One of the few plants I've been able to successfully grow is Aloe. The plants in the picture above are mine. (I know, they're overcrowded, but I haven't figured out a way to re-pot them.) Fortunately for me, Aloe is a very hardy plant that is able to survive in all kinds of adverse conditions. If you've ever used Aloe, you know why I say 'fortunately'.
My first introduction to Aloe was back in the 1980s. I had second degree steam burns on my fingers, and a friend harvested an aloe leaf, scooped out the gel, and brought it to me. I slathered the gel on my fingers -- aaahhh, what relief! For the next three days, I continued to thickly coat the burns with the aloe gel then cover them with gauze bandages (until I could leave it off without pain). In less than a week, those burns were completely healed. This anecdote best demonstrates several of Aloe's therapeutic properties. Aloe gel is very skin healing. It can moisturize dry skin, help heal burns, cuts, and scrapes. Its emollience can help soothe conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It's cooling, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties can reduce swelling and take the pain out of hot conditions like hemorrhoids while its antimicrobial benefits may help prevent infection in open sores and minor burns. Aloe contains saponins - it can be used as soap to cleanse the skin!
I'll admit, I haven't used Aloe internally - no desire to try it yet. However, I do know several people who buy Aloe Juice at the store. It can help with calming the stomach, moistening dry mucous membranes, and ulcers. It may get rid of worms or internal parasites and protect against certain types of tumors. And it's known to support the immune system with its content of Vitamins A, B 12, C, and E and well as several minerals. Because of its laxative properties, ingestion should be short term only.
When harvesting your own Aloe gel (without using a preservative), store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days -- it'll start to spoil after that. Alternately, you can make and store Aloe ice cubes that will last for months. Infusing Aloe leaves in fixed oil is another option for longer-term storage and use.
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.