Why buy expensive Aloe vera soothing products
for stings, cuts, abrasions and skin problems etc
when you can make your own for free?
It is so easy to do. All you need, really, is an Aloe
vera plant – and we can supply you with that.
Simply go to the Health and Wellbeing section of
our shop at www.wikaniko.com and get your very
own Aloe vera plant!
The next thing you need to do is simply nurture it and wait until it grows a
Aloe vera is a succulent that belongs to the liliaceae family (lily). It is
commonly known as Aloe, Aloe vera, Barbados Aloe, Sabila and Pita Sabila.
The word ‘aloe’ has its roots in the Arabic word ‘alloeh’, which means
‘radiance’. The earliest documented use of Aloe vera comes from Ancient
Egypt, and it can be seen on the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Apparently it was
a herbal remedy used in embalming mummies both as a superb preservative
and also as an excellent preventative agent against tuberculosis and other
respiratory complications innate to that kind of work. The earliest recorded
use for pharmalogical reasons was in ancient Sumeria about 1750BC, where
it was found to be an excellent remedy for stomach irritations and nausea. It
was also a favourite of King Solomon and Alexander the Great. The
conquerer’s doctors apparently used it whenever they found it growing wild,
mainly for battle wounds and as a system stabilizer. As per legend, it was the
miraculous healing power of Aloe Vera that prompted Alexander the Great to
conquer the island of Socotra. Cleopatra’s famed beauty is also attributed to
the natural goodness of Aloe vera.
A native plant of Somalia with a history dating back to the fourth century B.C,
Aloe vera also figures prominently in Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, Indian and
Christian literature. Whilst the Arabs have a tradition of placing it at graves as
a symbol of regeneration and resurrection, the African hunters used its gel as
a deodorant. With the recent resurgence of herbal products as a part of the
‘green movement’, Aloe vera is witnessing a new renaissance across the
It has been used for a variety of ailments, and as an ointment for burns, cuts,
and rashes, as well as an ingredient in various beauty preparations.
The sap of the Aloe is a thick, mucilaginous gel. It is this gel which is used
medicinally. The outer skin has essentially no value, but because it is
commercially easier and less expensive to utilize the entire leaf, 'whole leaf'
Aloe juice has been hyped as the 'best'. This probably isn’t the case.
The Aloe plant is actually displayed on the coat of arms of the Royal College
of Veterinary Surgeons – such was the emphasis that they placed on its use
for treating sick animals. Today it is still well used in many forms, and Aloe
Gel can be brought from many outlets. However, it is not usually cheap, and
certainly isn't as good as having a never ending supply of Aloe vera from a
continually growing plant.
How to Care For Your New Plant
Although you may feel that you shouldn’t tear off the leaves of a living plant,
they heal themselves as well as they heal us and eventually each plant will
throw out more and more offshoots to replenish itself. They are best kept on a
sunny window sill, where they can be watered and cared for throughout the
year. They do not like extremes, especially the cold, so somewhere with a
fairly sunny outlook and constant temperature is best. The only real threat to
their survival is frost, They are succulents, so treat them in the same way you
would treat a cactus. There are over 250 species of Aloes in the world, mostly
native to Africa. They range in size from little one inch miniatures to massive
plant colonies consisting of hundreds of 2 foot diameter plants. Although most
Aloes have some medicinal or commercial value, the most commonly known
is the Aloe barbadensis... better known as Aloe vera.
Aloes make excellent house plants when they are given sufficient light. Potted
Aloes benefit from spending the summer outdoors. Older specimens may
even bloom, producing a tall stock covered with bright coloured coral flowers.
Aloe flower nectar is a favourite of hummingbirds (although you may not see
too many of them in your back garden….). The plants have a lifespan of about
12 years, so if looked after they will become outstanding value for money - not
to mention that during that time you will be able to take numerous ‘pups’ that
the plants give off, to make new plants to give to your friends – or even sell at
local craft markets etc. and make a little extra money!
Aloe plants consist of 95% water. If they are grown outdoors in warm
climates, they should be planted in full sun, or light shade. The soil should be
moderately fertile, and fast draining. Established plants will survive a drought
quite well, but for the benefit of the plant, water should be provided.
Unless you live in area with a very mild climate, it's best to leave your Aloe
plant in the pot and place it near a window that gets a lot of sun. You can
move the pot outdoors during the summer months.
