Aloe vera has been used in cosmetics and health product since the ancient times. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and others understood the benefits of this wonderful plant and used it for skin care and healing burns and wounds. The aloe vera gel is used for the same reasons today. You can find it in cosmetic products, sanitizer gels or in its fresh form.
As Alasdair Barcroft and Audun Myskja explain in Aloe Vera: Nature’s Silend Healer, the fresh or properly processed aloe vera gel has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, nutritional, general health-giving and rejuvenating properties, it’s an immunity booster and a potent healing agent. Deanne Tenney (Aloe Vera) gives specific uses like sunburn treatment or even eye protection against the sun.
How to grow aloe vera
If you have aloe vera at home you probably know that it’s a very low-maintenance plant. This succulent doesn’t need or like too much water. Whether you have it outside or inside, give it plenty of sunlight and let the soil dry completely before watering it.
When and how to harvest the leaves
The gel is inside the leaves and the new leaves grow from the center of the plant. We harvest the outside leaves which are the biggest and oldest ones. H. Panda states that the gel which stays inside a leaf that has been cut looses its properties together with the loss of the biological activity of the leaf, starting at 6 hours after it has been cut, 24 hours after the cut all activity has been lost completely and with it any good properties of the gel. So freshly harvested gel retains its properties much better than a gel harvested from a leaf cut some time ago.(H. Panda: Aloe Vera Handbook Cultivation, Research Finding, Products, Formulations, Extraction & Processing)
- at least 1 aloe vera leaf
- sharp knife
- depending on further use also a belnder
How to get the gel from the aloe vera
Cut the leaf and let the yellow bitter liquid come out, you can also squeeze it out a little. Wipe the cut of the leaf.
If the leaf is too long, cut it in smallet parts. Cut of the spiky edges.
Cut the leav vertically in half or – if you manage – cut off just the green skin on the top, I prefer the latter. Then you’re left with the open leaf full of gel. What comes out first is a viscous clear liquid – this is part of the gel so catch it in a bowl.
Inside the leaf is the solid part of the gel that you need to scrape out with a teaspoon.
It’s easy to do, hold one end of the leaf with your hand and scrape with the other in the direction away from you.
Then it’s up to you how you use the gel. If you need it smooth for cosmetics just blend it.
What to do with the aloe vera gel?
For example, you can make the following hand sanitizer gels:
1. Hand sanitizer gel with aloe vera (will be published on 14/04/2020)
2. Caring hand sanitizer gel with aloe vera (will be published on 15/04/2020)