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AHP Releases Quality Control Standards Monograph for Aloe Vera
ISSUE:
Page:
19

The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) has published its 34th monograph, which features quality control standards for aloe vera leaf, leaf juice, and inner leaf juice. The monograph focuses on commercially available A. vera plant materials, and also includes information on additional species in the genus Aloe (Xanthorrhoeaceae).

Each AHP monograph serves as an authoritative guide for verifying botanical purity and identification, and establishes quality and composition guidelines to be used for fulfilling Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements. Additionally, the monographs provide details on the historic uses of the herb, photographs and images for identification purposes, as well as information regarding physical and chemical analytical methods.

According to the AHP monograph, released on December 18, 2012, “The plant genus Aloe has a history of economic and medicinal use that spans thousands of years and is the source of some of the oldest-known herbal medicines.”AHP addresses three parts of the aloe vera plant, sometimes referred to by its synonym A. barbadensis, including the leaf, leaf juice, and inner leaf juice. Over the past two decades, both aloe vera leaf juice and gel have become popular botanical materials.The monograph will be of use for individuals and organizations that use aloe vera, including suppliers, manufacturers, researchers, regulators, and government agencies.

“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,” said AHP Executive Director Roy Upton in the organization’s press release.2

AHP received support for the monograph from the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), a nonprofit trade organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland. “AHP worked collaboratively with IASC to establish the standards as a way to establish a clear benchmark of quality and purity,” said Upton (email, January 8, 2013). “AHP maintained complete editorial control over the entire process and content. The monograph was then subjected to peer review by IASC and industry experts, as well as a host of independent academic aloe experts.”

The AHP aloe monograph provides much-needed information and guidance on the potential carcinogenicity of some orally ingested aloe vera material, which was brought into question by a 2011 report from the National Toxicity Program (NTP). In a two-year study, the NTP found a link between non-decolorized whole leaf extract and tumors of the large intestine in mice and rats.However, the aloe vera material used in the study contained high amounts of the anthraquinone compound aloin. 

“Some of these products averaged 6,300 ppm [parts per million] of aloin A and are completely different than many aloe vera juice products on the market that limit aloin to less than 5 ppm,” Upton stated in the press release.“I am 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 identity, purity, quality, and safety of aloe juice products.”

The therapeutic compendium section for the AHP aloe monograph — a component which will contain pharmacological and clinical data on various types of aloe materials that usually is released with AHP quality standards monographs — is anticipated to be developed in the near future, according to the press release. 

“We look forward to developing the therapeutic compendium, both because we like having a complete dossier for every herb we monograph but also because there are a number of studies showing the health benefits and establishing the safety of aloe vera juice that meet the AHP-IASC standards,” Upton told the American Botanical Council in an email. “It would be good to get this information out there so consumers can make a clear distinction between products yielding high levels of anthraquinones and those that meet AHP-IASC standards and yield less than 10 ppm aloins.”

The monograph for aloe vera leaf, leaf juice, and inner leaf juice is available through AHP’s website at

www.herbal-ahp.org. PDFs are available for $35.95, and printed four-color versions can be purchased for $44.95.

 

—Tyler Smith

 

References

1. Upton R, Axentiev P (eds.). Aloe vera leaf, aloe vera leaf juice, aloe vera inner leaf juice: standards of identity, analysis, and quality control. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia website. Available at: www.herbal-ahp.org/order_online.htm. Accessed January 9, 2013.

2. AHP releases monograph standards for aloe vera leaf, aloe vera leaf juice, aloe vera inner leaf juice (Aloe vera (L.) Burm f.) [press release]. Scotts Valley, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. December 18, 2012. Available at: www.herbal-ahp.org/news.htm. Accessed January 4, 2013.

3. Herbs at a glance: aloe vera. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/aloevera. Accessed January 4, 2013.