Since Aloe vera is a succulent, it stores a large quantity of water within its
leaves and root system. During the winter months, the plant will become
somewhat dormant, and utilize very little moisture. During this period watering
should be minimal. Allow the soil to become completely dry before giving the
plant a cup or two of water. During the summer months, the soil should be
completely soaked, but then be allowed to dry again before re-watering. Do
not let the roots sit in water!
Aloes have a shallow, spreading root system, so when it is time to repot
choose a wide planter, rather than a deep one. Use a planter with a drainage
hole, or provide a 1-2 inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot to ensure
adequate drainage. Use a good commercial potting mix with extra perlite,
granite grit, or coarse sand added. You may also use a packaged 'cacti mix'
soil. Fertilize yearly, in the spring with a diluted (half the strength that it says
on the bottle or packet), bloom type fertilizer. Aloes are propagated by
removing the offsets which are produced around the base of mature plants,
when they are a couple inches tall (or larger). They may also be grown from
Properties of Aloe vera
The various constituent elements found in Aloe vera include :
Vitamins : Beta-carotene, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Folic acid, Vitamin C,
Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6,Vitamin E, Choline.
Minerals : Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Copper, Iron, Manganese,
Potassium, Zinc, Chromium, Chlorine.
Amino Acids : Lysine, Threonine, Valine, Methionine, Leucine, Isoleucine,
Phenylaianine, Tryptophane, Histidine, Arginine, Hydroxy Proline, Aspartic
acid, Serine, Glutamic acid, Proline, Glycerine, Alanine, Cystine and Tyrosine.
Anthraquinones : Aloin, Isobarbaloin, Barbaloin, Cinnamic acid,Emodin, Aloe
Emodin, Ester of Cinnamic acid, Anthracene, Antranol, Aloetic acid, Ethereal
oils, Resistannols and Crysophanic acid.
Mono and polysaccharides : Cellulose, Glucose, Mannose, Galactose,
Aldonentose, L-rhamnose, Uronic acid, Xylose, Glucuronic acid and
Enzymes : Oxidase, Amylase, Catalase, Lipase and Alinase.
Benefits of Aloe vera
The important therapeutic uses of Aloe vera include
• The long chain mannan polysaccharides in the plant helps activate and
boost the Immune System.
• The magnesium lactate and salicylates in it effectively avert Allergies,
Sinusitis and Bronchitis.
• The molecules in it act as anti-inflammatory agent, a cure for arthritis,
and promote good circulation for the heart and nervous system.
• The polysaccharides in it bring down the bodies serum lipids, and thus
lower triglyceride and LDL level (bad cholesterol) and increase of HDL
• As an antioxidant, it guards against damage by free radicals and
unwarranted toxins in the body. It also regulates blood pressure, and
acts in rheumatism, arthritis, and infections of the kidney, the urinary
tract and the prostate.
• By the combined and synergistic effect of the various ingredients in it,
Aloe Vera aids in treatment of peptic ulcers, stomach disorders, acidity,
indigestion, gastritis and ulcers, colitis and haemorrhoids, cirrhosis,
hepatitis and diabetes.
The list of different illnesses and conditions, that may be helped by the use of
Aloe vera is indeed impressive, covering everything from burns and slight
infections to very serious conditions.
A. Acne, aching joints and muscles, asthma, athletes foot, abscesses,
arthritis, allergy rashes, age spots, acid indigestion.
B. Brown skin spots, burns, boils, blood pressure, bruising, bad breath,
bleeding, bowel problems / conditions, blisters, bronchitis.
C. Cancer treatment (i.e. helps case the radiation effects), cuts and
wounds, colon cleansing, constipation, calcium, chapping, cataracts,
cradle cap, cystitis, candida, circulation, colitis, colic.
D. Digestive problems, diarrhoea, dermatitis, dandruff, diabetes,
detoxification, duodenal ulcer, diaper (nappy) rash, denture sores,
E. Eye and ear problems (inflammation, infection), eczema, energy loss.
G. Gum disease, bleeding gums.
H. Hair and scalp, heat rash, haemorrhoids, headache.
I. Infection, inflammation, itching, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion,
insomnia, influenza, insect bite.
K. Kidney ailments
L. Liver ailments, laryngitis.
M. Moisturizes, mouth ulcers, muscle cramps.
N. Nasal congestion, nutrition, cracked nipples, nausea.
O. Operation recovery.
P. Psoriasis, prickly heat, pimple, peptic ulcer, pain relief.
R. Radiation burns, razor burn, rheumatism, rashes.
S. Scar removal, scalp problems, sinusitis, sore throat, scalding, stomach
disorders, sciatica, strains, sprains, skin problems, stress shingles,
stings, styles, sunburns.
