Barbados Aloes – ESCOP Herbal Monograph 2014

Aloe barbadensis
Published 2014

Price:   €20
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The herbal monograph selects and summarises scientific studies regarding efficacy, dosage and safety to support the therapeutic uses of barbados aloes.

This herbal drug by definition consists of the concentrated and dried juice of the leaves of Aloe barbadensis Miller.

Studies with its main active and characteristic constituents barbaloin, which is a mixture of various aloins and aloe-emodin anthrone-C-glycosides, are included.

The therapeutic indication is, short term use of occasional constipation. Administration of barbados aloes addresses: posology; its duration of use; contra-indications; special warnings; special precautions for use; interactions with other medicinal products; other forms of interaction; in pregnancy and lactation; its effects on ability to drive;  undesirable effects; especially regarding overdose.

Pharmacological studies concern pharmacokinetics of in vitro and in vivo experiments regarding the mechanism of action of barbados aloes, they also show anti-proliferative effects in cancer cell lines and assess absorption and secretion of barbados aloes and of islolated barbaloin, in animals and humans.

Preclinical safety data for barbados aloes were assessed in toxicity studies.

Safety data were assessed in human studies and suggest that this laxative should not be used for periods of more than 2 weeks, without medical advice.

The selection of literature cited in the monograph is aimed at bringing together relevant information about the possible physiological roles of barbados aloes and its major constituents. Examples are given below.


  • Aloe barbadensis Miller.
  • Barbados Aloes
  • Constipation, for occasional short term use


– Alves, D., Pérez-Fons, L., Estepa, A. & Micol, V., 2004. Membrane-related effects underlying the biological activity of the anthraquinones emodin and barbaloin. Biochemical Pharmacology, Issue 68, pp. 546-561.
– Beneke, C., Viljoen, A. & Hamman, J., 2012. In Vitro Drug Absorption Enhancement Effects of Aloe vera and Aloe ferox. Scientia Pharmaceutica, pp. 475-486.
– Bootman, J., Hodson-Walker, G. & Dance, C., 1987. Reinsubstanz 104/5 AA (Barbaloin): Assessment of clastogenic action on bone marrow erythrocytes in the micronucleus test. Eye, LSR, Internal Report, Issue 87/SIR 006, p. 538.
– Chen, W., Lu, Z., Viljoen, A. & Hamman, J., 2009. Intestinal Drug Transport Enhancement by Aloe vera. Planta Med, pp. 587-595.
– Che, Q. et al., 1991. Isolation of a human intestinal bacterium capable of transforming barbaloin to aloe-emodin anthrone. Planta Med, Volume 57, pp. 15-9.
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