Monday, December 20, 2010
If you haven't heard of aloe vera, then you're probably looking at this photo thinking ... hmmm, that looks a bit prickly for a gift ... and yes, ok. I'll admit to the slight prickliness. But underneath that lovely green skin is a gel that's so great for you ... and this is a plant that you have to work really hard to kill.
Useful and easy? Yep!
I've had my aloe vera for about 6 years now, and now and then it buds itself off and forms another new plant. I have it contained in a pot, so it can't get too crazy ... but this year I thought I might give some sections to friends. So they can use it too!
How is aloe used?
Well, when you need it, you cut off a leaf and squeeze out the gel inside. The gel is most often used for the skin ... to treat burns or sunburn or scrapes or when you gouge your finger with your daughter's safety scissors (do not ask). My dad uses it on his face everyday, and his skin looks great for it! Robbie has used aloe gel straight from the plant for shaving ... when he'd run out of his everyday shaving gel. I use it on my face, where my skin needs a little extra TLC (like around my eyes).
But ... there are lots of cool ways that aloe can work from inside your body, too. If you're keen to eat it, that is (it smells a little strange). It seems to have an immune-boosting and cell-regenerating effect -which you can read more about here. Personally, I haven't tried consuming aloe vera gel - but I do see aloe juice on sale at the natural foods store. If you're going to eat it, I might recommend checking out the website I just recommended ... but just so you know, it's very rare to have any sort of adverse effects of aloe applied to the skin.
And a note about all this - you're probably going to find that it's better to use the fresh juice or gel rather than buying a product where it's already processed. Which is why this makes such a lovely present!
If you haven't got an aloe plant yet - why don't you buy one and grow it up for Christmas next year? Or buy some baby aloes and give them as gifts?
You might even be able to decorate it ...