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Research from the University of Belgrade School of Medicine has confirmed what other recent studies have been finding – that Aloe vera and its constituents inhibit the process of skin cell proliferation that accompanies skin cancer.
The researchers tested Aloe-emodin, a constituent of Aloe, with human skin cells – keratinocytes – after being treated with radiation. Once radiated, keratinocytes will typically proliferate in the process of forming skin tumors.
The researchers found that the Aloe-emodin significantly stopped the proliferation process. This confirmed Aloe's benefit in halting the progression of tumor formation after radiation by the sun.
This study confirms other recent findings. Researchers from South Korea's Gachon University of Medicine and Science found that Aloe-emodin specifically halted the growth of human cancerous liver cells. The researchers found that Aloe-emodin stimulated a genetic change within the cancerous cells that not only halted their expansion, but induced cell death among tumor cells.
In 2010, researchers from the China Medical University found this anticancer effect was not exclusive to Aloe's Aloe-emodin. The researchers found that Aloe constitents Emodin and Rhein also produced anticancer effects, which included the halting of tumor progression and cell death among cancer cells.
The research actually found this anticancer effect was greater with Emodin, as compared with Aloe-emodin and Rhein. But Aloe-emodin was observed having stronger cell repair abilities – for those cells that had not become cancerous.
This illustrates what researchers from the Pharmacy School of the University of Belgrade found in another study: "Although isolated plant compounds have a high potential in protection of the skin, whole herbs extracts showed better potential due to their complex composition," the scientists concluded.
These studies of human cells confirm similar findings in animal research - showing the application of Aloe vera gel onto the skin significantly inhibits the progression of skin cancer.
The research also has found that Aloe stimulates the production of melanins and other protective factors that protect the skin from radiation and the progression of tumorous cells.
The gel of the Aloe leaf and its other plant parts contain many constituents outside of those tested in these studies, including quercetin, luteolin, apigenin, kaempferol, isoorientin, isovitexin, saponarin, lutonarin, chlorogenic acid, pectic acid, caffeic acid, 5-P-coumaroylquinic acid, caffeoylshikimic acid, feruloylquinic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, as well as glycosylchromone aloeresin B, and aloin, which is a precursor to Aloe-emodin. This mix of polyphenols, glucans and glucomannans, and alkaloids give Aloe its tremendous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with its ability to stimulate healing.