Evaluation of Aloe and Cactus for Burn Treatment by Comparison of Antioxidant Properties and Free Radical Inhibition
- Kenneth Ralph Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Chemistry, CSU Dominguez Hills
- Barbara Belmont , Lecturer of Chemistry, CSU Dominguez Hills
There has been a great interest in natural compounds, which can help with problems faced in the medical field. Many plants are used by indigenous populations for the treatment of skin disorders, including Aloe Vera and other succulents. These plants are known to havehigh antioxidant content. Antioxidants play a major role in various aspects of health from the reduction of wrinkles all the way to the treatment of burn victims. The goal of this research has been to characterize the antioxidant powers of fresh and lyophilized Aloe Vera and Nopal Cactus in comparison to over-the-counter burn treatments. The compounds of interest were extracted with acidified methanol using a Soxhlet apparatus. The functional groups of the extracts were identified by using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Ultraviolet-Visible Spectroscopy. Once the compounds were identified, Total Phenolic Content and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical assays were performed. These assays were used to quantify the amount of phenolic compounds present as well as the free radical scavenging ability of the extracted compounds -- all results being compared to the results of the burn cream. The intention of this ongoing research is to better understand the chemistry involved in topical antioxidants. The extracted compounds of Aloe and Nopal both show free radical scavenging activity as well as the presence of phenolic content.