Aloe vera is one of those plants that everyone should have in their garden. It has been used for centuries to heal burns, moisturise the skin and soothe irritations. It is believed that Aristotle told Alexander the Great to use aloe vera to treat wounded soldiers, and Cleopatra also used aloe in her daily skin treatments. I am using the aloe vera gel to make my hand sanitiser. The aloe vera in the hand sanitiser moisturises the hands.
Making Aloe vera gel
Making gel from aloe vera is simple. Since aloe vera gel is perishable, making a manageable batch at a time is best. Cutting just a leaf or two, especially larger ones, should be sufficient to make 1/2 to 1 cup of gel. If it is a small plant, cut one leaf at a time and wait until another starts to grow.
Aloe vera helps to remove harmful pollutants known as VOCs from the air.
What you will need:
- Aloe leaf
- Sharp knife and vegetable peeler
- Sterilised jar
- Optional: 500mg powdered Vitamin C
1. With a sharp knife, cut the thickest outer leaf on the aloe vera plant near the base of the plant. The outer leaves are older and should be the thickest, containing plenty of fresh gel.
2. Wash/wipe away any dirt.
3. Place the leaf upright in a cup to let the dark yellow resin drain out. Drain the resin for 5 minutes or so. The resin can be slightly irritating to the skin. Wipe any residue from the leaf with a cloth.
4. Remove the outer skin, both front and back, with a knife and vegetable peeler. If you have large leaves, cutting them into smaller pieces before peeling may be helpful.
5. Place the ‘see-through’ gel into a bowl. If you have difficulty cutting the green outer skin, use a small spoon to scoop the gel into a bowl.
6. Once you have sufficient aloe, place the pieces into a blender and process until smooth. You will notice that the aloe vera may become a little foamy. After a while, the foam will settle.
If you plan to store the aloe vera gel for over a month, mix the gel with a natural preservative. Blend 500mg of powdered Vitamin C for every 1/4 cup of gel you make.
7. Place the gel in a sterilised glass jar and store it in the fridge for a week or two. The gel will be kept in the refrigerator for several months if you use Vitamin C. Place the peel into the compost bin or place around a tree as mulch
Apply the aloe vera gel to sunburn or minor surface burns or itches. Aloe vera can also be used as a skin moisturiser or an ingredient in homemade body products, such as hand sanitiser.