Alternative Medicine

Whole-Leaf Aloe “Unsafe” For German Food, Supplements

Germany’s Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, or Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, has formally deemed Aloe sap, and the anthranoids it contains, unsafe for use in foods and supplements. The Institute’s official opinion, which was published in early November, specifically mentions the suspected carcinogenic potential of anthranoids.

In both Germany and the U.S., a number of Aloe species are marketed for health purposes but it is believed that the plant’s sap, or latex, found in every species tested so far contains anthranoids. The gel, on the other hand, is still considered safe and will not be regulated any differently when this new opinion is integrated into German law.

BfR-Risikoprofil: Ganzblattzubereitungen der Aloe arborescens (Stellungnahme Nr. 032/2017)

Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung’s official Risk Assessment for aloe latex, which finds whole-leaf Aloe “possible” to create severe health issues when used regularly.

The Difference Between Aloe Gel & Aloe Sap

We’re all familiar with Aloe gel, which most of us grew up believing was a safe, natural remedy for minor burns, sunburn and skin irritations. But in an Aloe leaf, between the slimy cool gel and the waxy outer “rind’ lies a thin layer of sap, which is known as aloin.

When consumed, aloin has a strong laxative effect and was once put into over-the-counter laxative remedies. Concerns about its possible carcinogenic potential, though, prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to pull aloin’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in 2002.

What This Latest Ruling Means To Consumers

To American consumers, this new German finding will mean little but to people in Europe it means that a powerful regulatory agency now officially finds whole-leaf Aloe products unsuitable for use in foods and botanical remedies. In the future any product made from Aloe will have to be produced in such a way that no contamination with aloin is allowed to take place.

Aloe sap has been linked to cancer.

While Aloe gel is still considered safe for many uses, aloe sap (latex) is not.


Photos by Vision Webagency, Silvia Agrasar on Unsplash