Aloe has long been used as a traditional medicine for its numerous beneficial properties, which are mainly ascribed to β-polysaccharides and phenolic compounds including anthraquinones, anthrones and chromones. However, few studies on large animals are currently available. The effect of whole leaf Aloe arborescens homogenate on the in vitro rumen fermentative processes was tested using alfalfa hay and barley meal as substrates. The Aloe homogeneate was added at three different concentrations (0.4, 2.0 and 10.0 g L−1 of fermentation liquid). The same homogenate was dosed (200 g) orally and through the rumen cannula to three rumen cannulated heifers and orally to six lactating dairy cows to measure the rumen degradation of aloin and the transfer of aloin from the gut into the blood, respectively. The Aloe homogenate did not affect in vitro rumen fermentations and feed digestibility. The administration of Aloe homogenate did not negatively affect animal feed intake and health neither on the cannulated heifers nor on the dairy cows. Aloin underwent a rapid degradation in the rumen milieu, and became undetectable 2 h after oral dosage. However, when Aloe homogenate was administered to dairy cows, aloin appeared in blood as early as 2 h after administration, reached a maximum after 4 h (6.2 ± 5.8 μg L−1) and progressively decreased thereafter. These results suggest that Aloe compounds can be absorbed into the blood and encourage the study of Aloe as a potential nutraceutical in ruminants. Further studies should determine the most effective in vivo dosage.
- Aloe arborescens, aloin absorption, aloin assay, cattle, rumen fermentation