Aloe vera plants are part of the succulent family. They are easy to grow, even for those who tend to kill plants. While they don’t like cold temperatures, they grow well in pots and can happily live indoors during the winter. The gel that is found in the leaves of the aloe vera plant is full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. The aloe vera plant is often used topically for hair and skin, but can also be eaten. Some of the benefits include:
- Relief from sunburns. Everyone knows that aloe vera’s cooling properties are instrumental in fighting the effects of a sunburn. Using aloe vera helps burns to heal more quickly.
- Relief from insect bites. Aloe vera’s healing properties can help eliminate the pain and itchiness from some insect bites.
- Improves dental health. A study showed that aloe vera juice was as effective as mouthwash for reducing dental plaque.
- Relief from canker sores. Fresh aloe vera, when applied to mouth ulcers, not only reduced the pain, but also helped heal the sores more quickly.
- Aloe vera is a moisturizer. Since the plant’s gel is largely water, it makes sense that the plant would be great for skin. While research has not definitively stated that aloe helps prevent wrinkles, skin treated with aloe vera does show improvement in elasticity.
- It can help relieve dandruff. Massaging aloe vera gel into the scalp has shown to reduce dandruff, and even helps with hair growth.
- Improved digestion. Aloe vera juice can help reduce heartburn and improve protein absorption in the digestive tract. While the juice can be slightly bitter, it can be added to other juices, smoothies, or recipes so the benefits can still be enjoyed.
Aloe vera’s benefits continue to be studied, but the research continues to show how amazing this plant is. The benefits of aloe vera are substantial, making it a useful plant, as much as it is simply interesting to look at.
Make your own aloe vera gel!
- Aloe vera leaves
- Vitamin C (optional)
- Vitamin E (optional)
Cut the aloe vera leaves into manageable pieces. Trim the serrated edges. Carefully use a knife to remove the skin on one side of the leaf. Then, using a spoon, scrape the gel into a bowl. Put the gel in a blender (or use an emersion blender). The gel should become frothy, without any chunks. You can stop right here, and the gel will last for about week in the refrigerator, or you can freeze in ice-cube trays to use as needed. However, the addition of Vitamin C and Vitamin E will help improve the shelf-life of the aloe vera gel, and of course, give you the added benefits that come with vitamins C and E. 2000 mg of Vitamin C and one tablespoon of vitamin E for every cup of aloe vera gel are good additions. Mix with the blender and the gel should last up to six months in the refrigerator.
Make your own hand sanitizer!
- ¼ cup of aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp of rubbing alcohol
- Ten drops of cinnamon essential oil
- Ten drops of tea tree essential oil
- Distilled water
Cut the aloe vera leaves into manageable pieces. Trim the serrated edges. Carefully use a knife to remove the skin on one side of the leaf. Then, using a spoon, scrape the gel into a blender. Add the rubbing alcohol, cinnamon essential oil, and tea tree oil. Blend well and add distilled water until it reaches the consistency you want.