By now you likely know aloe vera is pretty amazing, but did you know the ancient Egyptians used to refer to it as the plant of immortality? We’re here to tell you why!
In fact, aloe was regularly buried with dead pharaohs, as it was considered a bit of a universal panacea – and that fits, given that cultures across the globe have used it as part of their medicine.
In particular, aloe is magic because every part of the plant is beneficial! Even better, you can make your own aloe vera gel.
Here’s a great recipe:
Six aloe leaves from a healthy plant. 4-6″ leaves, for instance, result in a solid 1/4 cup of gel.
A clean sharp knife
A clean cutting board and work surface
A clean glass container, for storage. (Opaque containers will preserve the gel better than clear, and it’s kept best in cool, dark places, like the fridge.)
Food processor or blender
Spoon and spatula
* Optional: rubber gloves to protect your hands from the serrated edges of the leaf.
Wash your hands well, and make sure your materials are also clean.
Pick 4-6 great mature leaves, and cut them – oldest and largest outermost leaves, near the bottom of the plant, work best. (You can also buy aloe leaves at some stores.)
Rinse the leaves and knife under running water, then place the cut leaves in a bowl at a 45 degree angle to allow the leaves to drain their aloe juice.
Carefully break down each drained leaf, removing the serrated edges and skin. You can do this by placing each leaf, concave side down, on a cutting board. Slice around the perimeter to isolate the upper and lower skin layers. You can then run the knife just under the surface of the skin to remove the top layer, and same for the bottom layer, and next thing you know, you’ve got your gel!
Store in a clean jar until you’re ready to process it.
To process it, move the gel to your food processor and mix uniformly. Then add vitamin C powder (1/4 tsp to each cup of gel) to help preserve it. If you’d rather, you can use vitamin E or grapefruit extract in vitam C’s place. Thoroughly mix, then store in the fridge.
Use as needed! Aloe will usually keep for a week or so, though the added preservative can keep it good for up to a month. Hurrah!