Everybody knows ALOE VERA is great for cuts and sunburns, even bug bites. It’s been called the “First Aid” plant. Aloe vera’s soothing gel inside the thick, succulent leaves is an incredible natural skin care “product.” But what about the rest of the body: are there benefits for your insides too? Actually there are some very powerful benefits from the aloe vera plant. No one plant offers all the health benefits of the aloe vera plant.
• Aloe vera is an antioxidant and cancer fighter, especially
• Reduces and stops inflammation, both internally and externally
• Oxygenates blood and energizes cells, hydrates skin and repairs skin tissue
• Aloe vera heals internal digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, acid reflux – cleanses the intestinal tract
• Reduces risk factor for strokes and heart attacks by making “sticky” blood “unsticky,” and boosts the oxidation of your blood, plus circulation
• Alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits
• Boosts cardiovascular performance and physical endurance
• Stabilizes blood pressure and reduces triglycerides
The Harvesting Process
When ready to harvest the gel from an aloe leaf, choose an outer leaf that is healthy and grows toward the bottom of the plant. To remove the leaf, cut it at an angle close to the plant’s base. Plants that are too immature to harvest will not have leaves growing close to the ground.
Once you cut the leaf from the plant, place it upright in a container in a slightly tilted position. Let the leaf stay in that position for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, allowing the sap to drain from the leaf.
Place the aloe leaf on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Carefully cut off the tip of the leaf and the pointed rough edges on both sides using a very sharp knife. Make certain to cut both sides of the leaf all the way from top to bottom.
Separate the front and back of the leaf by slicing it lengthwise
from the inside.
Scoop out both the slimy mucilage gel and the clear inner gel which appears more as a solid gel. For most leaves, a spoon works for scooping out the gel. If the leaf is very large, a butter knife may work best. When removing the gel, it is important to press down lightly but firmly, being careful not to remove any remaining sap.
Storing the Aloe Vera Gel
Store the aloe gel in the refrigerator in a plastic container that is safe for food storage or a glass container. The best container choice is a dark green or brown glass jar, which helps to keep out light. Many people add a drop of vitamin E and a small amount of citric acid powder to prevent discoloration and make the aloe vera gel last longer. In place of citric acid powder, simply crush a vitamin C tablet into powder or use a drop of grapefruit seed extract.