Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's a hot cuppa kind of day!

Spent the early afternoon with hubby attending a lecture put on by the Master Gardeners. The subject was cacti, agaves and succulents, and since I have a garden in my front yard comprised of these very things, I really wanted to hear it. It got me to thinking about the benefits of aloe vera. I've never used mine except as something lovely to grow in my garden, I thought I'd see what I could find. Did find this little tidbit:

Use aloe vera gel to treat the areas of the scalp that are going bald. Aloe vera contains an enzyme that helps promote new hair growth for some people. The gel can be applied directly to the scalp, as aloe vera typically has no side effects. Make an aloe vera shampoo. When combined with wheat germ oil and coconut milk, aloe vera gel makes a shampoo to promote hair growth. Use the shampoo as often as you wash your hair.

Huh. Who'da thunk it?

But how to actually go about it?

How To Cut A Leaf

Remove the leaf from the plant with a sharp knife.
Trim the thorny edges from the severed leaf, then slice the leaf across its width. The inner transparent, gooey gel is ready to be applied directly to the afflicted area. Use generously, it will be absorbed by the skin within several minutes.
After the gel from the first layer of ruptured cells has run dry, scratch the surface with a clean knife to rupture more cells, releasing more juice. This can be continued until there is nothing but green skin left.

How Long Will A Leaf Last

Wrap partially used leaves in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate, it will last for days.

Consuming The Plant Directly

The colorless pulp is tasteless, but first rinse off the bitter yellow sap. Peel the green skin from the pulp, then rinse off the sap with cool water.

How To Treat A Wound With Aloe

Clean wound thoroughly
Apply Aloe Vera pulp in the wound
Wrap tightly with a bandage
Keep bandage soaked in Aloe Vera juice
The wound should quickly heal with little or no scarring, bandages will remove easily. There is also a much reduced risk of infection when using Aloe.

For minor scar removal, keep applying Aloe Vera juice morning and night (daily). This may take several months to see great results (six months or so).

For painful scrapes and abrasions, gently slide a split leaf over the area and reapply several times during the next 24 hours.

Burns & Sunburns

Good for soothing and healing burns and sunburns, simply apply juice from an aloe leaf directly to burned area. See also Sunburn Relief Home Remedies. Especially handy in the home for kitchen burns!

Home Remedy For Digestive Problems

Three times daily take 1 to 2 TBS of aloe juice/gel. This will act like a general tonic and mild regulator of the bowels.

Sap Extraction For Bowel Regulation

The sap is a yellow bitter fluid that flows between the skin and the pulp of the Aloe and acts as a laxative.

Place green peelings of an aloe leaf in a jar of water and refrigerate. The more leaves in the jar, the stronger the tonic will be.
Take a few sips once or twice a week to help regulate your bowels. Top up the jar with fresh aloe leaves as needed.

Scalp & Hair Treatments

Aloe juice can add lustre, richness and manageability to hair as well as heal some scalp abrasions and diseases:

Before bedtime wet hair thoroughly with aloe vera juice and allow to dry. Rinse thoroughly in the morning (may suds up a bit).

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Allergies

Use Aloe Vera as a pain inhibitor and reduce itchiness, also enhances healing of rashes and sores:

For relief apply aloe vera juice directly to area that is irritated.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Apply Aloe Vera juice directly to skin while pregnant, after birth keep applying to encourage healing.

Insect Bites, Jellyfish Stings, Etc.

Bees, mosquitoes, ants, wasps, yellow jackets, scorpions, centipedes and other insects

As soon as the bite or sting occurs, split open a leaf and apply it directly to the bite area.

Arthritis Treatments

Dice up Aloe Vera leaves and place pieces in a jar of water, refrigerate. Drink 4 Tablespoons per day and top up water in the jar as consumed. The drink can be bitter but it does go away over time. Some may find relief right away, many don’t find relief until a couple months later. Make a fresh jar of leaves as needed.
For aching joints and muscles, rub Aloe Vera on the skin, relief should be felt within a few minutes and can be repeated as necessary.

Age Skin Spots

Apply Aloe Vera juice to the spots twice a day, spots will be reduced or completely removed after several months of treatment.

Acne Treatments

Give your skin a good cleansing morning and night. Apply juice directly from the leaf. Can also apply to pimples and other sores.
For removing old acne scars, apply a little Aloe Vera juice morning and night until the scars are gone. This can take several months. If skin is dry, apply with a moisturizing cream.


Boil Aloe Vera leaves in a pan of water and breathe in the vapor.

How To Tell If You’re Allergic To Aloe Vera

Before applying any first aid treatments, find out if you have an allergy to it first. If you’re allergic to aloe vera, you may experience the results opposite to what you were hoping for. Here’s how you can quickly find out if you’re allergic to aloe vera:

Apply a small amount of aloe vera juice on the inside of your arm or behind your ears. If a rash appears or you experience a stinging sensation within a few minutes, do not use aloe vera for first aid.

Did You Know:

After removing an aloe leaf to treat a burn or cut, you can refrigerate it and it will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.
Aloe Vera is an astringent and may cause skin to dry. You can apply baby oil or other lubricant along with the aloe to help prevent dryness.
What leaf is best to use in first aid treatments? The lowest leaves (closest to the ground) should be used first. These leaves are older and larger so they have more juice and greater potency.

Caution For Diabetics:

Drinking Aloe Vera juice might enable the pancreas to produce more of its own insulin. Before taking aloe vera internally, diabetics should have their physician monitor their need for extra insulin since too much is dangerous.

So now I'll have to try some of these and see what happens.

As for food today, not too bad.
Veggie burger without the bread (not because I have an Adkins fetish, but because it was white and not whole wheat - why eat cardboard if I don't have to?), lettuce and tomato. 1/2 c. potato salad.
Got hungry while we were out, so picked up some Palak Paneer.
Supper was tacos - cilanto lime rice, black beans, avocado slices, tomato slices. Our version of Chipotle.
Apple for a snack.

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
zest from one lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
green onions, chopped

Add the oil, garlic, rice, lime juice and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes.
When the rice is done, add lime zest, chopped cilantro and chopped green onions and stir to mix in. Serve immediately.

It was raining when we got home, so didn't get to go for a walk, but did get in three short yoga sessions and my crunches. Because I couldn't go for a regular walk, I did try to use NEAT in my favor, by keeping active in everything I did, not just sitting still for any extended periods of time.

Now I am going to go savor a nice hot cuppa and do some cross stitch.

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