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Is Aloe Vera Really Chemical Free?

Posted Aug 31 2012 2:01am

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Elana44 asks…I need a clarification on this botanical. I know that there are these natural forms of aloe barbadensis. But what is aloe barbadensis gel? Is it all-natural or is it made of one of the other forms by the help of some chemical?

The Right Brain responds:

Here are the officially recognized terms for different versions of Aloe Barbadensis.

  • Aloe barbadensis flower extract
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf extract
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf juice
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf polysaccharides
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf water

As you can see, “aloe barbadensis gel” is not on the list and so it’s not an officially recognized name for aloe vera. So, suppliers can use the “gel” name as long as their Material Safety Data Sheet uses one of the official names. For example, one supplier sells aloe barbadensis gel and lists the the following as the “real” names:

  • EU Substance Name: Aloe vera extract
  • EU INCI Name: Aloe barbadensis Leaf Extract
  • CTFA INCI Name: Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • JCIA INCI Name: Aloe barbadensis Leaf Extract

So the answer to your first question is sort of “all of the above.”

To answer your second question we have to look at what ingredients are added to the “aloe.” If you buy any kind of water containing aloe extract it will also contain some kind of preservative. For example one supplier uses a combination of sodium benzoate, sodium sulphate, potassium sorbate, and ascorbic acid to preserve their aloe barbadensis leaf extract.

References:

http://www.makingcosmetics.com/msds1/msds-aloe-vera-gel.pdf

http://www.essentialingredients.com/msds/Aloe%20Gel%20%20200X%20Powder%20.pdf

Image credit: http://www.public-domain-image.com/plants/flowers/slides/aloe-vera.jpg

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