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How I use herbs - Aloe Vera

I want to write about Aloe Vera next in my herb series because its the one herb that I have potted up and taken to my unit in the city in case I need it during the week.

Aloe on the garden
Aloe Vera syn. A. barbadensis is a member of the Liliaceae family and originated from Northern Africa. In my garden I grow an aloe that I thought was aloe vera, but having read the descriptions in Isabell Shipard's book I think I actually have Aloe perryi, which has similar properties.  The aloe perryi has orange flowers, whereas aloe vera has yellow, and I know mine is a bright orange, so that confirms it.  Whether you grow aloe vera or aloe perryi, the growing conditions and applications are the same, so I'll just refer to them both as "aloe".

How does Aloe Vera grow?
Aloe is a succulent that multiplies by forming small plants called a "pup" at the base of the adult plants. It is easily propagated by digging up a pup and replanting it, that's how I started one in a pot to take with me. Aloe vera prefers shade and moist conditions. At first I assumed that it was a desert plant and I put it in a sunny corner, but it is doing much better now that I’ve added a hessian sack for shade. Occasionally it puts up a bright orange flower.

What’s Aloe Vera good for?
The aloe leaf consists of two parts, the yellow sap and the clear gel in the centre.  The sap is astrigent and bitter, so it can be used a laxative.  The gel is calming and cooling and has strong healing properties.

Some people eat or juice the aloe gel or the sap, but I haven’t used it for this purpose. I find aloe vera gel particularly effective for skin conditions, it is very calming on burns, insect bites and eczema. I even used it to remove a wart on my finger when I was at school, I just kept putting aloe vera on the wart and covering it with a plaster for weeks and eventually the wart disappeared.  It is the aloectin B compound in the gel that stimulates the immune system to accelerate healing.

Aloe vera is also useful for making a brew for the garden. I have been trying to expand my aloe vera patch so that I have excess to use for brewing.  There's more information here, I haven't tried it yet to be able to report the results.

Have you used aloe (vera or perryi) on your skin? to eat? in the garden?  elsewhere?

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Comments

  1. Absolutely and recommend the gel for burns. No scarring at all. Its a wonderful healer and i plaster it on sunburn.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I cut a piece of leaf to rub the gel onto grazes, small cuts and burns, especially on the grandchildren. I rarely need to use a plaster as the gel forms a sort of fine film over the wound.
    I keep a plant in the bathroom and one in the kitchen as it is not warm enough to grow the plant successfully outside.
    Gill

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  3. My aloe vera grows like mad and I once started getting some of the gel and adding it to drinks - it is pretty flavourless. Havnt done that for a while. It is excellent for burns.

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  4. I've used aloe vera on burns, particularly sunburn. But I have never thought to use it on my son's eczema. I've got to try that. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  5. I've never eaten it, but I have used it on burns before. My grandma always had several aloe vera plants and would give me some for any kind of burn or sunburn. It is a great plant to have around!

    PS - Thanks so much for the comment on my blog today. I appreciate it :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Liz, how fantastic you can grow it outside! I have to grow in pots so I can move indoors during winter. Love it for burns or other skin conditions, also fever blisters! I have gotten the juice and can report it has a laxative effect. Just in case anybody wants to know!

    ReplyDelete

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