When my kids were growing up, I often had an aloe vera plant decorating a table or a window sill. This easy-to-grow succulent is best known to relieve sunburn. It’s cooling effect and healing properties relieve sunburn pain and minimize skin from peeling.
I love that it adds to my home decor and is a great way to help heal, hydrate and soothe skin irritations. Aloe vera gel can also be used for bug bites and wound care. Clip a lower leaf from the plant with scissors. Slice the leaf open and apply the hydrating gel to your burn, rash, bug bite or small wound. This gel is deeply hydrating, so I save any extra gel and apply it to my face before bed.
Some of the many different varieties of aloe vera are edible, however, it is not recommended to consume the gel from your household plant. I buy the larger aloe leaves at an international market or health food store and consume this powerful medicinal food. The cooling healing effects experienced on the skin also apply to the inside of the body according to this article. Based on my personal experience I believe this to be true, and is why I eat fresh aloe vera gel regularly. The leaves are inexpensive at around $1.50 each so I choose to purchase fresh leaves over a processed aloe juice or gel. Cut off about a 2” piece of the leaf and filet the gel out of the outer skin. Do not consume the outer green skin. I keep the skins in the refrigerator and use it on my face, feet, hand, and hair at night. Aloe gel applied to your hair will leave it amazingly soft. You don’t need to rinse it out. As the gel ages it will turn pink in color. Discard any gel that is turning pink, and don’t consume it.
The aloe vera gel can be added to your smoothie or blended with water, honey and citrus fruits in the blender. Here are two of my favorite ways to consume aloe vera gel:
2 Oranges, juiced
1 cup coconut water
¼ aloe leaf gel about 2 tablespoons
Blend in blender
Juice of 1 lemon
16 ounces spring water
Honey to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons aloe gel
Blend in blender
For convenience, I recently started extracting the gel from the entire leaf and storing it in spring water with a bit of maple syrup in the refrigerator. Aloe gel can be a little bitter and the maple syrup water helps with the bitterness. Only cut up as much as you can consume within a week.
Aloe vera is an inexpensive hidden jewel that has powerful healing properties. Anthony William in his book “Life Changing Foods” includes aloe vera as one of the top 50 most powerful healing foods. Aloe vera is anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. His article on aloe water states that aloe is also a natural antibiotic and reduces inflammation. Whether I’m trying a new recipe with store-bought aloe or using the houseplant on my skin, the healing properties of aloe have added so much to my life.