Aloe vera gel plant

The Best Ways to Store Aloe Vera Gel

Natural aloe vera gel is a substance that has a number of different uses. Although people generally use all of it at once, sometimes, after extracting the gel from the plant, they want to keep some for later.

If you want to stop your gel from going to waste and help it last longer, it’s important to know how to store and preserve it properly. In this article, we’ll show you some of the best ways to do it. So, next time you have some left over gel, you can put these methods into practice.

** There is no one set method for preserving aloe vera. The option you choose will largely depend on what you want to use it for later on.

Preserve it with honey

Thanks to its high content of natural sugars, honey is a product that never expires. The low concentration of water is another key to its long shelf life, just like fruit preserves or fruit stored in syrup.

In this case you can use honey without a problem, because it’s compatible with the make-up of aloe and its properties.

Directions

  • Extract the gel from inside the leaf and wash it to remove the yellow layer of liquid latex.
  • Divide the gel into portions, and mix each one with an equal amount of pure honey.
  • Use this for making smoothies, teas, facial masks, and more.

See also: Honey and onions: instant cough remedy

Store aloe vera gel in the freezer

Placing the aloe vera gel in an ice cube tray and freezing it is a very simple way to preserve it. By not adding any additional ingredients, the gel will retain most of its natural properties for up to a couple of weeks.

The aloe vera ice cubes can then be used for beauty treatments and a range of other home remedies.

  • First, choose the leaf size that you prefer.
  • Then, using a sharp knife, slice open the outer skin, being careful to avoid touching the spines.
  • Once you’ve removed the exterior, use a spoon to extract the gelatinous pulp and place it in an ice cube tray.
  • As it should be fairly malleable, you can use your fingers to mold it into the shape of your ice cube container.
  • Store the tray in the freezer and remove a cube whenever you need some aloe.

We recommend you read:

4 Ways to Lose Weight with Aloe

Tricks

  • To help preserve the aloe vera gel for longer and enhance its effects, add a few drops of lime juice to each hole in your ice cube tray.
  • You can also add a vitamin E capsule to the pulp, especially if you’re going to use it for treating your skin, nails, or hair.

Store aloe vera gel with vitamin C

According to popular belief, adding vitamin C to the aloe vera gel will allow you to store it in the fridge for up to a month.

The best thing is that this method helps enhance its natural antioxidant and regenerative effects.

  • Cut the aloe vera leaf along both sides: at the tip and along the spines.
  • Next, soak it in water for 24 hours. Change the water twice.
  • This process helps remove the yellow resin, known as aloin, which can be toxic and irritating to the skin.
  • Once you’ve removed all the aloin, extract the gel with a spoon.
  • Add the gel to a blender with a vitamin C tablet and a teaspoon of wheat germ oil.
  • Blend everything for a few seconds and pour the juice into a glass jar.
  • At first, you’ll notice a foamy layer on top of the liquid, but it will disappear after a few days.
  • Put the lid on the jar and store it in the fridge.
  • Use a small amount to prepare whatever remedy you choose.

As you can see, these three simple procedures make it easy to store any leftover aloe vera gel, allowing you to keep it for longer, and make the very most of it.

Want to make an aloe vera hair mask today, and add some to your body butter tomorrow? Well, now you know how to do it: extract the gel, set aside the amount you need for later, and make sure you store it properly.

Vladimir Nenov/iStock/Getty Images

The aloe vera plant is a tropical plant with thick, spiky leaves that’s widely cultivated throughout the world. It’s fairly easy to grow and you can find aloe vera plants in many houses and gardens. The leaves of the aloe vera plant contain a transparent gel which is commonly used to treat minor skin irritations. You can extract aloe vera gel from your own plants and store it home.

Refrigerate an aloe vera drink for up to a week. You may commonly add aloe vera gel to a fruit or vegetable juice. You must keep the drink refrigerated–if you don’t drink it right away–because it contains fruit juice.

Store pure aloe vera gel in an airtight container. Commercial products will have their own container, but you’ll need a separate container if you extract the aloe vera gel yourself. This container should keep air and water away from the aloe vera gel.

Keep your aloe vera gel at room temperature or slightly cooler. You can store pure aloe vera gel for a prolonged period of time as long as you don’t subject it to temperature extremes.

