Aloe Vera is a common houseplant that you can buy at almost any garden or plant store and is one of the most beneficial plants to have in your home. Not only does it clean the air but it also can be used as a salve or poultice on cuts and burns and can even be ingested for other health benefits such as immune system boosting, and as a laxative. There are two substances that you can harvest from your aloe plant. One is the gel, used for treating cuts and burns. And the other is the sap or as it is sometimes referred to as “juice”. Harvesting these substances is really quite easy and will not harm your plant at all.
Step one – gathering
Pick a leaf or two from the outside of the plant to remove. The long outer leaves are the most mature and have higher nutrient content. Taking inner leaves that are still standing straight up can affect the way the plant will grow so always take from the outer leaves that have fanned out. Use a sharp clean knife and cut the leaf off as close to the base as you can.
Step two – the sap (juice)
Put your cuttings in a glass or bowl cut side down for about 15 minutes. The sap will drain out of the leaf and is ready for consumption immediately. Adding it to your smoothies or a glass of orange juice are great ways to get some aloe into your diet.
Step three – the gel
Cut your leaf down the center and expose the gel. From here all you need to do is spoon out the gel into a container for storing in the fridge. If it seems like you need to mash up the globs with the back of the spoon to break the cells and really release the gel. Aloe gel will last about a week in the refrigerator or you can freeze it almost indefinitely.
Alternate (easy) method – for use with smaller leaves
If you just have a small leaf cutting you can take you knife and scrape up the cut side to release the gel, and then just gently squeeze it onto your skin to use topically. Take the rest of your leaf and put it right in the refrigerator. When you need to use it again scrape the inside a little more and squeeze again.