Aloe Vera is more than just a house-plant, it's an all-natural healer as well.
For anyone who has had a bad sunburn, you know that the benefits of aloe vera gel help to soothe your painful skin and start the healing process. The sticky substance found under the skin of the green succulent does a lot more than just fix your sun-exposed skin.
Aloe Vera contains eight different vitamins including A, E, and B12. It is also chock-full of calcium, sodium, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper. Containing over 20 amino acids, seven of which are essential for the body, this plant has more to offer than what most of us think.
There are 450 different types of aloe that date back to 2100 BCE originating in Africa. Alexander the Great's soldiers used to use aloe to heal wounds and the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, used aloe as part of her beauty routine. The Greeks later used it to treat wounds as well as hair loss. By the 1930s aloe vera was also used to treat radiation dermatitis.
Since its early uses it has been discovered the juice contains important factors that help to decrease blood lipids and swelling which are common in diabetics.
How to grow it
Aloe vera plants need a full day of sun whether they're being grown indoors or outside in warm climates.
Using only a piece of existing plant you can regrow this succulent by keeping them in the sun and watering them when the soil is completely dried out.
You will want to grow your aloe vera in either the kitchen or backyard so that you can have instant access to all its healing abilities.
When to harvest it
It's best to harvest from a mature plant, preferably planted in he ground. You know the leaf is ready to be harvested when the tip has a rosy tinge to it.
Aloe is a very slow growing plant to avoid harvesting too many leaves at once.
When removing leaves, avoid removing the lower smaller leaves and focus on the larger upper foliage.
Use a knife and cut the leaf as close to the trunk as possible. Unblemished leaves from the plants are the best tasting and contain the most aloe gel.