Growing up, my parents always had an aloe vera plant on the kitchen windowsill but as far as I am aware, that’s all it was to them, a plant.
Today I want to show you 5 first aid uses for this miracle plant in the hopes that you don’t just see it as a plant, but as something that should be in every home.
While it would not be very practical to carry a plant with you everywhere you go, adding some aloe vera gel to your first aid kit is a smart move and here’s why…
Burns and Sunburns
You can use aloe vera to treat both first and second-degree burns. According to this review of four studies, it was concluded that aloe vera can accelerate the healing process for minor burn wounds approximately nine days faster than conventional medication.
Start off by running cold water over the affected skin and then applying either the clear gel from the leaves of the plant, or a pure aloe vera gel product.
To harvest the clear aloe vera gel from the plant, do the following:
- Cut off a lower leaf near to the center stalk using a sharp knife and remove the spines
- Split the leaves lengthwise and slice into the leave with the tip of the knife.
- Apply the gel directly on the skin, which will absorb it rather quickly.
The same method described above can be used to treat sunburns too.
Prevent Tissue Damage from Frostbite
Frostbite is the result of prolonged exposure to below-freezing temperatures and most often occurs in the extremities (fingers, hands, ears, toes, nose, feet, and cheeks). Aloe can be used to prevent permanent tissue damage. Where possible, it is best to purchase pure aloe vera gel or an aloe vera plant.
Aloe is unique in that it contains powerful levels of vitamin E, which are crucial to skin maintenance and cell rejuvenation.
For treating frostbite, apply pure aloe gel from a bottle or directly from a plant’s stalk directly to the affected area twice daily. Continue treatment until the frostbite is completely healed.
In some cases, the use of aloe vera proved to heal the conditions six times faster than alternative medical interventions.
Aloe vera, thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, can be used to fight against nasty germs. By topically applying aloe vera to your skin, you can therefore minimize the risk of a skin infection.
It won’t however treat an already existing infection, it needs to be applied BEFORE an infection sets in.
The chemicals found in aloe vera can enable it to increase circulation in the skin’s blood vessels, kill bad bacteria and increase wound-healing time.
Using aloe vera straight from the middle of the leaf and onto your affected skin is the most effective form of aloe vera gel.
As far back as 1951, aloe vera has been shown to help improve the symptoms of asthma and is well known for its anti-inflammatory abilities.
The active chemicals found inside of aloe are, among other things, natural steroids but it must be remembered that aloe is not an immediate fix. An individual suffering from an asthma attack will not be able to make it stop using aloe juice.
There are a couple of different ways that an asthma sufferer can benefit from aloe.
- Drinking whole leaf processed aloe vera juice
- Take supplemental pills made using aloe
Aloe Vera may be among the most beneficial foods for diabetics looking to regulate blood sugar levels naturally.
It has been found to reduce blood sugar levels, which can be helpful for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
The hypoglycemic ability of aloe vera can turn out to be equally advantageous for patients of both IDDM (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus).
If you take two doses of aloe vera juice (anywhere between 5 ml and 15 ml) every day, the blood sugar level will go down significantly.
For more information on treating diabetes with aloe vera, see here.
How to Harvest Aloe Gel
Harvesting aloe gel is actually very easy to do. It will be easier to do with a larger leaf but you are fine as long as the leaf is dark green.
- Cut the leaf from the plant and let the aloin drain out by tilting the leaf and letting it drip. The gel will stay in place.
- Once drained, give the outside of the leaf a rinse in the sink.
- If the leaf has any knots in it, cut those part off of the leaf as it does not contain any of the clear aloe that you are after. Trim the pointed edges of the leaf off to make it easier to handle and get to the aloe gel inside.
- You don’t have to cut the leaf in half but it will make the job of harvesting easier for you. Take one section of the leaf and work your knife into one end of it. Run your knife along the skin to separate it from the gel.
- Remove the skin of the leaf and as you do so, you will see how transparent the aloe is. Once you have the clear aloe out you can see how well it keeps it shape once removed from the leaf.
- For easier storage and future preparation of the aloe gel, you can cut it up into cubes.