Place your aloe vera gel in a dark place if you need to store it for an extended period of time. Aloe vera gel doesn’t degrade quickly in the sunlight, but you should still keep it in the shade as much as possible.

Close the lid on your Aloe vera gel container when you finish using it. Aloe vera gel can dry out over time. Throw out to commercial products that contain aloe vera gel once they reach the expiration date.

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Aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The gel of the aloe plant, harvested from the center of each aloe leaf, is also a common ingredient in commercial cosmetics. If you have access to an aloe plant you can harvest your own aloe gel for any of the plant’s traditional or more recent uses.

Break a leaf off the aloe vera plant, as close to the stem as possible. Lay the leaf on a cutting board and slice away both ends, so that you can see the gel sandwiched between the layers of tough skin.

Trim off the spiny edges of the leaf, too. You should be left with a layer of thick gel trapped between the two sides of skin.

Hold the leaf in place with one hand on the top layer of skin as you carefully slide a sharp knife between the top layer of skin and the gel beneath, separating the two. Set the aloe skin aside.

Flip the aloe gel over and slide a knife between the gel and the other piece of skin to separate the two. If this feels awkward, place the aloe skin-side down and, with a firm grip on the skin, slide your knife between the skin and gel from this orientation. Set this piece of skin aside, too. You should be left with a clear, nearly translucent piece of aloe gel.

Blend the aloe gel as part of a smoothie, or gently rub the moist inside of the aloe skin on sunburn or other mild skin irritations to moisture and soothe. This reduces waste because it makes use of the gel that remained inside the leaf skin, but you can also apply the pure gel fillet you extracted to your skin as well. If you use the aloe topically it may feel slimy, but don’t wipe or rinse the residue away. Instead, let it soak into your skin.

Tip

According to the University of Michigan Health System, applying topical aloe gel is generally considered safe, although in the case of severe burns or wounds, aloe gel may impede healing.

Warning

Never apply aloe to an open wound.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking aloe vera gel internally may interact with diuretics, hydrocortisone and certain diabetes medications. Consult your physician before taking aloe internally if you are using any of these medications.

When I was a child, I remember my grandmother always had an aloe plant around. I thought it was a bit strange, not so pretty like most plants my mom had at home, and I never understood why she felt it necessary to have not just one, but several of these spiny looking plants around without blooms or pretty leaves. Until I became interested in health, natural medicine, and natural lifestyle factors 10 years ago, the idea of using a plant to help heal the body didn’t make a bit of sense. However, like most plants, aloe is one that has many benefits and has been used for thousands of years to help heal a variety of health issues. It’s also very easy to grow at home and makes an easy houseplant to keep around for simple skin “emergencies” or needs.

You may have seen aloe vera gels and juices at health food stores that you can purchase, which are made from the gel that’s found in the leaves of the aloe plant. While you can certainly use these if you like, the whole plant leaves are actually very simple to use at home and are much more affordable too. If you already have an aloe plant, all you have to do is take a mature leaf, slice it open lengthwise, and scoop out the gel out of one of the leaves. The gel is essentially the healing part of the plant.

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Here’s how to use it:

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1. A Skin Healing Mask

Aloe vera is wonderful for not only healing acne scars but also for moisturizing the skin and keeping it youthful. It’s easy to make a healing facemask with nothing more than the gel of 1-2 aloe vera leaf halves. Mix this with some essential oil if you like for a nice scent (mint, thieves, and lavender are nice) or simply use it plain. Apply for 30 minutes and let it sit. It’s mild in scent on its own and has a particularly wonderful cooling feel.

2. A Sunburn Healing Gel

As many people know, aloe vera is wonderful for helping with sunburn. You’ve likely seen those sunburn gels at drugstores with aloe vera, but the better option that will provide many less chemicals is to just use real aloe leaf. It can help reduce redness and pain associated with sunburn fairly quickly and can be applied liberally as much as needed. You can apply the gel plain or can mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut and hemp, for extra moisturizing and healing benefits.

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3. Minor Skin Burns

This is the reason my grandmother always kept aloe on hand. Apparently she knew that her 12 grandchildren would have a few burns here and there. She was also a cook and liked to use it around if she touched a hot stove every now and then. I remember her always using aloe on our burns as children and though we thought she was weird, it always worked quickly. Aloe vera’s moisturizing and healing benefits transcend into the skin to reduce inflammation and aid in repair of the skin fairly quickly. To use it on a burn, apply just enough to coat the burn and cover with a bandage so it can do its job. Leave overnight and it should be better in the morning. The pain goes away almost immediately upon application, however.

