Whether or not you’re ready to go full-on with medicinal herbs, keeping an aloe vera plant in your house is a no-brainer. Besides being supremely simple to care for, it’s useful to have on hand for on-demand first aid for burns, sunburns, scratches, or any other skin situation. Because it’s loaded with tannins, vitamins E and B, fiber, selenium, polysaccharides, silicon, and aloin, you’re just as likely to find it in an over-the-counter ointment as you are on the menu of a juice bar. For more serious issues, like arthritis pain, stomach issues, or inflammatory conditions, many herbalists keep a jar of store-bought aloe vera juice in their fridge to spike their morning cup of tea.
Did You Know?
Aloe is the ultimate beautifier, said to be a secret weapon in Cleopatra’s skincare routine. Split open a leaf and use the gel straight up as a makeup remover, hair conditioner, or cuticle softener. There are brains behind all its beautifying power, too. Studies have shown it may be effectively used to treat diabetes and asthma.
MEDICINAL: Treats first-, second-, and third-degree burns and wounds; heals scars, reduces inflammation in eczema, skin ulcers, acne, rashes, stings, insect bites, and poison oak and ivy; soothes sunburns; eases intestinal disorders and inflammation-related pain.
COSMETIC: Balances pH levels in skin and blocks sunrays.
- Drink in juices, teas, tinctures, or smoothies
- Apply as an ointment/salve, face cream, lotion, bath, or splash
- Use as a tonic
Aloe vera, if taken internally, can cause stomach cramping or distress. It also has laxative properties.
- Chinese Aloe
- Indian Aloe
- True Aloe
- Barbados Aloe
- Burn Aloe
- First Aid Plant
Locating & Growing
Many herbalists consider this one of the easiest plants to grow and one that is almost impossible to harm. It’s happy indoors or outdoors, sunlight or shade, rain or dry conditions. If you can manage to give it a touch of UV rays and a spritz of water every now and then, it’s golden.