The Amazing Aloe Vera Plant
By Randi Morse
I will be the first person to tell you that my record with raising plants is, at best, dismal. I have killed a wide variety of plants, from garden plants to house plants. Yes, I even managed to kill a cactus. There is one plant in my house that I work hard to keep alive: aloe vera. I'm not quite sure how I've managed to keep my aloe plant alive when I have 86'd every other plant in my possession, but I'm very glad I have. Aloe plants are not only beautiful to look at, they are extremely handy to have around the house for a wide variety of reasons.
Harvesting the Aloe
When I was growing up, my aunt would simply break off one of the sleeves and squeeze the aloe out of it, usually when I had a burn from touching something hot that I was told not to.
The best way to get the most out of your aloe plant is to first choose three to four leaves to pluck. Keep in mind that you need to wait a couple of weeks between cuttings in order to give the plant time to rejuvenate. If you plan to harvest your aloe regularly, it's a good idea to have a few plants in your house so that you can rotate them.
Once you have removed the leaves, wash and dry them, and make sure you trim off the prickly edges. You can then use your fingers, or a knife, to separate the outside of the leaf from the gel on the inside. That gel is the aloe. Once you have it exposed you can use it right away or you can cut the gel into pieces and put it in an airtight container to store for later use.
Aloe is an amazingly versatile ingredient that can solve several problems, including:
- Burns - Aloe feels amazing to put on burns. It cools and soothes the injured flesh and has been proven to treat burns better than the popular sulfadiazine cream.
- Digestive health - Every day, thousands of people struggle with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Aloe has been found to significantly improve the symptoms that accompany IBS; there is some research that suggests it may help to prevent the growth of the H. pylori bacteria, which is known for causing ulcers.
- Acne - If you're struggling with acne, grab some aloe! Aloe is soothing to the skin and has actually been found to help treat mild acne.
If you're like me and you have a hard time keeping plants alive, focus all your efforts on one plant: aloe vera. There are lots of resources online that will help you learn how to properly care for an aloe plant, and in learning to grow that one plant you may find you have a knack for it!
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in West Melbourne, Fla.