How to Make Your Own Aloe Vera Gel and 8 Ways to Use It (Plus, Facts About the Aloe Plant and Why You Need One)
This article is about how to make your own aloe vera gel and also how to use it!
When my oldest son was a teenager (about 20 years ago), he was too cool for school, and didn’t listen when I told him to wear a hat out to Lake Mead, where we were spending the day. All my boys wore their hair really short, since they were athletes, and that was the style back then.
Can you guess what happened?
He got the WORST sunburn on his head. It was horrible. It hurt to look at it! He was in misery. So, I popped open a section of an aloe vera leaf to rub on his scalp several times over the next day or so to give him some relief. It worked like a charm.
Did you know you can make your own aloe vera gel easily and quickly?
And it’s a LOT less expensive and higher quality than what you can buy in the stores too. But why on earth should you want to make your own aloe vera gel, anyway?
Aloe is one of the premier ancient medicinal and beauty herbs that also doubles as a lovely and sturdy houseplant. The gel inside it has many uses, and it’s such a wonderful herbal product, companies actually sell it at costs that are ridiculous.
In fact, when we moved six months ago from the desert of S. NV to the mountain panhandle of N. ID, we couldn’t bring all my plants. (I’m really starting over up here.) BUT, one of the plants I insisted on bringing was my largest aloe vera plant.
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About Aloe Vera and Its Gel
Aloe vera/Aloe barbadensis—-
Aloe is a fleshy succulent plant with no stem. The fleshy leaves grow out of a rosette, and contain sacs filled with gel. This wonder gel contains saponins that are the plant’s natural immune protectors.
The gel also contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial agents and mild pain relievers such as anthraquinones, vitamins E, other minerals, and salicylic acid.
Aloe has been used for over 6,000 years, and the earliest known carvings showing its use come from Egypt. It was such a special plant, it was given as a gift to deceased pharoahs!
Dioscorides, one the healing fathers of herbal medicine, mentions aloe vera in a document written in 78 AD. It’s also been found in 10th century documents in Europe. It certainly has a very long history of known use.
Traditionally, people have used aloe to heal wounds, for skin conditions, and internally as a laxative.
These days, aloe’s uses have extended to joint pain relief, diabetes, and epilepsy; along with the old time traditional uses. It should be noted that using aloe as a laxative is not approved by the FDA, as severe cramping can result. It’s also not indicated for pregnant or nursing women for internal use.
This incredible gel helps speed healing from injuries, especially mild burns including sunburns and skin inflammations. Wash the burn or wound with cool water first, as the aloe gel helps speed the healing process, and you want a clean wound.
Aloe has become well-known in the beauty industry, too. It’s used in all kinds of skincare products, as well as for enhancing the beauty and health of the skin.
You can purchase aloe vera gel, but it can be pricey. It’s so easy to make your own, but first you need a plant or two.
How to Grow Your Own Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe is native to tropical and semi-tropical areas such as certain areas in Africa and the Mediterranean, which gives you an idea of their natural ecosystem.
It’s a SUPER easy plant to grow, and trust me—-it is REALLY hard to kill. Everyone should have one or more of these wonderful succulents growing in their home and/or yard if you’re in the right zone.
In fact, remember how I told you it was my first choice of my plants to bring with us on our move? Well, Mr. V. put that poor plant into the greenhouse without thinking about it. Months later, I asked him what happened to it?
I ran out to take a look, and it was so washed out, having been in too much sun with too little water. It was just limping along. I thought it was a goner. I nursed it back to health, and now it’s doing its medicinal job in our home again.
Here’s How to Grow Your Own Aloe Vera Plant:
1) Aloe plants need good drainage. If you have clay soil, like we do, you’ll have to amend it with some sand, perlite, or other draining soil. Too much moisture will kill the roots.
2) Aloes do best when planted in smaller pots. This is because of their need for good drainage. Too much soil isn’t good for the roots. And growing plants is all about the roots. Your pot should have very good drainage. If it doesn’t, go ahead and drill a few more holes in the bottom of the pot.
3) If you are in a warm place, your aloe can live outside in indirect light. Just be sure to water about once a week and be sure to allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.
If you are in a cooler place, you’ll need to move your plant indoors once the temperatures drop below about 70 degrees. Aloe cannot take a frost, so err on the side of safety and bring your plant in if you think it’s going to be cold.
4) During non-growth months (winter), you can even slow waterings down to every two weeks or so.
5) Avoid keeping your aloe in full sun or light that is too bright. They like bright but indirect light. South facing windows are too much for your aloe vera plant if you are in a very sunny area. Try for an Eastern or Western exposure instead.
If you’re in an area with a lot of cloudy days, your plant may do just fine in a south facing window. Just use your good judgement.
