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Biological Study and Phytochemical Screening of Several Aloe Species Cultivated in Egypt
Aloe, has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of digestive system diseases, skin troubles, wounds and burns. Recently it was proved to have antitumor activity. About 19 species were cultivated in Egypt whereas Aloe arborescens Mill., Aloe ciliaris Haw., Aloe eru Berger and Aloe grandidentata Salm-Dyck were found to be most abundant. They were subjected to biological and phytochemical investigations. The biological study includes toxicological (LD50) and pharmacological investigation for ethanolic extracts. Acute anti- inflammatory activity was done using paw edema method in rats with standard indomethacine. Chronic anti-hyperglycemic activity was carried out using standard metformine. Antitumor activity was investigated using available human cell lines, U251 (brain), MCF7 (breast), H460 (lung), HELA (cervix), HCT116 (colon) and HEPG2 (liver). Antimicrobial activity was investigated against Gram +ve, Gram -ve bacteria and fungi. Phytochemical screening was performed according to the usual published methods. The ethanolic extracts of A. ciliaris and A. grandidentata were found to produce significant dose-dependant anti-inflammatory effects equivalent to 85.7% and 92%, respectively comparing to the standard. While A. grandidentata showed potent anti-hyperglycemic effect equivalent to 95% and 87% after 4 weeks and 8 weeks respectively comparing to the standard. A. ciliaris showed significant antitumor effect on brain and liver cell lines. The ethanolic extracts of A. arborescens, A. ciliaris and A. grandidentata possessed significant antimicrobial and antifungal activity against the tested microorganisms. Phytochemical screening for biologically active extracts indicated that carbohydrates and/or glycosides, sterols and/or triterpines, combined and free anthraquinones are the main constituents present.