Of all the natural products made from aloe vera, there is no one as confusing as aloe vera juice.
Most people do not know what exactly aloe vera juice is and how it is different from other aloe vera products such as a gel.
Most aloe vera plants have either no or very short stem.
It is the leaf of aloe plant which is used to make aloe vera products.
Before I go ahead and talk about how juice is produced it is important to understand the structure of an aloe vera leaf.
Aloe vera Leaf structure
The leaf has four layers:
- Rind: This is the outer protective layer of the leaf. You tough this layer when you touch an aloe leaf. Do not underestimate this layer, this is where the synthesis of all healthy nutrients found in aloe vera is synthesized!
- Sap: Nature has given aloe vera amazing protection from animals. Sap layer is a bitter layer and because of this animals do not prefer eating aloes. Thus it provides chemical based protection to the aloe plant
- Mucilage: This is basically think and gluey substance. Mucilage is produced by almost all plants. Its primary function is to help store water and food. Its thickness may vary, for example, aloe vera has far more mucilage than other plants.
- Gel: This is the key layer which is filled gelatinous gel with great nutrition and health benefits. This is the largest section of the leaf.
Having understood what aloe vera leaf structure is, it would be easier to appreciate how is juice is prepared.
Aloe vera leaves can be processed in two different ways to produce aloe vera juice.
What is aloe vera juice?
Aloe vera juice can be produced in two key ways. In first complete aloe vera leaf is used while in the second only inner part of aloe leaf is used.
Aloe vera leaf juice (whole leaf)
In this process, complete aloe vera leaf is taken. The next step is to grind them up using maceration.
In the maceration, the softening and breaking is done using a liquid.
All aloe parts except the rind are soft. Enzymes are used to break down the rind and anything which are solid.
This slurry is then filtered. The filtration process not only removes the solid parts but also any other unwanted ones such as the bitter sap. What is left is aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera juice using the inner part of the leaf
This is a slightly different process where the outer layer – the rind is mechanically or manually removed followed by removal of aloe latex (bitter tasting sap). What remains of aloe leaf is then processed to make aloe vera juice.
Which aloe vera juice is best?
There is no simple answer to this question.
There are so many kinds of aloe vera juice available.
They are categorized based on the type of aloe vera used (organic or not organic), percentage of aloe (80%, 9% and so on), kind of processing (whole leaf or inner leaf) and so on.
What one needs to take care of is to buy a product from a brand which is certified. In the case of the USA, such certification is provided by USFDA and also by special Aloe agency – International Aloe Science Council (IASC).
In the end..
As you can see aloe vera juice is not the same as the “gel” which comes out of the leaf.
It is processed and based on what process one undertakes it may also contain nutrients and chemicals from outer layers of aloe vera leaf.
So next time when you think of aloe vera juice do not get confused with aloe vera gel!