Herbal Guide to Aloe Vera

Growing up I’ve known aloe vera to help with cuts and most other people are aware of aloe vera for their skin care regiment. The plant can grow up to 1 to 2 feet tall with no stems but a thick fleshy leaves that contain a bitter juice and sacks full of gel that was out of the leaves when they are cut. A common mistake made with this plant is you need to wait at least three years before you are able to collect the juice and gel.

The plant is originally from east and south Africa and even though this plant can be grown outside, temperatures cannot be below 41° but most people keep these as houseplants. And to be honest until writing this article I didn’t even know you could grow them outside.

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PARTS OF THE PLANT USED:

  • Fresh Leaves

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ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:

  • Glycosides
  • Anthraquinones
  • Resins
  • Saponins
  • Salicylic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Minerals

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AVAILABLE FOR USE AS:

  • Juice
  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Gel
  • Lotions

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ACTIONS:

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Digestive Tonic
  • Purgative
  • Emollient
  • Wound Healer
  • Boosts Immunity

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HAS BEEN KNOWN TO HELP WITH:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Shingles

Apply gel to damaged skin 2 to 3 times a day to ease pain, help heal open areas and improve skin regeneration and elasticity.

  • Burns
  • Cuts

Apply aloe gel 2 to 3 times a day to clean and disinfect areas, reduce inflammation, and help heal damaged skin. (If you buy it at a store make sure its real aloe gel and not the synthetic stuff that’s mostly alcohol. Most stores now carry large aloe leaves so you can also make it yourself).

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CULINARY USE:

  • None

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SAFETY INFORMATION:

  • Skin application of the gel is safe for everyone.
  • Always consult your doctor if you are on medication or plan to use for medical purposes.
  • Should not be taken internally during pregnancy because it can stimulate menstrual flow.
  • Is very toxic to cats (so if you have cats like mine who like to chew, I’d recommend not keeping this plant in your house.

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GROWING AND HARVESTING

  • Prefers moist, well-drained soil in the sun.
  • Can be grown indoors
  • Grow from offsets taken from around the base or sow seeds in the spring indoors.
  • You can harvest the lower leaves at any time.
  • Cut leaves diagonally across its base. Let stand in a jar for 10 minutes to drain sap and store separately.
  • With the rest slice open the leaf and scrap out the gel. Use immediately or store in the fridge or freezer to use later. (Keep in mind it will only last for a month before the plants molecular structure starts to break down).

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Did you Know?

Oriental, Persian, Greek and Roman Physicians all used aloe vera by using the whole leaf to treat ailments such as tonsillitis and insomnia.

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Sources:

Book: Herbs by Jennie Harding (ISBN-13: 978-0-7858-3568-4

Book: Essential Guide to Herbs by Lesley Bremness (ISBN 978-1-78678-282-3

Information pulled October 19, 2021

Image by Elstef from Pixabay

Image by Franziska Ingold from Pixabay

Image by Дмитрий Дмитрий from Pixabay

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