Naturopathic Kitchen: Aloe Vera

Aloe vera leaves, a mortar an pestle, a knife, and a gray kitchen towel on a wooden surface.

 

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant native to tropical areas. The gel from the plant contains vitamins C, A, E, and B12 as well as folic acid, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other minerals.1 It also contains several enzymes that work to break down fats and sugars, including lipase and alilase, which aid in the digestion of fats and starches. 2

Aloe vera is excellent for hydration, helps regulate blood sugar, works as a digestive aid, and can soothe acid reflux symptoms such as bloating, burning, and nausea. 3

Aloe vera can be consumed in food and beverages or it can be applied topically to help soothe sunburns and other skin conditions. 4 The gel has a very mild taste that is slightly bitter and blends well with most other flavors.

Fresh aloe vera leaves, aloe vera capsules, or bottled pure food-grade aloe vera gel are available to buy in stores, and aloe vera also thrives as a houseplant. Because of this, many people opt to grow it at home to have the fresh gel on hand.

 

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel

To extract aloe vera gel, use a sharp knife to remove the thin, green layer from one side of the aloe vera leaf, cutting lengthwise. Next, use a spoon to remove the filet of clear gel inside. Do not remove gel from the leaf until right before use.

  • Apply aloe vera gel directly to sunburn and skin irritations to cool and soothe.
  • Use it as a moisturizing hair mask.
  • Mix aloe vera gel with clay powder for a hydrating face mask.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of aloe vera gel to a smoothie or protein shake.
  • Mix a little aloe vera gel into fresh salsa.
  • Combine any fruit juice with a few spoonfuls of aloe vera gel in a blender and pulse until thoroughly mixed for a hydrating aloe juice.
  • Blend a few spoonfuls of aloe vera with coconut water for a super hydrating beverage. Garnish with cucumber slices to make it even more refreshing.
  • Make a batch of aloe vera juice and freeze it into popsicles for a healthy summer treat.
  • Blend a few spoonfuls of aloe vera gel into pasta sauce.

For more information about foods with healing properties, browse through our Naturopathic Kitchen blog.

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