Store-Brand Aloe Vera Gel Is Reportedly Devoid Of Aloe Vera Juice

Several store-brand versions of aloe vera gel, which are manufactured by Fruit of the Earth and Product Quest Manufacturing LLC, are reportedly devoid of aloe vera juice. The products, which are sold at CVS, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens stores, are all labeled as containing juice from the aloe barbadensis leaf. However, a study sponsored by Bloomberg revealed the products are clearly mislabeled.

The products, which were tested by an independent laboratory, include CVS brand Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel, Target brand Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera, Walmart brand Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera, and Walgreens Alcohol-Free Free Aloe Vera Body Gel.

To determine whether the aloe vera gel products contained any aloe vera juice, the researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance to isolate and identify the products’ ingredients.

Although a majority of the ingredients listed on the labels, including maltodextrin and triethanolamine, were present in the products, the researchers were alarmed to find they did not contain any acemannan or lactic acid.

Lactic acid is released when aloe vera breaks down. Therefore, it is an expected ingredient in products made with aloe vera juice. The lack of acemannan raised alarms because it is a major component of aloe vera juice.

As reported by Bloomberg, the missing ingredients led the researchers to conclude that the store-brand aloe vera gel products contain very little, if any, aloe vera juice.

In response to the allegations, Fruit of the Earth attorney John Dondrea said the company has “been in the business a long time and [they] know where the ingredients come from.” He also said he and Fruit of the Earth “stand behind [their] products.”

Some experts have denounced the researchers’ use of nuclear magnetic resonance to test the aloe vera gel products.

Concentrated Aloe Corp. President Tim Meadows said there is no reliable way to test products for aloe vera juice because “the presence of multiple ingredients can cause interference.” For example, Meadows suggests a majority of the detectable acemannan may be removed from the aloe vera juice during processing.

Although the researchers admit nuclear magnetic resonance was not designed to test cosmetics, they believe the results are accurate.

Flora Research Labs Director James Neal-Kababick said the testing clearly proved aloe vera juice “is not a major component” in the Fruit of the Earth and Product Quest Manufacturing LLC aloe vera gels.

Aloe barbadensis, which is commonly called aloe vera, is a succulent plant with thick, serrated, green leaves filled with a thick gel-like substance often harvested for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

Throughout history, people have applied aloe vera juice directly to the skin to treat burns, chronic skin conditions, cold sores, and shallow wounds. Some people ingest the juice or leaves to relieve arthritis, constipation, bowel disease, and fever.

Prior to 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved aloe vera juice as an ingredient in laxatives. However, as its safety could not be proven, the products were eventually removed from the market.

Although products containing aloe vera remain popular among consumers, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health concluded, “There’s not enough high-quality scientific evidence to show whether the topical use of aloe helps heal wounds.”

The organization further concluded, “There’s not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses.”

Aloe vera gel, when applied topically, is unlikely to cause serious medical concerns. However, ingesting the plant’s juice or leaves can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

Although its cosmetic and medicinal qualities have not been conclusively proven, consumers expect aloe vera gel to contain aloe vera juice. In response to research suggesting the products are mislabeled, several law firms have initiated civil cases against the manufacturers.

[Featured Image by Nik Merkulov/Shutterstock]

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