Aloe vera, as you may know, is a miracle product and has MANY uses. The most useful bit is the inside “gel” which can be used on your skin or taken inside (blended into juices or added to smoothies). If you are lucky to live in a country like Spain, where aloe vera grows like weeds, please take full advantage!! In many places its so easily accessible and so easy to use. When I lived in London, I actually grew aloe vera on my tiny balcony, so unless you live in Siberia you really have no excuse now to have an aloe vera plant 🙂
Here are a few uses for aloe vera:
- Cut the leaf in half and rub it on cuts, wounds and burns as a “first aid”
- Great for sunburns
- It helps in cell growth and skin rejuvenation (its also a great moisturiser)
- Its anti-fungal and an antioxidant (apparently helps to combat mouth candidiasis, according to scientists)
- Cures blisters, insect bites, allergic reactions, eczema, inflammations and psoriasis
- It has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps with curing acne
- People keep asking me where vegans get vitamin B12 from, well guess what, aloe vera has vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E!
- It also contains potassium, magnesium, iron, sodium, calcium,copper, zinc, chromium and manganese – drinking aloe vera juice daily could really lift your immune system!
- Drinking it helps reduce blood sugar levels and is used for diabetics
- Helps relieve heart burn and acts as a laxative
- Promotes healthy gums and teeth
- Helps combat common illnesses, such as colds
- And lots more!!
For topical use, you can just cut the leaf in half, sideways, and rub it on your skin. However, why waste it, why not get the gel out to put into your smoothie AND use the sides to rub on your skin?
This is how to go about getting the gel. It may seem a little tricky at first, but you get the hang of it quite fast, I promise!
Step 1: Cut the sides and the tip of the aloe vera (the cut tip should be the width of your finger, more or less, its too much hassle to fiddle with otherwise).
Step 2: Using a mandoline or a knife, cut off the “inside” layer. Dont worry if it doesn’t work perfectly right away, it takes time and practise to get it right.
Tip: When you cut off the first two centimetres, hold on to the already cut bit of skin, not the gel underneath to slide the mandoline further, this somehow grips better (I found it to be a BIG difference).
Step 3: This step can be a little tricky, you can use a mandoline, a vegetable peeler or a knife to cut this bit. Some people use a spoon to scrape off the gel, but I prefer not to as it gets messy and leaves a lot of the good stuff behind. Personally I use a mandoline to cut the middle, then a sharp knife to do the sides.
Tip: DON’T throw these peels away, whilst you’re at it, give your face and hands some loving with a fresh aloe vera mask!
Step 4: You will now get a lovely bit of clean aloe vera gel. You can use it as it is straight in your smoothies (maybe an inch long or so) or you can blend it.
Step 5: If you choose to blend it, you really only need a blender. You don’t even need to add water (unless you wish to).
You can use this to add to smoothies or simply into your water with some lemon (great for detoxing!)
Step 6: ENJOY and be healthy!
The juice (or clean gel) will keep in the fridge for over a week. If you want to drink it straight up but don’t like the taste, you can add some lemon and/or honey to it.
This is especially useful when you have the flu!!