OK—-Now here is how to make and use your own aloe vera gel—-
How to Make Your Own Aloe Vera Gel
You’ll need a mature aloe plant. I like to use leaves that are at least 8 inches long, and preferably longer than that.
Step 1) Cut one of the lower leaves off near the base of the plant. You’ll want to cut at an angle, which helps the plant heal.
Step 2) Wash your leaf with water and be sure it’s dry. You’ll also want to wash your hands for cleanliness.
Step 3) Now cut your leaf into two inch sections. You’ll immediately see the large amount of gel and the slimy liquid that emerges. It’s ALL good stuff. Aloe is filled with soothing mucilage, so you want both the clear liquid and the clear gel.
You may see a yellowish liquid, and this is heavy in a latex type compound. You don’t need to use this, and especially not internally. It’s usually the first part to drip out, and I just wipe it up. If a little gets into your gel, it’s not a big deal, unless you are planning to use it internally. (It’s this liquid that can cause a laxative effect.)
Step 4) Cut the edges off these sections, and open up your leaf sections. Use a spoon or a butter knife to scrape out the gel and liquid into a clean bowl.
Step 5) Mix the two gels (liquid and solid) in a jar. You can blend them together if you want a consistent, smooth texture (recommended). If you want, add a couple drops of Vitamin E and/or a bit of citric acid to help preserve it for longer. It will last up to a year in your refrigerator.
That’s it! Now you have a powerful healing gel.
How to Use Your Aloe Vera Gel
1) Itchy Skin:
You can create a cream with aloe gel, or just do like I do and rub in directly on the skin.
2) Stimulating Hair Growth:
I like to take about 2 tablespoons or so of the gel and add a drop or two of rosemary essential oil. Rub that into your scalp after washing and conditioning your hair in the shower. You can leave it it (it also defrizzes hair according to some people) or rinse it out.
3) For Use in Homemade Beauty Products:
Aloe gel can be added to hand sanitizers made with witch hazel and water, to creams and beauty products, and even in hair masks!
4) For Soothing and Speeding the Healing of Sunburn and Minor Burns:
You can rub the gel directly on the sunburn or minor burn for quick relief of pain and intensity of the burn. It will speed the healing significantly.
NOTE: You do not want to put aloe vera gel on open burns, including blisters that have freshly popped. Aloe can inhibit the healing on open wounds.
5) Lowering Cholesterol:
There is some evidence that using small amounts of aloe vera gel or juice internally can help lower cholesterol levels, especially LDL up to 12%. There’s not a lot of research done on this yet, but here is where I found this information.
6) Mouth and Tooth Care:
You can use aloe vera gel as a mouth rinse. Evidence suggests it may help reduce dental plaque!
7) For Sanitizing Hands and Cleaning Areas:
Making a hand sanitizer which includes aloe vera gel will increase the sanitizing effect! This is because aloe vera contains compounds that may inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
8) Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Prevention:
Some studies suggest that aloe vera can help your body increase collagen production! Collagen is necessary for youthful looking skin.
Final Thoughts on Aloe Vera Gel and Making Your Own
I know some people who use a LOT of aloe vera gel. They use it in everything. That’s just fine, but if you are not making your own gel from your own plants, you really need to be sure you are using ONLY 100% pure aloe vera gel.
You can tell a natural product if there is a natural preservative like citric acid and vitamin E added only. Perhaps some rosemary essential oil. Any weird chemicals, and I wouldn’t trust it.
Any bright or strange colors…run for the hills. Aloe vera gel should be a clear very light yellow or green color.
That’s just another reason why it’s best to make your own. You need to be sure to read those labels if you’re buying so-called “natural” products. A company can actually say, “100% gel”, and in reality, yes. It’s all gel. But that gel consists of all kinds of chemicals. Just do your due diligence!
I hope you consider buying yourself an aloe vera plant or two or four! You can find them in good nurseries and even in grocery stores with a floral department (that’s where I picked up my last one).
Or friends! If you have a friend who grows one, you can ask for a cutting. A friend of mine gave me a cutting she had simply stuck into soil after letting it dry for a day or so. It grew into a wonderful plant!
There are also nurseries that will sell you plants online. Here’s a nice looking trio of mature aloe vera plants for a very reasonable price on Amazon!
That’s all I have now on the topic of Aloe Vera. I’ll be making some specific recipes in upcoming posts that use aloe, so stay tuned for those!
Do you use aloe vera gel for anything? Leave comments about your experiences or any questions you have in the comments section.
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And there are many more over on the blog you’ll like too! So go over and check things out!
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. In no manner, stated or implied, is any wording meant to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any disease. These statements are simply my opinion based on experience and study. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Please seek medical advice from your doctor before using herbs or essential oils.