Aloe Vera is super easy to grow and once established will provide you with an ongoing living medicine cabinet of uses for a lifetime.
This article will discuss some of the many uses for Aloe Vera and it’s healing properties.
A word of caution
Aloe Vera has a distinct smell and a lovely yellow layer of latex within the leaf. When you first cut your leaf from the plant, the yellow ooze will seep out from the leaf. Discard this as you don’t want to consume or use this topically.
Any further cuts along the leaf will contain the clear inner gel which is completely safe to consume. The rule with aloe vera is “If it’s clear, you’re in the clear”. Anything yellow or green is to be avoided.
Growing Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is super easy to grow and even if you’re living in an apartment you should have no troubles growing a plant or two near a window or on your balcony. Everyone else will almost certainly have a spot in the garden where aloe vera will thrive.
As long as you’ve got a frost free spot, your aloe vera will love you! I have 2 in pots that I can move around the garden when needed so in Winter I can shelter them from the coldest of frosts we get here.
Aloe Vera is a succulent and as such has pups that will grow off the side of the plant. You can gently move the soil away from the base of the plant to expose where the pup is joined to the mother plant. Pull the pup away from the plant as closely to the base as you can to try and maintain some of the root system. Don’t just break the pup off at the top of the soil as you may not have as much success.
If your plant is in a pot, it’s often easiest to remove the whole plant from the pot, divide off the pups and then repot. This is a great time to fix any drainage issues and freshen up the soil while you’re at it.
Aloe Vera does okay in the hottest of weather but it may get sunburnt leaves in the scorching heat. Something to keep in mind when choosing your garden position. It will tolerate harsh heat but won’t thrive the way it will in a partly shady position.
If you’re in an apartment, then a nice sunny window position or on the balcony is perfect. Your aloe vera won’t thrive if it’s kept in the dark, the lighter and brighter the position the better.
Light watering is best and allow the soil to dry right out before the next water. Even though aloe vera are full of water they don’t like to have wet feet, don’t let them get soggy. Your aloe vera will almost thrive on neglect!
Alright, so now we’ve grown our aloe vera, what can we use it for? Here is a list of uses for your new aloe vera plant.
17 (Practical) Ways To Use Aloe Vera
- Face Cleanser – Give this DIY recipe a try!
- After Shave
- Hair Conditioner
- Hair Gel
- Gut Health Booster
- Upset Tummy – Scrape the gel from the leaf and add to water or smoothies make a drink (ensure you only use the clear tissue, any green or orange can make you very sick. Check out this article on ayurvedic preparation for ingestion.
- Assists the body to heal burns – Cooling, soothing and moisturising.
- Apply to ingrown toenails to treat pain and infection.
- Apply to pus filled or dirty wounds. It kind of sucks the pus out and leaves the wound clean, and helps repair. One has to take fresh aloe, peal it on one side, and apply the pealed side on to the wound.
- Soft, sagging skin from weightloss may be firmed up with regular applications of aloe vera.
- Promotion of healing and cell growth.
- Hydration! You can both eat and drink it. Aloe vera’s water content is between 99 and 99.5%!
- Great antioxidant and provider of vitamin C
- Make a face mask! Mix 50/50 honey and aloe vera and apply for a soothing, healing, hydrating and rejuvenating facial.
- An excellent toothpaste substitute! Aloe vera was found to be just as effective at cleaning teeth and killing oral bacteria as 2 commercial brands of toothpaste in a 2009 study.
- It’s a great egg replacement as aloe vera has long-chain polysaccharides similar to eggs. Just use 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel per egg you need to substitute.
- Natural lubricant! Aloe vera is a perfectly safe and natural lubricant and a lot of commercial lubricants have aloe vera gel as the main ingredient. Being water based they’re safe to use with latex condoms without fear of the lubricant affecting their integrity.