Leaving for the holidays to hot, sunny destinations? Then the rule of thumb is to always pack some SPF protection. And don’t forget gel made from 100 % aloe vera in case of sunburns.
Why? Aloe vera leaves naturally contain lidocaine. Thanks to this, you will not only have instant relief from burning and itchy sensations. The recovery process of the irritated skin cells will be accelerated too!
The wonders of aloe vera as a topical ointment against minor burns and scars have been known for over 4000 years. In fact, it was mentioned by the Sumerians during the Mesopotamia civilisations.
Aloe vera: known across all continents
Aloe vera, a hardy succulent invasive plant, originates from the Arabian Peninsula. From there, it travelled across the globe.
The plant got naturalised in Europe, the West Indies, Asia, America and Australia. You will also find aloe vera in colder climates, thanks to its popularity as a houseplant.
Aloe vera as a cooking ingredient
It would be a miss not to mention that aloe vera is used in the cosmetic industry. Furthermore, it has its rightful place as an ornamental plant.
But that’s not all: aloe vera is added to cooking as well!
The most popular way to consume aloe vera is probably by adding it to juices, smoothies and puddings. And in India, it is used in curries.
That said, it’s also important to mention that one must be careful with the amounts of aloe vera ingested. Excess usage in cooking can cause some undesired side effects.
When taken in moderation, aloe vera has several health benefits. This includes relieving constipation and inflammation. The easiest way to include aloe vera in your diet is to drink its gel, mixed with other ingredients to make it more palatable.
The perfect preparation of aloe vera gel
- With a sharp knife, harvest aloe vera leaves, cutting close to the stem of the plant.
- Choose the biggest and most developed leaves and leave the rest to mature. If you notice brown liquid (aka aloe vera latex) appearing on the cuts, let it drip and discard it.
- Wash the leaves in water and dry with a towel. Then cut off the spiky bits.
- Remove the top layer of the leaf, cutting it lengthwise. Underneath the hard green skin, there is a layer of translucent jelly. It can be scooped out with a spoon.
- Remove all the jelly and discard the leaves. Clear out all the green bits that might be left in the aloe vera gel. Alternatively, transfer the gel into a blender. Pulse until you get a smooth substance. Then drain the pulp.
Make a refreshing aloe vera drink
Mix your aloe vera gel with fruit juices like mango, orange and pomegranate. Or with lemon and honey to get a delicious and refreshing drink with added nutritional benefits.
For smoothies, too, aloe vera gel is a great ingredient. Next time you make one, try this recipe!
Blend a banana with 70 g / ½ cup of strawberries, 350 ml / 1 ½ cup coconut milk and 50 g / ¼ cup of aloe vera gel. Don’t forget 50 g / ¼ cup of ice for the ultimate cooling effect.