Aloe Vera: The Healing Plant
Aloe vera is a very useful plant. It is most often used as a healing agent but has other applications as well. Instead of using over-the-counter products that contain aloe vera extract, learn to grow it yourself.
Aloe vera is just one variety of aloe plant. Most of them are native to Africa but can be grown just about anywhere where the weather is warm. They have thick succulent green leaves and can sprout flowers on each leaf.
In the summer, aloe plants do well outdoors in the bright sun. Most aloe vera plants are kept in pots for easy transport when the weather gets cold. If you live in an area that is warm year round, you can try planting them outdoors.
You can buy aloe vera plants almost anywhere. They are mostly filled with water so it is best to keep them warm. Inside, you can grow them on your windowsill in full view of the sun. In the summer, keep the soil loosely packed so that it drains well to remove any excess water that the plant doesn’t need. Adding sand to the potting soil will help with this.
In the winter months, your aloe may not use as much water as in the summer. Let the soil dry before watering again. You can grow other aloe plants from the offshoots of the first plant. In the spring, fertilize your aloe plants to help them grow bigger.
Uses of Aloe Vera
The most common use for it is to heal and soothe a burn. Simply cut off a portion of a succulent leaf and squeeze out the gel onto a cleaned wound. The gel will feel cool to the touch and is absorbed quickly. Besides relieving pain and blistering, aloe plants are also good for relieving itchy skin due to poison ivy, oak and sumac. The older your plant is, the more effective the gel will be when it comes to healing.
A leaf is not completely used up until you have gotten all of the gel out of it. After removing the skin you will receive the first dose of gel. You can use a knife to scratch the inner surface again and release more gel. Partially used leaves can be wrapped up in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for several days.
Other uses for aloe vera include:
* Digestive health
* Hair beauty treatments
* Insect bites
You can eat the aloe vera pulp when you remove the outer green leaf covering. The gel can also be ingested as a tonic made from the leaves.
Aloe vera has many healing properties. It’s like growing your own first aid kit. Before using the plant though, be sure that you are not allergic to it. Check with your doctor before using it for any application other than topical.