannose in the body in order to function at the cellular level. It is one of the few nutrients the body is not capable of producing on its own. The polymannose molecule must be ingested on a regular basis in order to maintain optimal health. With the combination of modern farming practices, food processing and radiation, and the steady decline of environmental conditions, the sad truth is we are no longer receiving polymannose in today’s “Standard American Diet” (SAD). Above any other botanical on the planet, the Barbadensis Miller species of Aloe contains the highest concentration of this essential master carbohydrate.
Low levels of polymannose indicate an aloe product has been harshly handled and processed or is not produced from the Aloe Barbadensis Miller species, both of which result in a low grade aloe product. An educated consumer will question any product that has been subjected to such excessive, harsh, and unethical processing practices. Here are a few of the fundamental concepts of Aloe Vera manufacturing to help get you on the road to making an informed decision on your next or first Aloe Vera product purchase.
The manufacturing challenges of Aloe Juice
There are many obstacles in the road to producing a premium grade Aloe Vera product. The reason for this is centered on the delicate nature of the star of this botanical, mannose. As soon as harvesting commences, the nature of the plant is to break down its own healing substances (polymannose) due to the enzyme cellulase found in the tissues of the plant. This response enables the plant to repair its wound and to provide a new skin (similar to what polymannose does in the human body). This process also provides immunity to the leaf (again, similar to the role polymannose plays within the body’s biology) and will ensure the plants survival. Without this protective system, the leaf and plant would become susceptible to viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungus. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the leaves cool, as well as completing processing as quickly as possible, in order to minimize this self-induced degradation.
Furthermore, a bacterium also poses a threat to the polymannose molecules if processing is not expedient. Bacteria not only feast on the polysaccharide, but also produce enzymes which further compromise these important complex sugars. For an Aloe Vera juice, this means pasteurization is necessary in order to prevent the product from fermenting and to guarantee the safety and freshness of an aloe liquid. Unfortunately, this means the finished product is nearly devoid of the essence of the Aloe Vera’s inner gel, mannose! Methods such as High Temperature (over 200 degrees) and Short Time (HTST) have become industry standards in the production of Aloe Vera juices. Such manufacturing practices ensure a product of high consumer safety with low levels of active bio-constituents. Translation: expensive, over processed sugar water.
Reconstituted or Concentrate: What are you paying for?
Aloe concentrate products use the same procedure as that of an orange juice concentrate. First, the aloe is juiced, and then filtered in order to reduce pulp or solids (essentially mannose) in the liquid. Then a process known as Vacuum Concentration is used whereby pressure and temperature create a vacuum, thus extracting water and giving the liquid a higher solid to water ratio. Next, enzymes are added for fluidity to ensure a less viscose product. These introduced enzymes further deteriorate any remaining active bio-constituents.
Manufacturers sell concentrates in two forms. Single strength, which means the aloe has not been, reconstituted (no water added). One part aloe solid to one part water is considered single strength. Frozen orange juice concentrate with no water added is a crude example of single strength. This finished liquid aloe is less processed, and more costly than reconstituted concentrates. The second type of concentrate is a reconstituted concentrate which comes in multiple strengths. If you add water to a frozen concentrated orange juice, the beverage is reconstituted from a concentrate. How much water added will determine the strength.
Further Additives Used
In addition, chemicals and preservatives are added to stabilize the Aloe Vera liquid. If the Aloe liquid is not stabilized, enzymes and lactobacillus bacteria quickly decompose and ferment the Aloe product. Chemical stabilizers prevent certain metabolic byproducts from forming such as lactic acid, fumaric acid, succinic acid, and pyruvate, which quickly become concentrated in an unfinished product.
There is also a chemical decomposition that takes place if stabilizers are not added, during which the Aloe polymannans release acetate groups, thus producing acetic acid. This combined with formic acid (also formed in unstabilized aloe liquid) are known liver toxins. According to an article which appeared in the January/February 1998 issue of Agro Food Industry H-Tech, Teichmuller wrote:
“Preservatives (benzoic acid and ascorbic acid) must be added to liquid Aloe Vera products to guarantee their stability. These additives are to be declared in the list of raw materials. Should the declaration be omitted? Or cheap polysaccharides such as maltodextrin are added to the Aloe vera, this constitutes fraud. Evidence of the presence of these substances can be detected by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy”. Aloe gels and juices can legally state that their product is stabilized, however this is misleading since stabilization pertains to the beverage as a finished product and not the polymannose itself. Only through a NMR Spectroscopy can the quality, quantity and stability of the desired sugar, polymannose be detected in an Aloe Vera product.
Another peril in the Aloe industry is the practice of diluting Aloe beverages. A few fraudulent producers and marketers have taken advantage of consumers by adding water to already diluted Aloe juice. Other manufacturers use a distillation process, using Aloe leaves and steam, which extracts only a few fragile substances that survive with very little benefit. Claims can be made that the Aloe beverage has no chemicals or preservatives, has no bitterness and tastes like water. Industry expert and former Chief Pathologist at Dallas Fort Worth Medical Center, Dr. H. Reginald McDaniel stated:
“Make absolutely sure that what you are drinking is in fact Aloe Vera juice and not water” Cold Pressed: A meaningless term
In juicing, manufacturers use a term known as cold processing. This term is misinterpreted to mean there is no heat used to produce any given product, and is simply labeled as such for marketing purposes. Doctor Udo Erasmus PhD, MA, is an industry expert in the processing methods of plant molecules and holds degrees in nutrition and psychology. In his whistle-blowing book, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, Dr. Erasmus clarifies what the term cold process really means:
“The term is meaningless. Its use by manufacturers is unethical, to cater to uninformed consumers who still believe that cold pressed means high quality” (page 141) Federal law requires pasteurization of all consumable liquids unless stated boldly on the label. Heat is used in most processing anyway. Furthermore, insoluble and soluble fibers, vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, and amino acids are drastically reduced or not even present in the beverage due to the processing practices required to produce an Aloe juice. Chemicals and preservatives cumulate when introduced into the body. So the question remains, is a processed Aloe liquid the safest and most effective form of Aloe Vera consumption?
