PLANTING AND CARING FOR YOUR ALOE VERA PLANT
Aloe vera plants are resilient and easy to look after, so have some fun
and let the kids join in too!
When planting your baby aloe you may use any type of soil you like with up to an additional 50 percent sand or perlite, to allow for good drainage and to avoid water logging.
Select a wide pot with drainage holes then fill the with dampened soil. Plant your baby aloe vera in to the soil, stem deep up to the first set of green leaves.
Place a cocktail stick or wooden skewer into the soil at the back of your plant as this will help you gauge when the soil is truly dry.
Place your baby aloe in a partially shaded area for up to 2 weeks until it has adjusted to its new environment.
Move your plant to a bright sunny area but not directly in full sun as it will turn the leaves an unattractive brown colour (westerly windows are ideal).
Water only when the wooden skewer indicates that the soil is dry.
If you want to use your aloe as a decorative plant and your container does not have holes at the bottom then place stones at the bottom of your container to allow for good drainage. Add soil on top of the stones and plant the baby aloe as instructed above.
Your decorative plant can adorn your room as well as being a constant first aid kit.
GET YOUR GREEN ON!
HOW TO MAKE AN ALOE VERA COMPRESS
A compress is used when you need to apply aloe gel to a large area or a joint to reduce swelling or inflammation. This allows the gel to be in contact with the area without drying out before having the desired effect. An aloe gel compress can be used to reduce inflammation in joints, sun burns on the skin, soothe irritations and reduce swelling in muscles.
Lay a strip of cling film on top of a cutting board and tuck the edges under to keep it from slipping.
Place a length of damp gauze on it, folded twice for thickness on top of the cling film leaving a 1 1/2 inch of cling film overlap.
Blend the aloe gel with a little water until it forms into a smooth runny paste. if you wish you may add some young aloe leaves to produce a more potent blend, but if you suffer from allergies or sensitive skin then only use the pure gel.
Pour the aloe gel on to the gauze and spread evenly. You can now apply your compress to the affected area leaving for 20 to 30 minutes before removing.
If you are applying to a joint such as the ankle or knee, overlap the cling film to keep the compress in place. Alternatively if applying to a flat area such as thee abdomen or back - wrap a band of material over the cling film around the area and secure in place. When treating long term problem this can be done up 3 times a week followed by 15 minutes massage.
Tips on storing and using aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is best used fresh but this is not always convenient with the busy lives that we lead. If it is not possible then it can be kept in the fridge or the freezer for storage. Natural aloe vera gel has a very short shelf life it can be kept in the fridge for up to about a week, but starts to lose its potency after about 5 days. For longer storage it can be kept in the freezer in a bag or glass jars or for small portions frozen in ice cubes.
Aloe pulp; a combination of whole aloe vera leaves baby and medium-sized blended to a puree. This can be stored in the freezer until needed for use. For people who do not have sensitive skin. Always do a patch test before using to see suitability.
Baby leaves cut into small size cubes for storage in the freezer.
Pure aloe vera gel can be used on the skin, face and delicate areas, for facial masks, under the arm as a deodorant or in juices and smoothies to aid digestion.
Aloe vera gel and baby leaves, can be used with other ingredients as a face mask or eye pads for dark circles and puffy eyes or by itself as a compress for larger areas.
Pure aloe vera gel has few side effects and is usually soothing and gentle however, it is still important to perform a patch test before use to make ensure you are not one of those who may react to it. If you have sensitive skin please avoid the aloe vera, as skin as it contains an irritant which increases in strength as the leaf becomes older and larger.
Beautifying Face Masks
Aloe vera contains enzymes that remove dead skin cells this boosts circulation and allows the skin to breathe. The gel can penetrate the epidermis but for this to happen the gel must be in contact with the skin in liquid form for 10 to 20 minutes. Applying aloe vera gel directly from the leaf will tone and moisturise your skin but to have the far reaching biological effects of nourishing the skin, deep hydration, antibacterial and exfoliating properties applying a mask is ideal.
These masks are easy to make with the addition of one or two
natural ingredients to aid and compliment
the properties of the gel.
HYDRATING ALOE FACE MASK
1 tbsp aloe vera gel
1 tbsp of natural yogurt
1 tbsp fine cornmeal
Mix all the ingredient together until you get a smooth paste. Apply to your face in circular motions, as if using a scrub, then leave on your face for 10 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.
ALOE EYE MASK
1 tbsp aloe vera gel
1 inch cucumber
Mix all ingredients together until you get a creamy paste. Soak cotton disc in the mixture squeeze out excess liquid and place over your closed eyes and relax for
15 minutes. Remove and rinse of with cold water.
DEEP CLEANSING ALOE MASK
2 tbsp aloe vera gel
1 tbsp of honey
2 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
Mix all ingredients together until you get a creamy paste. Apply to a strip of gauze and put on your face, leave for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with cold water.
ALOE HAIR MASK
2-3 tbsp aloe gel
2 tbsp of yogurt
1 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and apply mixture on your scalp and hair. Massage your for 5-10 minute then wrap in cling film and keep on hair and scalp for an extra 10 minutes.
Aloe Grapefruit Crush
1 blood orange grapefruit
1 inch of grated ginger
1-2 tbs aloe gel
1 baby aloe leaf
Juice the oranges, grapefruit and lime, then mix thoroughly with aloe gel and ginger.
Cut the baby aloe vera leaf into slices and add this to the juice.
A wonderfully fresh energy boost to your day.
Start your morning with this aloe infused
Aloe Mango Smoothie
1 passion fruit
1 inch of grated ginger
1-2 tbs pure aloe gel
5 tbs natural yogurt
8 tbs pineapple juice
Peel the mango and pineapple and chop into cubes, grate the ginger,
Blend all ingredients with the exception of the passion fruit which should be added at the end of blending.
Pour into a glass and enjoy.