4. Cuts and Wounds

The gel of the aloe vera plant contains polysacharride fibers, which is essentially why it’s used as a digestive aid (but that also makes it problematic for some people). These fibers also help to seal wounds and it’s natural cooling properties help soothe pain from cuts and wounds. Apply aloe to minor skin cuts and wounds after you’ve cleansed the area with a warm cloth and some peroxide (yes, that part stings). Then seal it up with a bandage and let it sit to heal overnight or for a day.

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5. Itching or Skin Irritation

Psoriasis and skin irritation can both be a pain to deal with (literally) and can also be hard to manage. Many prescription creams and over the counter creams don’t work, and those that do often contain excess chemicals that are not best for our skins to absorb (parabens are common ingredient in these creams). Aloe is one of the best to relieve itching and irritation because it contains glycoproteins which help reduce inflammation upon contact.

What About Aloe for Internal Use?

Wikipedia Commons

Another common use for aloe internally is to heal the digestive tract, so if you’re interested in using aloe as a digestive aid, feel free to try it. It’s a well-known use of this plant and many people attest that it works wonders for constipation. Aloe is also incredibly alkaline so it may help reduce inflammation in the stomach, along with feed good bacteria in the digestive tract thanks to its high fiber content and high water content. Just be mindful of how you react and if it causes laxative properties, pain, cramps, or you simply don’t react to it well, reduce or eliminate the amount you ingest and use aloe topically instead. For help with digestion, try some diet-based tips instead.

Let’s appreciate this spiny looking plant a bit more often than many of us do (or in my case, did). Like most plants, it’s got quite the impressive profile at keeping us healthy.

Do you use aloe for anything else besides these above? Share with us so we can give it a try too!

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6 Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair, Skin and Weight-Loss

Aloe vera is extensively used in beauty products and for good reason. It’s got antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the ability to help treat everything from constipation to diabetes. The green-cactus looking plant that sits out in your garden isn’t just a plant with its roots in folklore, it’s the crux of a million dollar industry that extends from beauty creams to healthy juices and diet supplements. Over time, aloe vera has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use. But, what makes this miracle plant so distinguishable? There are some incredible benefits of aloe vera. So, keep reading to know what we are talking about.
The aloe vera plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defence to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for it’s unbelievable healing properties.This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, Vitamin A, B, C and E. Another part of the aloe vera plant which is used is the ‘sap’, a yellow-coloured liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside. When dried and purified, the powdered aloe is often used as a laxative, though it’s effectiveness is questionable.

One of the most crucial elements found in aloe vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins.Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine and British herbal medicine have all advocated aloe vera as a healer, when applied or consumed orally. Let’s go over some of its most prominent benefits.

Here are some benefits of aloe vera for hair, skin and weight loss:

Aloe Vera For Skin

There are many aloe vera uses, like aloe vera for face and skin. Bill C. Coats writes, “Since the skin needs nutrition of its own, Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen, can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin.” And we’re about to show just how you can do that. Once you move past the slimey texture of natural aloe vera gel and apply it to your skin, you’ll notice how soothing and cooling it is. And it’s for these exact reasons that Ayurveda refers to aloe vera as the miracle herb that can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.
(Also Read: 7 Amazing Reasons To Drink Aloe Vera Juice Everyday)Skin Care: Aloe vera has multiple health benefits for skin, hair and weight-loss.

Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, Delhi-based dermatologist says, “Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which gives it its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. It can moisturise the skin without making it greasy, which makes it a great buy for those with oily skin.” She also suggests drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach because it improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. And, you know that if you’ve got a healthy inside, it’ll give you a glowing outside which in this case is radiant skin.

Aloe vera or aloe vera-based products can be used in the winter as well as in the summer and by people of all skin types. Aloe vera treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin which is why it’s recommended by dermatologists to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks. One way to use aloe vera is to apply the gel directly, another would be to make a pack using aloe vera along with some other special ingredients from your kitchen. So, now you know that aloe vera for face is like a magical gel that has an amazing impact on your skin.

1. Aloe vera for dry skin – Take some aloe vera, a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of milk and a few drops of rose water. Blend this mix till you get a paste. Apply it and leave in for about 20 minutes or so.

2. Aloe vera scrub – Grab half a cup of fresh aloe vera gel, a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. The sugar will help exfoliate and scrub off dead skin, the aloe vera will deep clean the skin and the lemon will help fade out scars and tan. Stir the three ingredients together and use it to scrub both face and body.

3. Aloe vera for acne – Take some aloe vera gel, blended walnuts with a flour like consistency and honey. Aloe vera’s healing properties coupled with the anti-oxidants from honey will leave you with smooth and clear skin.

4. Aloe vera for sensitive skin – Grab some aloe vera gel, cucumber juice, yogurt and rose oil and blend them to a paste. Apply and leave for around 20 minutes, then rinse it off.
(Also Read: 10 Dos and Don’ts for Naturally Beautiful Skin)

Aloe Vera For Weight Loss

It’s not just the beauty industry that’s obsessing over the benefits of aloe vera, the health industry can’t stop raving about it either. Known as ghritkumari in Hindi, the plant has millions of takers around the world and is used in the form of gels, cream and juices, due to the aloe vera’s wondrous health benefits. According to Britt Brandon, the author of The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health, “Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximise your weight loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight-loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes and sterols, aloe vera ensures your diet is not only supportive of weight loss, but also improves the body’s absorption and utilisation, improving overall health as well as weight loss success.”
(Also Read: Weight Loss: Here’s Why You Should Drink Fennel Seed (Saunf) Water For Weight Loss)
Weight Loss: There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight-loss.

Aloe vera is used in a wide range of health products, like diet supplements, juices etc. It’s rich in anti-oxidants which means it helps cut out free radicals in the body and boost your immunity. It’s also a good source of protein so it helps muscle development and gives you copious amounts of energy. There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight loss, but it should be consumed regularly and over a long period of time for it to really work.

How to drink aloe vera juice: The natural taste of aloe vera is so bitter that you wouldn’t think of consuming it as is. Take the gel, dice it into small pieces and blend. Now. mix a bit of this with some other fruit or vegetable juice that’s preferably sweet. You can also use the leaves of aloe vera, blend them, strain and drink. If you find it too bitter then mix it up with honey and drink. You can also add some lemon to this mix.

Aloe Vera For Hair Fall

Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature’s Soothing Healer says, “Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Aloe vera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.”

The perfect pack: Here’s a delicious hair mask that you should apply once a week or every fortnight.
(Also Read: Losing Hair? Eat These 9 Foods to Prevent Hair Fall)


Hair Fall: The Perfect hair mask using aloe vera.
CommentsMix equal quantities of aloe vera juice and extra virgin coconut oil. Apply and leave it in for as long as possible for strong, smooth and bouncy hair. Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that brings with it a treasure trove of benefits. The best way to enjoy it, without the fear of added chemicals, is to grow it in your own kitchen garden or balcony. It takes very little to look after an aloe vera plant, but the benefits you get in return are many. So go ahead, invent your time and money into a healthier you today!

Hailed as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is something we can’t get enough of. Chock-full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, aloe vera, is now an essential element of alternative medicine and cosmetology.

Since growing succulents is the latest trend, why not grow your aloe vera plant and reap its health benefits, too?

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Learn easy hacks to keep aloe vera gel fresh for longer

Whether using aloe vera for skin troubles or beauty enhancement, most of us use only a part of the leaf and end up throwing away the rest, which is such a waste of such a valuable resource. It’s also a waste of money if you purchased the leaves rather than cutting them off your own plant.

Cutting an aloe vera leaf and extracting the gel can be a messy affair. So, you might want to do several at one time, which brings us to the need for storing aloe vera properly to avoid spoilage.

We tried some of the popular hacks found on the Internet and bring you the four ways to store aloe vera the right way.

# Refrigerate

Method 1: Store the Leaves

The easiest and perhaps the best way to store aloe vera is by storing the entire leaf. Since oxidation of the gel leads to faster spoilage, storing the whole leaf will keep the gel safe from exposure to air.

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Single-Step Method: Wrap the aloe vera leaves in plastic wrap & refrigerate them

Seal the leaves in a plastic wrap and refrigerate

  • Cut out a large sheet of plastic wrap.
  • Wrap the aloe vera leaves in the plastic wrap and seal both ends.
  • Store the sealed leaves in your refrigerator until needed.

Refrigerating the leaves will keep the aloe vera gel good for 20 to 25 days.

Method 2: Store the Gel

Since peeling and extracting the gel from an aloe vera leaf can be cumbersome, you may want to extract the gel in advance and store it. This way you can have the gel at your disposal, whether it is to treat sunburn or condition your hair.

Single-Step Method: Store aloe vera gel in an airtight jar in the refrigerator

Pour fresh aloe vera gel into an airtight container and refrigerate it

  • Extract the aloe vera gel from the leaf or leaves. If you are clueless about how to go about it, you can learn the right way to extract fresh aloe vera gel.
  • Use a funnel to pour the gel into an airtight jar and screw on the lid tightly.
  • Store the jar in your refrigerator.

Aloe vera gel will stay good for 6 to 7 days when kept refrigerated at all times.

Method 3: Store the Gel Mixed with Honey

Another way to store aloe vera gel is by mixing in some honey. Since honey contains sugar and produces hydrogen peroxide, it works as a bactericide to extend the shelf life of the gel. You can consume the blend as a healthy drink first thing in the morning or use it in face masks.

Things you’ll need:

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  • Fresh aloe vera gel – ¼ cup
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

Single-Step Method: Mix honey in aloe vera gel & refrigerate it in an airtight jar

Blend honey with aloe vera gel and refrigerate it

  • Add 1 tablespoon of honey for every ¼ cup of aloe vera gel.
  • Use a motorized blender to whisk up the ingredients.
  • Transfer the blend to an airtight jar.
  • Secure the lid tightly and refrigerate it until needed.

Aloe vera gel mixed with honey will stay good for 10 to 15 days in the refrigerator.

# Freeze

Method 1: Store Gel Cubes

Freezing anything fresh can extend its shelf life by months. This is true for aloe vera gel. All you need to do is cut the thick gel into small cubes and freeze them in a ziplock baggie.

Step 1. Peel the skin off the aloe vera leaf & cut the gel into cubes

Peel off an aloe vera leaf and cut the gel into cubes

  • Use a paring knife to slice off the serrated edges of the aloe vera leaf.
  • Hold the leaf in your hand and begin peeling the skin off one side.
  • Once done, peel the other side.
  • Now, you should have a big chunk of aloe vera gel.
  • Make a lengthwise slit in the middle of the chunk.
  • Cut the big chunk crosswise to get smaller aloe vera cubes.

Step 2. Put the cubes in a ziplock baggie & freeze it

Seal the gel cubes in a ziplock baggie and freeze them

  • Put the aloe vera gel cubes in a ziplock baggie.
  • Push out all the air from the baggie and seal it.
  • Pop the baggie into your freezer.
  • To use the gel, simply take out the amount of aloe vera cubes that you need and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Frozen aloe vera gel will stay good for up to 6 months.

Tips

  • To store aloe vera, you can also add vitamins E or C to extend the shelf life. Add 8 grams of crystalline vitamin C for every liter of aloe vera gel. If using vitamin E oil, add 6000 IU per liter of aloe vera gel. Blend either of them with the gel and freeze it for up to 8 months.
  • If your aloe vera pulp is runny, you can also freeze it in an ice cube tray.
  • You can also add a few drops of essential oils, such as rosemary, lemon or lavender, to extend the shelf life of fresh aloe vera gel.
  • If you have leftover aloe vera and are wondering what to do with it, try making a healthy aloe vera tea or juice.

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How to Store Aloe Vera To Keep It At Its Freshest

Aloe vera is a versatile plant with leaves that you can use as food or as medicine. Whether you use leaves that you buy from the grocery store or you get them from a plant in your garden, you may find yourself with more aloe than you need right now. What are the best ways to store leftover aloe vera? Like any other green plant, it has a relatively short shelf life when stored in the open air at room temperature. Here are some effective aloe vera storage options.

In the refrigerator

Like any other vegetable, you can keep whole aloe vera leaves in the refrigerator for a few days if you cover it properly. Simply wrap the leaves in plastic to prevent exposure to air and make sure to re-wrap it properly every time you take a piece out. Alternatively, you can wrap each leaf separately if you only use one at a time. The objective of wrapping aloe leaves properly is to keep them in an airtight environment to prevent oxidation.

If your aloe vera is in juice form, you will want to store it for a short a time as possible before drinking it. Keep it in your refrigerator only for the hour or so it will take to get cold.

Acidity plus refrigeration can help your aloe vera gel to last longer. Add lemon juice to the aloe vera gel and blend them until they are liquefied. Store the liquid gel and lemon juice mixture in the refrigerator.

Remove the gel

If the only part of the aloe vera leaf that you plan on using is the gel, then you can simply store it and discard the rest. The gel is the most versatile part of the aloe vera plant. Cut off the pointed tip of the aloe vera leaf along with the two thorned sides. You want only the meatiest part of the leaf. Split the leaf and scrape the clear inner part out using a spoon or a knife. Wash the gel off to remove all traces of the yellow latex, which can cause diarrhea if you consume it. Next, you have a couple of options for storing the gel: room temperature or frozen.

Freeze the gel

If you choose to freeze the gel, cut it into serving-sized pieces and place them on a cookie sheet. Stick the cookie sheet in your freezer for 30 minutes or so before bagging up the pieces of aloe vera gel. This keeps the pieces of gel separate even after they freeze so that you won’t have to thaw out a frozen clump to get what you need.

When you thaw out frozen aloe vera, let it warm up gradually by leaving it at room temperature. Don’t try to speed things up with the microwave or with hot water. Heat will destroy many of the beneficial compounds contained in aloe.

Store the gel in honey

If you want to store aloe vera gel at room temperature, then your best bet will be to store it in honey. As you may already know, honey’s shelf life is basically unlimited as it does not spoil. Simply cover the pieces of gel in honey and store them in an airtight container. You can use this aloe vera to make smoothies.

How to Make Aloe Vera Gel

Once you have gathered all of the materials you need, it only takes about 30 minutes to make your aloe vera gel.

1. Prepare the aloe leaves

To use a fresh aloe leaf from a plant, first cut off one of the outer leaves from the base of the plant.

You can also use a store-bought leaf.

Wash it well, removing any dirt, and then stand it upright in a cup or bowl for 10–15 minutes. This allows the yellow-tinted resin to drain out of the leaf.

The resin contains latex, which can irritate your skin, so completing this step is important (1).

After the resin has drained completely, wash off any remains on the leaf and peel off the thick skin using a small knife or vegetable peeler.

2. Make the gel

Once the leaf has been peeled, you will see the natural aloe vera gel.

Using a small spoon, scoop it into your blender. Be careful not to include any pieces of the aloe vera skin.

Blend the gel until it’s frothy and liquefied, which should only take a few seconds.

At this point, your gel is ready to use. However, if you plan on keeping it for more than 1 week, you should add preservatives.

3. Add preservatives (optional)

Vitamins C and E are excellent preservatives that can greatly extend the shelf life of your aloe vera gel.

Though the gel naturally contains some of these vitamins, it’s not enough to preserve the gel for longer than 1 week.

Still, you can add more of one or both of these vitamins to extend your gel’s shelf life.

Plus, both contain antioxidant and anti-aging properties, so these additions can help boost the skin-protecting power of your aloe vera gel (2, 3).

For every 1/4 cup (60 ml) of aloe vera gel you make, add 500 mg of powdered vitamin C or 400 International Units (IU) of powdered vitamin E — or both.

Simply add the powdered vitamins directly to the blender and mix the gel once more until the additives are fully incorporated.

Storage directions

Prepared aloe vera gel without added vitamin C or E can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

However, adding one or both of the vitamins significantly increases the shelf life to up to 2 months in the refrigerator.

What’s more, you can freeze aloe gel in small batches — for instance, in an ice cube tray — to have small amounts at the ready. Frozen aloe gel can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Summary

To make aloe vera gel, prepare the leaves, scoop out the natural aloe gel, blend it, and add preservatives if desired.

Aloe vera is a well-known balm for treating sunburn, minor burns, and moisturizing skin and hair.

While it is best known for its external use on dry or burnt skin, aloe is also an edible ally. You can easily add fresh aloe to a smoothie, mix it into a glass of juice, or stir it into any food to use its mucilaginous properties internally to soothe the digestive system.

The aloe that you find sold in plastic bottles is useful, but you can also easily harvest and freeze aloe gel from a healthy houseplant!

Aloe is easy to grow indoors in just about any area of the world. If your aloe is doing very well, it can grow so large that it begins to topple over. Pruning the leaves is an important part of caring for the aloe plant as well as being a wonderful source of a healing balm for your own use.

How to Harvest Fresh Aloe Vera Gel

Trim the aloe

Take a good look at the plant you intend to harvest and be sure that it is strong and healthy. Choose a thick, long leaf from the bottom of the plant. Use a pair of sharp, clean scissors or a sharp knife to cut off the leaf as close to the trunk as possible.

Let the aloe drain

Set the cut aloe leaf upright in a small jar or dish, with the cut side down. After a few minutes, you’ll see a red or yellowish liquid draining out of the leaf. This is normal, and it is called aloin. This mucilaginous gel can cause stomach pain and diarrhea, so give it about 10-15 minutes to drain out.

Harvest the aloe gel

Place the drained leaf on a clean cutting surface and carefully slice off the spiked edges with a sharp knife. Use the knife to carefully cut and lift the top of the green part away from the clear aloe flesh.

Once done, you can flip the leaf over and repeat on the other side. You will be left with a clear, gooey, but mostly solid slab of aloe.

That’s all it takes! You can use your fresh aloe gel immediately to soothe burns or to make a smoothie, or add to homemade shampoo.

If you have harvested more aloe leaves than you currently need, you can freeze aloe vera gel to use later. Recently, I had to harvest many leaves from my aloe plant as it was being transplanted to a new pot. Rather than let the bounty of my necessary harvest go to waste, I froze the gel.

How to Freeze Aloe Vera Gel

Once you have sliced your aloe free from the green leaves, add the slabs of clear gel to a blender. A few gentle pulses is all it takes to change the solid aloe gel into a more pourable state.

Pour the gel into ice cube trays and place the tray into the freezer and let it rest until the cubes are solid.

Use a clearly labeled jar or bag to store the aloe cubes in your freezer.

Having a stash of frozen aloe means that you are well-prepared! A gentle healer is right at hand. You can add one or two aloe cubes to a smoothie, or rub them on sunburned shoulders.

Is the Aloe Vera Plant Toxic?

Aloe vera gel is a commonly used product for skin-care related issues. The gel is relatively safe, but there are concerns about aloin, or the yellow latex.

If you’ve ever rubbed aloe vera on a burn, then you’re familiar with the quick and often soothing relief it can provide. But aloin, which you can find in the latex of the aloe leaves, may also give the plant its laxative qualities and cause other adverse effects.

Aloe vera can be toxic in certain situations, including ingesting the aloin or yellow latex part of the plant.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH-HHS), these adverse effects bring up concerns about aloe vera toxicity 156.

Aloe Vera Toxicity

Aloe vera is a frequently used product sold in many health food and grocery stores. When you purchase aloe vera, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says the clear gel and yellow latex are the two substances from aloe vera that are used in health products 26. Common uses of these substances include topically for skin conditions such as psoriasis, burns and cold sores.

You can also take aloe vera orally for bowel disease and osteoarthritis. That said, NCCIH points out that there is not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for these purposes and many others.

Although the relative safety of the aloe vera plant is well documented, there is some concern about aloe vera toxicity related to the yellow latex, and more specifically, aloin. An April 2016 review in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health states that diarrhea, hypokalemia, pseudomelanosis coli and kidney failure are all linked to the ingestion of aloe preparations.

The review also points out that aloe vera whole leaf extract showed clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in rats, which led to classification as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also advises consumers to avoid aloe vera taken orally 4. Their recommendation? Save it for sunburns and use it topically.

Read more: Is Vitamin E Oil and Aloe Vera Good?

Using Aloe Vera

If you have an aloe vera plant at home and you have pets, there are some things you should know about the potential for aloe vera toxicity. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, aloe vera is toxic to dogs, cats and horses, with the toxic principles being saponins and anthraquinones 3.

The warning signs include lethargy and diarrhea in all three animals and vomiting in dogs and cats. Additionally, if you use glucose-lowering medication for diabetes, the NCCIH says to be cautious of taking aloe orally since it may lower blood glucose levels.

The most important thing to remember when using an aloe vera plant is to avoid the part that contains aloin, which you can find in the skin of the aloe vera plant. In other words, don’t just eat a raw aloe leaf or whole leaf aloe extract.

Read more: What Are the Benefits of Eating Aloe Vera?

Instead, use the clear gel or topical version for topical applications, which the NCCIH says is likely to be safest route. When it comes to the broader use of the topical version of aloe vera gel, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the use of aloe vera gel is found most often in external treatment of minor wounds and inflammatory skin disorders 6. Consumers are most familiar with the gels used in liquids, creams, sun lotions, healing ointments, and other skin-care products.

As with any over-the-counter remedy, consider talking with your doctor prior to using the product. If you have any concerns about safety or aloe vera toxicity, make an appointment with a dermatologist or your physician for guidance on how to use aloe vera gel.

The Wrap Up

Aloe Vera Healer

Many of us might be familiar with this ancient plant, Aloe Vera. And I believe some of you would agree that it is really handy to keep a pot or two at home. Especially for the elderly, Aloe Vera is their precious medicinal plant.

The uses of Aloe Vera are endless. We often see this ingredient in our food, drinks, healing creams, facial cleansers, lotions and other cosmetics.

Personally, I use Aloe Vera gel for the following purposes:

  • to treat minor cuts and burns. My mom is pretty prone to minor cuts and kitchen injuries. I would help her wash her wound clean with water and apply the gel. It effectively stops the bleeding and heals the wound rather quickly.
  • to prevent the skin from swelling. It is very common to get bits of oil splatters on your hand or arm during cooking. If left unattended, the area might turn red and swollen. First, I would wash the area, dab dry and apply the gel.
  • to soothe sunburn and the prevention of flaky skin.
  • to apply on my face, for a smooth and moisturizing skin. It heals acne as well.
  • blend it with fruit juices for drinking, to prevent constipation.

Warning:

Patients who have internal bleeding should not drink Aloe Vera, as it might induce more blood flow and could be very dangerous. Ladies having their period should avoid too.

I have an aged Chinese book passed down by my uncle, just on Aloe Vera. The book reveals so many more uses other than the ones that I have mentioned. That includes treating of sore throat, toothache, bathing, hair loss, promoting blood circulation, soothing bug bites and so on. I hope to share more with you after I have tried them all out. =)

You can buy Aloe Vera gel from pharmacies. But I’m thinking the gels being sold in pharmacies might contain other unfamiliar or artificial ingredients, including preservatives. So, I would much prefer using the real stuff.

You can buy Aloe Vera leaf from supermarkets. A big, succulent one only cost around SGD $2 for about 1.5kg. If you have a pot of Aloe Vera, better still! Just pluck off one or two fresh leaves! Go for the bottom most layer to prevent hurting the plant.

If you don’t require much, cut a small piece (5cm to 10cm), and leave it on a plate for about 10 to 15mins. You’ll notice yellow liquid dripping out at the cut area. Wash the yellow liquid off and be careful not to touch it. It will irritate your skin and makes it itchy. Then, slice lengthwise and apply.

Alternatively, you can extract, blend and store the Aloe Vera gel in the fridge for multiple uses. Make small batches for maintain its freshness. I also find this more convenient for daily usage.

Here’s how i prepare my Aloe Vera gel.

  1. Cut away the end bit of the leaf and leave it for 10 to 15mins for the yellow liquid to be drained away and wash it clean.
  2. Use a peeler and peel off one side of the skin.
  3. Use a knife, make slits horizontally and vertically.
  4. Use a spoon and scoop out the Aloe Vera gel into a bowl.
  5. Put all Aloe Vera bits into a blender and blend at low speed for about 30secs.
  6. Once it turns into a frothy white liquid, pour it into a container and store in the fridge to keep its freshness. Use within 2 weeks at most.

The white frothy liquid would soon turn to a yellow color. It is perfectly alright for use. However, after 2 weeks, the smell would start to turn unpleasant, that’s when you need to make a new batch!

Here’s our shoot on the process. =D

Peel off the outer skin.

Make slits using a knife.

Use a spoon to scrap off the fresh gel.

And now we’re ready to blend it up!

After blending, the Aloe Vera turned into a white frothy liquid. Start filling up the empty bottles.

Your Aloe Vera gel is now ready!

The bottle of Aloe Vera gel is like my all-in-one first aid kit for small cuts and other little uses. But if the situation is serious, please visit a doctor immediately.

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