domingo, 1 de setembro de 2013



Yes – my blogs tend to be about my journey and art.  As part of my life journey, I am studying and practicing how food and herbs can be used to maintain good health.  This post is about harvesting aloe gel from your own plant and using it!  The image you see here is my aloe plant.  I bought it a few years ago – it was a rescue from the grocery store.  I saw this pathetic little plant  - must of been only three inches tall and nearly dead sitting in the grocery store shelves plant section.  So of course due to it’s state the store had it marked WAY down.  So I purchased it.  Today it is a MOMMMA!  In this photo – the large part of the plant is the original plant grown up and the small leaves just behind it is the baby.  I have used a leaf here and there for sunburns but thought I’d research harvesting and using more of the plant.  Here is what I found……
Aloe is said to have the powers of luck and protection. It is believed that an aloe plant in the home is known to guard against evil influences and prevent household accidents. It also brings good luck.  Aloe has been associated with a certain somewhat mysterious symbolism associated with its extraordinary powers to heal.  The plant has a very distinctive symbolic association with enduring life.  It has been noted that the Aloe plant has amazing ability to heal itself or “come back from the dead”, which is seen symbolically to be associated with its ability to heal humans and, virtually, therefore, to “bring them back from the dead”.
The plant is about 96% water. The leaves contain a clear gel that has a powerful ability to heal. It can be harvested from each leaf on the plant, preferably the leaves that have grown significantly in size and used as a moisturizer for the skin and hair.  The gel is the most important parts of the plant for home medicinal use. Below you will find how to harvest aloe and use it for skin and hair health.
Picking The Correct Leaf - The juiciest aloe-vera leaves are located on the outside bottom of the plant, are dark green in color and wide.
Cutting the Leaf -  Most people use aloe simply by cutting off a piece of leaf and squeezing the liquid onto their skin. This works, but it wastes the inner gel, which is the most potent part of the plant. Cut off only one or two leaves at a time, allowing the rest of the plant to continue growing (unless you are removing the entire plant and packaging the gel in containers) Place the cut leaf upright in a container in a slightly tilted position to drain out sap; this takes about 10-to-12 minutes, and the sap should be discarded.
Harvesting the Gel If you cut one leaf and use the gel topically for cuts or sunburn,  one blade of aloe can be used for weeks. The severed end of the blade is self healing. But if you are harvesting more Aloe it should be processed within a couple of hours of harvest so as to prevent oxidation.
To harvest all the gel, you’ll need to “fillet” the leaves rather than merely squeezing them. The filleting process reaps much more aloe gel than simply squeezing it.
Once you have cut the leaf and let the sap drain, you can cut about half an inch on both sides, until the gel is visible, cutting the sides completely from top to bottom.  This removes the sharp points on the leaves.
The next step is to fillet top, the same way you would a piece of fish, by holding the knife parallel to the leaf. Cut the top portion of skin off first, which will expose the translucent gel.  Using a spoon, scoop out as much gel as you can, but without scraping the leaf with force.
It is preferred that aloe-vera gel is used fresh, which is why cutting off a small number of leaves at a time is the best choice. But, properly cut and stored gel can last up to a year in the refrigerator.
Storing Aloe Vera Gel - Place your removed gel into food-safe containers with a lid, preferably brown or dark green glass to block out excess light. Store it in the refrigerator.   To make it last longer and to prevent discoloration (your juice will eventually turn brown), add a drop of vitamin E and a drop of grapefruit seed extract.  For every ½ cup of pulp. Spoon it into the blender.  Add 1000 mg vitamin C crushed into a powder. Then add 800 IU Vitamin E -  Use the tip of a paring knife to poke a small hole in the gelcap. Squeeze the oil from the capsule into the blender. The vitamin C and vitamin E serve to enhance the health benefits of the aloe vera. The vitamins will also provide some natural preservative properties. Blend the ingredients very well. Some small bits of solid-looking pulp may remain and are harmless. However, you can strain the aloe vera gel through some cheesecloth, if you wish. Don’t forget to store your aloe juice in the refrigerator even after adding these vitamins!
USING ALOE GEL  - Even a small amount of aloe juice can go a long way!
Hair Conditioner