T. Tonsillitis, thrush, teething, tennis elbow.
U. Ulcers (all kinds)
V. Varicose veins, veterinary treatments, venereal sores.
W. Warts, wind chapping.
Aloe vera has many uses and benefits. It:
• helps heal minor burns, cuts and rashes;
• helps alleviate the pain of sunburn while speeding healing;
• works as a skin moisturizer;
• has anti-inflammatory properties;
...and much more.
As you can clearly see, Aloe vera effectively treats mainly skin diseases like
acne, eczema, herpes, psoriasis and many others. When prescribed
medications failed, many frustrated patients tried Aloe vera and achieved
outstanding results. Why more dermatologists do not recommend all-natural
Aloe vera as a first-step treatment, rather than subjecting their patients to less
effective and more costly drugs, is a mystery. Aloe vera is time-tested and
proven by many clinical studies to be safe and effective, and unlike most
prescribed drugs, allergic reactions and other side effects are virtually
nonexistent. Let’s rid our young adults of this robber (skin diseases) of self-
• As a general rule, keep in mind that products that include "Aloe vera
extract" or "reconstituted Aloe vera" may be much less potent than
pure (more than 98%) Aloe vera. Put another way, be sure to look at
the label on any commercial aloe product to see if aloe vera is one of
the first few ingredients listed.
• For sunburn preparations, confirm that the product contains at least
20% Aloe vera.
• Aloe vera latex is available in capsule form, usually in combination with
other (and more gentle) laxatives.
For burns, cuts, scrapes, shingles, and other skin problems: Apply aloe
gel to the affected area two or three times a day. For sunburns, you can also
add 1 or 2 cups of Aloe vera juice to a tub of lukewarm water and soak.
For heartburn: Drink 2 ounces of juice four times a day.
For ulcers and diverticular disorders: Drink 1/2 cup of Aloe vera juice twice
a day for one month. If you are also taking psyllium for a diverticular disorder,
allow at least two hours to elapse before having Aloe vera juice.
For warts: Dab a small amount of fresh or prepared Aloe vera gel on a
compress made of cotton gauze or flannel, and place over the wart. Change
the dressing and apply new Aloe vera daily. Improvement should be evident in
three to four days.
Be sure to check out our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Aloe Vera,
which lists therapeutic dosages for specific ailments at a glance.
Guidelines for Use
• The most effective and economical source of the gel is an Aloe vera
plant, which is easy to grow, even on a sunny city window sill. Cut off
one of its plumper leaves and wash it off with soap and water. Then slit
the leaf lengthwise, and squeeze out the clear gel from the centre.
Apply and gently spread the gel on to the painful area and let it dry;
repeat the application as needed.
• Use common sense when treating a wound; before applying Aloe vera
gel, first clean the area thoroughly.
• When buying Aloe vera juice, check to make sure that the one you
select is derived from Aloe vera gel, not from aloe latex. Also make
sure the juice product contains a minimum of 98% Aloe vera and that it
does not have any aloin or aloe-emoin compounds, the key substances
in aloe latex.
• Be sure to drink Aloe vera juice between meals.
• When shopping for Aloe vera juice, look for the "IASC-certified" seal; it
is allowed only on products that contain certified raw ingredients that
have been processed according to standards set by the International
Aloe Science Council, a voluntary certification organization.
• Creams and ointments should contain at least 20% aloe
• Be aware that the long-term use of any laxative, including Aloe vera
latex, can cause you to lose an excessive amount of the mineral
potassium. The low blood levels of potassium can be further worsened
if you are also taking a potassium-draining diuretic ("water-pill") like
hydrochlorothiazide or furosemide.
• Dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities can develop if you take a
digitalis heart medication (like digoxin or Lanoxin) along with a
potassium-losing diuretic and the Aloe vera latex. Consult your doctor
• If you are on oral corticosteroids, such as beclomethasone,
methylprednisolone, or prednisolone, it is important not to overuse or
misuse Aloe vera juice. A potassium deficiency can develop, and you
may experience toxic effects from the medication.
• If you are on the oral corticosteroid fludorocortisone (Florinef), it is
important not to overuse or misuse Aloe vera latex. A potassium
deficiency can develop, and you may experience toxic effects from the
Possible Side Effects
• As a topical treatment, Aloe vera is quite safe. