Aloe Vera



Latin: Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.

Aloe Vera, Ayia Napa
Aloe Vera, Ayia Napa
English Aloe Vera
Greek: Αλόη


Aloe Vera dates back thousands of years – we’ve seen this plant make an appearance on the tombs of the ancient Pharoahs of Egypt!   Historically, this flowering succulent has been referred to as a member of the (Liliaceae)  lily family.  More recently it has been reclassified as being from the Aloaceae  family.

It is said to originate in the Arabian Peninsula in hot, dry conditions.   These days it is found in gardens, pharmacies and displays all over the world.

Growing Aloe Vera

Due to it’s origins, Aloe Vera stores it’s own water and likes a lot of sun.  Basically, to have a thriving plant, don’t water too much and give it a sunny spot.  Often the biggest mistake you can make is over watering.  It will grow well in pots but you will have to separate out the new plants now and then to avoid crowding.  Transplanting is easy though and Aloe Vera thrives here in Cyprus.

Medicinal Uses of Aloe Vera

This is the part where you expect to see a list of benefits derived from Aloe Vera but the fact of the matter is that very little research has been done and so nothing I can say here would be solid fact.  That said, I adore Aloe Vera and use it regularly to condition skin and hair.  I mix the gel with lemon as a skin whitener to remove brown patches caused by sun damage.  The gel alone is a great relief on sun burns or any type of minor burns or cuts.

I’ve spoken to many people who ingest Aloe Vera gel in water because it aids in digestion.

How to Harvest and Use Aloe Vera

Choose an undamaged leaf and cut it from as close to the base of the plant as you can get.
Note: A leaf is ready  to harvest when it’s tip takes on a slight red hue.
Run it under water to remove any debris.
With a sharp knife, cut off the corragated edges right down the length of the leaf leaning in towards the concave side.
Next use the knife to remove the under (concave) side find the gel underneath.
Use a spoon and carefully scoop out the gel
Remove any yellow or green areas remaining on the gel before using.

Use a hand blender to mix chunks of the Aloe Vera gel with the juice of one lemon

Note: If using Aloe Vera gel internally, make sure you stand the leaf frond on it’s cut edge to let the yellow sap drain from it before starting preparation.
Note also that I do not recommend taking Aloe Vera internally, although I do know people who do this.

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