Aloe vera is a perennial evergreen plant that grows well in tropical and subtropical regions like Latin America, South Africa, and the Caribbean.
Aloe vera gel is found in the center of each succulent leaf and has been used for thousands of years to heal skin infections, wound, burns, and other topical skin infections.
It contains 99% water and 1% glycoproteins, polysaccharides, tannins, sterols, lipids, amino acids, enzymes and vitamins C, E, B12 and A, magnesium, zinc, calcium, essential fatty acids, and protein.
Aloe vera latex is yellow in color and found below the plant’s skin. It contains anthraquinone glycosides that are said to have laxative properties.
Aloe vera juice is extracted from the aloe vera plant. It must not be confused with the naturally occurring aloe vera gel that is used as a topical application for skin ailments.
Aloe vera juice is said to help in treating diabetes, constipation, high cholesterol, inflammation, heartburn etc.
Research suggests that it can stimulate the functioning of the immune system by increasing the activity of NF-Kappa B.
Aloe vera juice can be made at home or purchased at health food stores or online.
Aloe vera juice can also be applied to minor rashes, burns, and other skin irritations. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe Vera Juice Storage Tips
Aloe vera juice is prepared from the gel. For this, take the oldest and most succulent leaves which will contain maximum gel. These are found at the bottom of the aloe vera plant.
Remove the leaves and make sure you wash them thoroughly to remove the latex, dust, and dirt.
Cut the leaves lengthwise and squeeze or scoop out the gel.
Rinse it in a mild solution of vinegar and water. The juice can now be
drunk plain or mixed with other fruit juices.
The gel must be stored in a dark colored container (preferably glass) which does not allow light to penetrate, in the refrigerator.
Aloe vera gel can even be stored in a plastic food grade container. However, a brown or dark green glass jar is the best choice.
Some people add a small quantity of citric acid or a drop of vitamin E. this makes the gel last longer and prevents discoloration.
Sometimes, drops of grapefruit extract or vitamin C tablets crushed can replace citric acid.
Apart from consuming aloe vera juice for health purposes, it can even be used as a natural conditioner for the hair or as a topical treatment for skin ailments. Here is a simple recipe to store aloe vera gel.
- Fresh Aloe vera gel – 1 cup
- Vitamin C – ½ tsp or 2 grams
- Vitamin E oil – 1600 IU or 4400 IU vitamin E soft gel capsules
You can get pure vitamin C crystallized powder or vitamin C tablets. For those who do not like the smell of aloe vera gel, a drop or two of your favorite essential oil can also be added.
Blend aloe vera gel using a hand blender. Sprinkle the vitamin C and vitamin E gel.
Homemade aloe vera juice will not have the thick consistency as store bought gel, unless a thickening agent is added.
To use this gel for the hair, it can be stored in a squirt bottle. Adding the above ingredients means that aloe vera juice will remain fresh in the refrigerator for even six months as against the one week of fresh, natural aloe gel.
If the aloe vera juice is thick, place it on a cookie sheet in wax paper and then freeze it.
Take out the frozen aloe vera gel, cut into cubes, and place in a freezer storage bag.
You will now have easy to use cubes of aloe vera juice rather than a big sticky lump that will be difficult to use.
Now, these little cubes can be taken out and used for sunburns, mixed with shampoos, used to treat minor abrasions and cuts, etc.
Always consult a doctor before consuming oral aloe vera juice for any ailment. It can interact with conventional medication.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children and older people must consult their doctor before using aloe vera juice.