Saturday, 21 May 2011

Aloe Vera - What a fascinating plant!

It must be over ten years ago that a friend gave me an aloe vera plant. It was a sapling from her aloe vera which was a sapling from her mum's aloe vera which was a sapling from her sister's aloe vera! I didn't know much about aloe vera then. Obviously, I'd noticed it was an ingredient in face creams and body lotions, so knew it must be good for the skin. But that was the extent of my knowledge. My friend showed me how breaking off a piece of leaf revealed the sap and told me that putting the sap on burns helped them to heal quickly. So that's what I started doing whenever I got a small burn while cooking - and found it to be very soothing.

Aloe vera is a succulent plant, native to arid climates and thrives in the Middle East and Africa. Not only does it contain properties to aid in the healing of burns and other skin surface wounds, dry skin, etc. but the sap can also be made into a juice which apparently contains around 200 health promoting compounds, including 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins. I have only recently heard about aloe vera juice and it is something which I am going to look into, with the possibility of making my own - or at least adding a small amount of aloe vera sap to fresh fruit juices and smoothies.

I have a small aloe vera "farm". It varies in size, dependent on how actively I am selling them at any given time. There is definitely a market for them as they sell very easily with very little effort on my part. But I like to keep my more established plants and sell their saplings once they reach a few inches tall. They produce saplings quickly. Once an older plant is repotted and there is space available for the off-shoots to grow, they sprout up into tiny new plants within weeks. They are incredibly easy to keep. I kill plants, but I don't have any problems with aloe veras!

Since reading about how the sap can actually be of benefit to consume and not only for applying to the skin, I have a renewed enthusiasm for it. Every so often, I find out about something and I get the urge to do more research on the subject and this is one of those times. Will keep you posted!...


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