First Aid – From a Plant!

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Almost all of us have come in contact with Aloe Vera at some point in our lives, whether it be an Aloe Vera gel for a sunburn, an Aloe Vera drink or the ever popular Aloe Vera plant. Growing up, we always had an Aloe Vera plant, whenever we ad a scratch or cut we’d break a piece off and put the gel on our injury to help it heal. Today my parents still have that same Aloe Vera plant…it’s gotten bigger and seen its share of injuries!

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that is most commonly recognized for its healing properties. The plant has been used as far back as 1AD in many herbal remedies and today is used in many natural remedies and in creams and cosmetics as well as in desserts,yogurts and beverages (however when used in food preparation the doses are carefully measured, Aloe can be toxic in high doses).

Aloe Vera is native to North Africa and grows upwards of 100cms. The leaves are green and fleshy with small “teeth” along the edges. Depending on the variety, white dots can speckle the leaves.

Aloe Vera prefers a sunny location where it will receive the most direct sunlight. A soil mix that provides a well draining soil base is best as the Aloe Vera does not like to be wet and the plant can actually suffer if it becomes overly wet. Terra cotta pots are recommended for potting Aloe Vera due to their porous nature.

In areas where the weather allows Aloe Vera can be planted outdoors. The same principles apply – plant in a sunny location in well drained soils. Aloe Vera does particularly well in rock gardens!

Aloe Vera reproduces by creating smaller plants called “pups”. These can be divided from the mother plant and replanted in to their own pot.

Aloe Vera is a fantastic house plant that is both easy to grow and great to have on hand incase you have any minor cuts or scrapes after a day of gardening!!! Enjoy!

Image Courtesy of Powerhouse Museum

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