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Acemannan (Aloe Vera Extract)

written by Marina Zacharias

The gel of the aloe vera plant has been known to have healing powers for centuries. Practically everybody is aware of aloe vera gel for treating burns, skin inflammation etc. In higher concentrations, (60 to 90 %) aloe vera extracts can eliminate dozens of harmful bacteria.

We now know that one of alo vera’s active ingredients is the complex carbohydrate called "acemannan". This ingredient has been shown to be an effective treatment for several forms of viruses and it also enhances the capabilities of the immune system.

Acemannan’s exact mode of action isn’t yet fully understood. Research shows, however, that it activates several types of white blood cells within the immune system. It plays a role to increase amounts of tumor necrosis factor, gamma interferon and interleukin 1, all of which increase the body’s ability to destroy viruses, bacteria and tumor cells.

Its potent effects have been demonstrated in studies for treatment of feline leukemia. This disease is attributed to a retrovirus (FeLV) and is usually considered lethal. Statistics show that 40 % of infected cats die within four weeks of exhibiting clinical symptoms of the disease and 70% within eight weeks. Several studies have shown that acemannan can dramatically change the course of this disease.

In one trial 49 cats were divided into one of three groups and given acemannan for a 12 week period. The three groups received the acemannan intravenously, orally or by injection.

Thirteen cats died during the 12 week period. Remarkably, 36 of the 49 were alive five to 19 months following the start of the study.

Another study suggests that acemannan could be an excellent adjunctive treatment for cancer. Forty three cats and dogs with spontaneous tumors were administered acemannan by injection. In 26 of the animals the tumors showed distinct positive changes. Twelve of these animals had obvious shrinkage, encapsulation and liquefaction or actual death of the tumor.

Acemannan is considered a drug and currently is approved in this country for veterinary use only. The USDA has granted the manufacturer a license to market the injectable drug for the treatment of feline leukemia in cats and fibrosarcomas in cats and dogs. It is considered safe and generally without side effects.

Acemannan extracts may be relatively expensive, but they provide another natural method of dealing with serious viral, fungal and bacterial problems. Don’t forget that the widely available aloe vera gel also contains acemannan in amounts high enough to be therapeutic (providing of course that you do your homework on the quality of the product purchased).