Additional Label Frauds
The term Mucopolysaccharides (MPS), has been misused by certain individuals in the promotion of their Aloe Vera product. All reputable scientists agree that plants do not have MPS. It is suspected that the origin of this term arose through confusion between the terms Mutinous Polysaccharides, which are characteristic of Aloe’s Mannose, and Mucopolysaccharides (polysaccharides containing nitrogen, found in animals and bacteria).
To add to the confusion even more, a test called the Methanol Perceptible Solids (MPS) Test incompletely measures polysaccharides. In particular the MPS Test gives a false reading of polysaccharides in the case of Whole Leaf Aloe, which has been treated with cellulose as a part of legitimate processing. The MPS Test makes this material appear to have a normal or even superior level of polysaccharides. Wittingly, certain companies have used the MPS Test to label and promote their product as having high levels of polysaccharides whereas in fact this product may have lower than expected levels of the aloe polymannans. Furthermore, the MPS Test fails to identify Aloe powders which may contain significant amounts of the modified cornstarch product Maltodextrin and has failed to distinguish the polymannose of legitimate Freeze Dried Aloe Vera from Maltodextrin.
So what should you look for? There are 5 key trademarks to look out for when investigating a quality Aloe Vera product:
The manufacturer of your prospective Aloe Vera Product should use a process that employs the lowest possible temperature to dry the Aloe's inner gel without subjecting the gel to harsh conditions, i.e., freeze drying (such conditions would kill a living plant). Plainly stated, look for a low heat (lower than body temperature) dehydrated Aloe vera powder, which uses a relatively gentle processing method, thus ensuring the greatest concentrations of the prized polymannose molecule.
Since time is of the essence, also look for an Aloe product that is produced within 24 hours of harvesting. Enzymes of the inner gel completely break down polymannose molecules within this time frame. The time of day and the season in which the aloe leaves are harvested are also crucial factors, for they determine the stability of the inner gel, as well as the concentration of polymannose present. The species of Aloe Vera used is also important in choosing a premium grade product. If the manufacturer uses any species other than Aloe Barbadensis Miller, it is a clear tell tale sign that the product has very little polymannose available, which determines Molecular Weight...
The molecular weight of an Aloe Vera product expresses the amount of polymannose molecules present in that particular product. The most accurate test available for taking such high-tech and precise measurements is the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. This test not only gives the most accurate representation of mannose available, but it can also measure the amount of each of the four chains of the polymannose molecule. An educated consumer should look for an aloe product that has not only the highest concentration of polymannose molecules, but also one that offers all four chains, since each chain is responsible for a unique and vital effect within the body. A reputable Aloe Vera product manufacturer will have this information available for you upon request. Be ware of those who are not even sure what an NMR Spectroscopy is.
Finally, look for a product of the highest possible purity. There are plenty of reputable aloe growers and manufacturers that produce high quality aloe products with zero additives. Producing premium aloe products is cost and labor intensive. You should be investing in a product that gives the results you are looking for due to the care and consistency put into the manufacturing of that product. Juicing, filtering, pasteurization, and chemical stabilizers simply do not deliver the highest grade aloe product that is available.
What is so great about AL Low & Associates dehydrated powder?
This Aloe Vera is grown in fields that are of certified organic, rich volcanic ash soil located between two mountains ranges at the base of a volcano. Rich volcanic ash soil provides rare trace minerals. The fields are irrigated with natural spring fed water. The Aloe Vera plants are fertilized with Aloe’s outer leaves, which would otherwise be discarded after the harvest. This puts minerals and other nutrients back into the soil, ultimately benefiting the land as well as the Aloe Vera plants grown there. Nothing goes to waste.
Although Aloe Vera is grown and harvested all over the world, the highest quality finished Aloe products start with a strong stock of Aloe plants known as pups. Aloe leaves mature in approximately three to four years. Only the leaves of mature plants are harvested for the manufacturing this unique aloe powder. When the leaves are harvested, variables must be considered for the highest quality yields with the greatest concentrations of active bio-constituents present in the leaf. Where the plants are grown, the time of day, the year of picking and the timeliness of processing are all taken into account to ensure the quality and consistency of the product.
Proper handling techniques are exercised, from the field to the raw material and finally to the shipping container. In addition, experienced farmers who have been harvesting Aloe Vera for generations have developed a passion for producing quality Aloe Vera whose reputation precedes them. Their skill for nurturing, cultivating, harvesting and processing the aloe plant reflects in the Aloe Immune product.
This extraordinary dehydrated powder is naturally stabilized by a proprietary process, without the use of any chemicals. This ensures that the powder is rich in the large complex carbohydrates (glyco-polymannans or aloe polymannans) which science has indicated are responsible for the activation of the macrophages and are also known to enhance our immune system. Other benefits of Aloe Vera include skin irritation and wound healing properties, blood sugar regulation, and digestive support.
The Aloe Vera gel dehydrated powder is as close as possible to the original source, just as nature intended. We are confident that you will be pleased with the results. We are honored to serve and educate you now and in the future. But as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, or should we say, the proof is in our powder.