Just about everyone I know has an aloe plant in their house. Most keep it in the kitchen, as it’s incredibly handy to have close in case of burns or scrapes, but mine is three feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds, so I have it in a massive pot in my living room. Truth be told, this wonderful plant ally is perfect to have in any room in the house, as it helps to purify the air and won’t poison pets or small children who might gnaw on its stalks.
Aloe has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and with good cause! It has many benefits when used both internally and externally, and it’s rare for anyone to be allergic to it. It’s also incredibly easy to cultivate, as it almost thrives on neglect, and will grow and reproduce merrily on its own as long as it gets a fair amount of light and water.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve burned myself in the kitchen, whether it was by brushing up against a wire rack while taking something out of the oven, being spattered by cooking oil, or just being careless and touching a pan without realising it was still hot. Aloe has been a massive plant ally each and every time, and I make sure to thank it whenever I turn to it for help.
Cut aloe stalks into half-inch slices, freeze them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and then pop the hardened slices into a bag or plastic container to keep in the freezer. If you burn yourself, just take out one of the slices and rub it on the affected area. The cold will help to alleviate any pain, while aloe’s properties will soothe the burn and speed healing. (The combination of cold + aloe gel can also prevent blisters from forming, depending on the burn’s severity.)
Note: These slices also work well for sunburns, windburns, and chapped lips.
Overall Oral Health
From reducing gum inflammation and swelling to treating gingivitis, aloe has countless benefits when used as a toothpaste and/or mouthwash. Since aloe has natural antibacterial properties, it can help fend off tooth decay and various types of gum disease, and its soothing properties can alleviate pain and sensitivity from cold sores, cankers, and soreness from denture use.
IBS and Other Intestinal Upset
For many people, a bit of fresh aloe vera juice may calm the gut inflammation caused by IBS, Crohn’s, and Celiac Disease. I have the latter, and I can speak from firsthand experience that when accidentally “glutened”, small amounts of aloe juice have helped with the cramping and overall discomfort that ensued.
Just be careful taking this, as it has laxative effects. When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider about contraindications and such.
Sore, Tired Eyes
If you find that your eyes are tired and achy after long days spent staring at a computer screen, keep a snipped-off aloe branch in the fridge. You can squeeze out a little of the gel and dab it on your eyelids before bed.
You can also use the gel as a very safe, gentle eye makeup remover. It won’t work very well on waterproof mascara, but for regular eyeshadow and eyeliner, it helps to wipe everything away and leaves your skin moisturised and refreshed.
Gel fresh from the aloe plant soothes the burning, awful itchiness associated with yeast infections. Apparently its antifungal properties also work wonders for inhibiting the growth of Candida, so it might be able to eliminate a yeast infection without needing to resort to store-bought creams or tablets.
The fresh gel can be spread around externally to alleviate inflammation, and suppositories can be created to treat the infection internally. You can mix 1 oz of fresh aloe vera gel with about 8 oz of organic coconut oil. Blend well to make sure it’s a homogenous mixture, then spoon that mixture into an ice cube tray. (Aim for a tray that has small ice cubes, as those are a lot easier/more comfortable to insert.) Once frozen, pop one suppository inside just before bed, and wear a pad. Symptoms should improve significantly within a couple of days.