The How to use fresh Aloe Vera leaf

We have already talked about characteristics, virtues and history of this magnificent plant. Now we will get to the point on how to take care and use it in its fresh and pure state, just as it comes out of the earth…or in a pot.

In Fuerteventura, thanks to its climate and soil, we have the best quality of desirable aloe. It is not for case also the largest crops in Europe.

Aloe-vera_maceta

It is a plant perfectly adapted to this desertic environment, it requires minimal watering, the volcanic soil is rich in minerals and is impermeable, so that the water stays superficial where the rudes. And the picón around it, makes a layer similar to hydroculture, where the humidity of the night condense towards the roots and not evaporate during the day. For those who don’t know, picón are all those shattered black and rough volcanic rocks that cover Fuerteventura and, even more, Lanzarote.

If you have a new plant, you can keep its bulb in a glass of water until some fresh new roothes come; it can take 2 days like 2 weeks, and then just put it in a pot with normal soil or, better, cactus soil. It must drane well, the bulb rots quite easily. From its first flowering it will be ready to be used, with its active principles well developed. You will need between 2/3 and 15/20 years, depending on where and on the hours of sunshine; as we have been told, about 12 or 15 years in an apartment in northern Europe, as example.

Being Liliaceae, bulb plant, it reproduces through the roots giving life to numerous small buds, all closed around the mother plant. Up to take advantage of all the energy for the maturation of the mother plant, it is advisable to remove the children. There is no hurry to transplant them, since these would survive without problems for years in a corner of the garden with roots in the air just taking advantage of nighttime humidity.

To use it, remove the outermost leave, which will be the oldest and richest, helping, perhaps, with a small cut at the base. Even if it will be possibly the most concentration, it is not necessary that the plant is in time of flowering, when you use it. For those who like such extra detail, also the Moon can have influences on the harvest of course: the dusk in full moon or full would be perfect.

aloina
aloin

Well, we already have the leaf in hand. Now we cut it along its base and leave it one day upright, in water or in dry, so that it expels Aloin.

In some texts it is defined as the “latex” of aloe. It is a very bright yellow liquid substance; It is present in all the Aloes being a defense that, together with the thorns, keeps the animals that try to eat the plant away: in fact, it is very bitter (from Latin, Greek and Arabic “aloe” “alós” “alloeh” = bitter ,) and laxative. It rests under the skin of the leaf to fill the mouth to whoever bites it. Nor is it mixed with the clear and transparent beneficial pulp, the “gel”; In fact they have two different specific weights, like water and oil. This makes possible to cut a piece and easily slice away the “dirty, coloured” sides, up to clean the clear, transparent gel and use it immediately in case of emergency.

Aloin is not poisonous but aggressive: on the skin it is superfluous, stains and can cause reactions on sensitive skin; Ingested, it is very laxative and irritating to the colon and stomach until it can cause, in the long term, ulcers. It is dangerous at all in pregnant women, being able to cause contractions and the takeoff of the placenta.

The secreted Aloin oxidizes and turns quickly to dark red colour, (be careful because its stains on the clothes are difficult to remove, useful are Marseille soap or Fairy). It is the only substance contained in the gel of the leaf that is not familiar with our body. Also the healing gel itself oxidizes quickly, so better use it soon. We suggest to cut the small piece you need and leave the rest of the leave in a fresh, dry and dark place. The cut will cicatrize and the leaf will conserv a few weeks. There are anyway every day good reasons to use a bit of it, it would be a pity to forget it there and let get old.

Keep in mind that the Acemannan, the healing gelatinous substance, is also what is going to close the fresh cut of the leaf, so when using it day by day, bit by bit, the remaining amount in it will be decreasing.

“Apart from our body, where we produce it until puberty, this compound of polysaccharides is found only in this plant, it is the same that makes the wounds of children quickly and cleanly heal, responsible for the elasticity and the smoothness of the young skin. “

External use

The piece cutted and opened in two half will be very refreshing and pleasant on the skin. It is not gluey as it seems, due to an enzyme, Lignin, whose role is to transport all the active ingredients to work in depth, until the last layers of the skin. That makes it disappear in to the pores, absorbed. A piece of few cm will be enough to refresh the whole body, you will notice it when you grab a bit with your finger in the gel: it takes out endless juice.

For not containing fat, used in the long term tends to dry the skin. On the other hand, if it had oils, it could not be used on burns and wounds to heal them, which would eliminate its best virtue. The oils can be added, few drops on the gel directly, or you can alternate the use of aloe with nutrient creams.

It is not advisable to apply it just before exposing oneself to the sun, since beeing a fresh plants, it attracts it.

Internal use

The same piece of leaf is ready to be ingested, without the green skin of course.

If you can not with the bitter taste and the slug texture, it is possible to liquefy it and mix it with something sweet like juice, yogurt, honey, or water. Citric juices and hot drinks or meals are not advisable since they would brake some of the vitamins. Prepare it and take it at the moment, is the best. If you just slick down the piece, drink after some water and that is it!

The idea of adding a little brandy or rum to a fresh aloe preparation to preserve it, as in some recipes, is peculiar, since alcohol tends to nullify vitamins. (More precisely, I refer to a famous recipe created by a Franciscan friar in the last century, with which the man treated cases of cancer with great success.) For those who are interested, there is a lot of literature on the Internet about this. He used anyway another variety of Aloe Vera, the arborescensis, orange flower)

Flor de Aloe Vera barbadensis Miller
Flower of Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller

A couple of flowers can give a salad a pleasant sweet taste.

 

Golden tip !: Drink a glass of water every time you eat or drink aloe!