At present the chief therapeutic interest of aloes is focussed on the leaf parenchyma gel and various tests for quality control have been developed (Chapter 8). Although the active ingredients of the gel are not completely defined, assays of the polysaccharide components are already being suggested (Chapters 6, 8). The phenolics in the leaf exudate have received less attention in recent years, although at one time bitter aloes was an acknowledged medicine and is still found in current pharmacopoeias. Other leaf phenolics currently being investigated may well be shown to have biological activities of great value, very different from the original purgation. Bitter aloes have a long history and the purgative agent, which is also the bitter principle, is well known and the analytical techniques are well established.
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