Harvesting Aloe Vera gel at home.

Your first piece of Aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera is an amazingly hardy, easy to grow and beneficial plant. Its not exactly a herb by the strictest definition, but has a place in everyone’s herb garden.

A succulent with thick green, pointed leaves adorned with thorns. It needs little water and, once established, little care. I find that for harvesting, Aloe vera plants are best kept in pots.

The useful part of the plant is the leaves. They contain two key materials. One, a yellow liquid and, two, a clear gel.

It is the gel that we are most familiar with. The clear gel has a use in almost any skin ailment, as it is soothing and restorative.

The bitter yellow liquid is also of great use. It is a purgative and emetic. That is, it will clear out your system very effectively.

Harvesting the gel is simple and best done when the tips of the leaves turn pink in late spring, though, really, I’ve found that effective gel can be harvested any time.

The following pics and their captions outline a simple way to collect and prepare your own Aloe vera gel.

Aloe is ready to harvest when the tips turn pink.
Aloe is ready to harvest when the tips turn pink.

 

Cut near the base of the leaf with a sharp knife.
Cut near the base of the leaf with a sharp knife.

 

Gel and yellow sap
Inside the leaf is a large amount of gel and a small amount of yellow sap.
Let the sap drain
Let the sap drain for 20 minutes – 1/2 hour.
Slice off the green rind
Remove the green rind from one side of the leaf any way you feel comfortable.
Expose the gel.
Expose the gel.
Remove the gel
Remove the gel. It’s easier to do it a chunk at a time.
Your first piece of Aloe vera gel.
Your first piece of Aloe vera gel.

 

Once you have enough, put it in a jar and keep it in a refrigerator. Make sure you label the jar well. It can cause quite a purge if ingested.

To prolong the life of the gel, blend it with a good dash of a cream such as vitamin E, coco butter or jojoba. Doing this will make it more consistent and thicker, as well as prolonging its shelf life.

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