Aloe emodin - Phytoconstituent

A novel phyto chemical found in Asphodelaceae and Polynaceae families, Aloe emodin looks to be apromising candidatefor use as an anticancer drug. It is present in the leaves of Aloe vera plant, bark of Frangula cascara, leaves of Senna and rhizome of Rhubarb. It is a potential new lead to anti tumor drugs. This wonder phyto constituent which is called Aloe emodin, is a hydroxyanthraquinone found mainly in the latex of the aloe leaves.


Some of its properties are listed below:

·         It has strong stimulant and laxative properties.

·         It also shows anti viral effect against the herpes simplex virus.

·         An extensive research to establish its cytotoxicity against the tumor cells has been done and this wonder phyto chemical is emerging as a potential anti cancer agent.


Type of studies conducted:

Number of in-vitro (laboratory) and in-vivo (mice) studies in multiples; have been conducted to find out the efficacy of this agent against malignant tumors. Aloe emodin was selected from a long list of non toxic natural compounds as it showed selective killing of neuroectodermal cells, apotopic cell death and tumor cell - specific drug uptake process.

In-vitro studies:

The in-vitro studies include variouslaboratory techniques such as plate assay in which the tumor cells were injected with various concentrations of Aloe emodin and incubated to confirm the effective levels.  Advanced instrumental methods such as Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting Analysis, TwoPhoton Excitation Microscopyand TransmissionElectron Microscopy were used in the study.


In-vivo studies:

In-vivo studies show that the growth of the human neuroectodermal tumor is inhibited in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency without appreciable toxic effects on the animal.

Various drug forms such as capsules, tablets, dried extracts, tinctures, etc. have been tested.

Mechanism of working:

Promising results emerging out of the studies indicate its selective anti tumor activity against the neuroectodermal tumors while being low toxic to normal host tissue. This unprecedented cytotoxicity of selective targetingand its energy dependent drug incorporation makes it an ideal anti cancer agent. It inhibits only the human neuroectodermal tumor cells with little toxic effect on the normal tissue.

Chemical Name:

The chemical name of Aloe-emodin is 1, 8-Dihydroxy-3-(hydroxymethyl)-9, 10-anthracenedione.

Clinical Data:

The route of administration is oral.

Bright prospects for mankind:

The unique cellular pharmacokinetics, proven in in- vitro and in-vivo anti tumor activity and selective cyto toxicity make Aloe emodin conceptually a new lead anti cancer agent. It can be used to develop non toxic drugs. A systematic testing for its potential from the lab data to show its chemical and physical properties, instrumental analysis to determine its efficacy , in-vivo testing to prove its safety and finally the clinical data to prove its efficacy will systematically help to bring this wonder phyto constituent in the form of an anti cancer drug. Its novelty lies in its ability to have minimum side effects on the patients which otherwise are innumerable in number with a majority of the existing anti cancer drugs.

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