Aloe Vera Gel is a proven cure for pimples and a lot of skin problems, and Most people are aware of the benefits of aloe vera gel on sunburns. It is splendid for soothing pain and reducing inflammation caused by minor burns, but in addition to that, it has a broad application of uses.
Several other over-the-counter first aid products can easily be replaced with homemade, natural versions. Aloe vera is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and has antioxidant properties that aid in healing.
I use aloe vera gel in some of my beauty care recipes. It is very hydrating to the skin but does not give an oily feel, so it is suitable for most skin types. These qualities also make it great for the hair and scalp, particularly if you struggle with dry, dandruff, and itchy scalp.
Many people also take aloe vera privately to aid in digestion and to help relieve stomach ulcers. Aloe vera gel holds various vitamins and minerals that help replenish the body. These solutions should be practiced under the advice of your health care provider.
Where Can You Get It
Aloe vera is a beautiful houseplant. Not only will it help filter the air in your home, but you will always have it on hand for all of its great uses. A small aloe vera plant shouldn’t be too hard to find at a nursery.
The aloe plant is similar to a cactus in care requirements. It requires well-draining, sandy soil and does not tolerate frost, but will do very well indoors. Water it thoroughly but then allow the soil to dry about 2 inches down before watering again. (Be sure to check the care instructions for your particular plant.)
As I mentioned, I was able to get cut aloe vera leaves locally in the produce section at a grocery store, but they are probably going to be more readily available at organic stores or markets that cater to healthful living. You could also try a smaller grocery store that specializes in Indian food if you have one in your area.
How To Harvest The Gel from Aloe Vera
Aloe vera leaves are long and slightly curved with serrated edges. The gel is the thick fleshy part that is between the skin of the leaf.
- sharp knife
- aloe vera leaf
- clean sealed container for storing
- blender or immersion blender
- clean bowl (if you are using an immersion blender)
- Cut the stalk into sections about 8″ long. This makes it a little more manageable.
- Cut off the serrated edge. Try to get just the side because it is challenging to get the gel out of those pieces.
- Cut the 8″ lengths into 2 or 3 long strips.
- Turn the leaf to its side, and slide it under the skin on the end of one of the strips.
- Carefully slide the knife along the bottom edge of the skin down the whole length of the leaf. Try to stay close to the surface so you get as much gel as you can.
- Once you get the whole piece of skin off, flip the section over, and repeat with the other side.
- Cut the flesh into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a clean bowl (if you are using an immersion blender) or your blender pitcher.
- Repeat steps 4-7 until all sections have been skinned and gathered into your blender pitcher.
- Blend until smooth. It will immediately froth when you start your blender. This is normal. If you are using an immersion blender, blend it in the bowl until smooth.
- The foam will eventually go down. You can wait, or you can go ahead and pour the gel into the clean storage container and refrigerate.
- It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
Preserving The Gel
Fresh aloe vera gel will only be good for about a week in the refrigerator. This may not be a problem if you are using a smaller leaf from your houseplant, but if you buy a large sheet, you will likely end up with more gel than you can use in a week. There are other ways you can preserve it so that none of it goes to waste.
After you store the aloe vera gel, you will use it in the coming week, pour the extra gel into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Then transfer the aloe cubes into a freezer-safe container or bag. Pull out an aloe cube as needed for burns or to use it in one of the above recipes. This is a great way to keep it on hand if having your plant is not an option.
Alternately, before you blend the flesh, cut it into cubes and lay it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once the pieces are solid, transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. Pull a bit out as needed.
Add Natural Preservatives
When I get one of the large leaves, I usually end up with about 1.5 cups. I place 1 cup into a clean pint mason jar. The leftover gel gets frozen, as I instructed earlier. I waited for the foam to go down before I did this, so I knew exactly how much I had.
To the 1 cup, I add1600 IU (1 tablespoon or 4 400 IU capsules) of Vitamin E, and 2000 mg of Vitamin C. Powdered Vitamin C works well, or you can crumple the proper amount of tablets. Stir well until the vitamins are well incorporated. I stirred for a bit and then let it sit. When I came back to remix it, Vitamin C was much easier to stir in.
You could also blend this with your immersion blender. This should increase the life of your gel to about eight months if it is stored in the refrigerator.