Instead of your regular conditioner, whip up this moisturizing, aloe-based gel. Use 1/4 cup aloe gel, and combine with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) for fragrance and extra moisture. Apply after shampooing, leaving it on for three to five minutes.
Overnight Hair Treatment
For superb hydration, leave aloe in your hair overnight. You can mix the gel with cold-pressed oils such as olive or avocado for extra conditioning. Wet your hair with the mixture, put your hair in a shower cap, and drift off to sleep. In the morning, rinse well (if you used pure juice) or shampoo and condition (if you added oils).
Aloe Hair Conditioner
Squeeze the juice from half of a fresh lemon into a bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup of aloe gel.  Additionally you can add three to five drops of your favorite essential oils to the mix. for your own personal fragrant touch. After shampooing and rinsing, apply the aloe conditioner to your hair, focusing on the ends and the scalp the most. Allow the conditioner to sit on your hair for three to five minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
Hair Loss
The benefits of aloe vera are still being researched, but it contains two substances called “macrophages” and “superoxide dismutases”–both of which have been considered as possible hair growth stimulators. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe are wonderful for inflamed follicles, and the plant is so soothing that there’s no harm trying it out. Apply aloe vera juice or gel directly to the scalp and massage it in. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight, and keep an eye out for new hair growth.
Aloe vera works to prevent or cure dandruff. Apply the juice or gel directly to your scalp, and rub it in well. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil for extra potency. Leave it on for 20-plus minutes before showering. Repeat this several times a week for two weeks, or until the problem goes away.
Irritated Scalp
The gentle, soothing feeling of fresh aloe vera juice is wonderful for itchy, irritated or sunburned scalps. Break a leaf and squeeze it directly onto hair. Rub it gently into the scalp and leave in. Reapply whenever the irritation resurfaces.
Skin Moisturizer
Apply aloe gel to the face making sure to smear plenty of aloe on any wrinkles, scars or blemishes and allow to penetrate for thirty minutes. This will give ample time for the aloe to go to work on hydrating and nourishing your skin and putting back into your skin what the harsh elements have taken away. Rinse your face with cool water gently but thoroughly until all traces of aloe vera gel are removed. Pat dry with a clean paper towel. Your skin should feel firm and your pores should look closed. Repeat least once a week to rejuvenate your skin as well as plump wrinkles, fade scars, age spots and blemishes.
    • For oily acne-prone skin - Nourish oily skin without adding too much moisture. Apply it before bed and even in the morning if you choose.
    • For dry skin  – Aloe gel can also double as a primer and control if you wear it under makeup. It also works well for dry, flaky skin, as aloe Vera is a humectant that seals moisture into the skin.
Skin Irritation and Sunburn
Aloe is effective for soothing sensitive skin. Whether the skin on your face is suffering from a rash or irritation after shaving, aloe  gel will heal the skin and has a cooling sensation. Aloe gel helps the skin turn over by regenerating new cells. That promotes healing and reduces pigmentation caused by skin irritation.  Aloe gel is a home remedy for sunburns. It’s a common ingredient in commercial products to treat sunburns.
Life is not merely being alive, but being well.” 
- Martial, 66 AD, Epigrams
Common names: ~Lily of the Desert~ ~Plant of Immortality~ ~Medicine Plant~ ~Burn Plant~ ~First-aid plant~ ~Miracle Plant~ ~Single Bible~ and ~Quinine Leaf~ ~Barbados~ ~Aloe Barbados~ ~Curacao Aloe~
Sanskrit Name: ~ Kumari~
Chinese Name : ~Lu hui~
History of Aloe: website

As a food supplement, aloe is said to help digestion, aid in blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as kidney, liver and gall bladder functions.  I advise against using your own harvested fresh aloe juice internally unless prescribed by a naturopathic physician. It’s difficult to remove all of the sap, and this can have negative health consequences, particularly for pregnant women, seniors and young children. Aloe can be useful internally for specific ailments, but I recommend that you consult with a naturopathic physician before undertaking this treatment.  If you’ve consulted with a naturopath and want to use your own harvested juice internally, process only the clear gel fillet. Rinse it in a mild vinegar solution (vinegar mixed with water) to remove more of the sap’s residue. Eat or drink the amount prescribed as soon as possible for maximum benefit. You may want to flavor it with something tart, salty or sweet (such as fruit juice). Save excess gel by freezing it.

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