Aloe vera plants are very handy little critters to have around the home, especially if you’re trying to cut down on the amount of chemicals and toxins you are exposed to and live more naturally.
In Great Britain, aloe vera plants are going to be found inside your home rather than out in your garden (unless you have a hothouse) as they are desert plants and, as you have probably noticed, England isn’t one. Aloe vera plants like a nice, sunny position and well-drained soil, but they hate frost. They don’t need an awful lot of feeding and shouldn’t be over-watered. They can be treated like any other indoor cactus or succulent… which is what they are. Aloe vera plants also have the agreeable habit of spawning lots of little aloe vera plants, and if you have plenty of pots, some good potting mix and a vigorous mother plant, you could probably come up with a few little aloe vera plants for sale.
Unless you want to keep the little baby aloe vera plants. Keeping them is a good idea, because once you have discovered the uses of aloe vera, you will be using it all the time. How do you use aloe vera? In general, what you use is the gel. Getting the gel is easy. Simply snap off one of the big outside leaves or part of the leaves (OK, if you want to be scientific and technical, what you’ll be snapping off is the stems; the actual leaves are the little spiky bits along the edges). Inside the leaf (we’ll call it that for convenience), you’ll find a clear, clumpy pulp. Squish this pulp up with a fingernail or a teaspoon and it will turn to a clear gel. This is what you will use.
What do you use aloe vera for? Occasionally, you will find bottles and drinks at your local health food shop that contain aloe vera and recommend it as a digestive aid and detoxifying agent. You can use it like this, but it tastes horribly bitter and it has a laxative effect (in fact, aloe vera was a popular laxative or purge used in the Middle Ages). You have been warned.
Aloe vera gel is best used externally, as it is excellent for the skin. For everyday use, it can be used as a light moisturiser, and it can also make a great hair gel. You won’t be able to spike a punk hairdo with aloe vera gel, but you will be able to set curls, control a few flyaway hairs and give a short hairdo a bit of lift. Aloe vera gel can also be used as a sunscreen. It isn’t SPF 30 or anything like that, but it does give a little bit of protection against excess sun exposure. Aloe vera can also be used on the skin to help heal burns of various kinds, including sunburn. After you have done the usual first aid treatment for a burn (running it under cold water for 10 minutes), then apply a thin coating of aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is also considered to be a good remedy for rashes, dry skin, bruises, fungal infections and other general skin ailments. While it may not be an absolute cure-all, it certainly won’t hurt and it will do some good for most conditions. Some writers suggest that it should not be used on open cuts and wounds, as it may slow the healing process – but it is fine to use on scrapes and chapped skin.
Nick Vassilev founded Anyclean, his London based domestic cleaning company, back in 1998. Nick is an expert on cleaning and loves to help people with his cleaning tips, articles and knowledge. If you would like to know more about his cleaning company, please visit http://www.anyclean.co.uk.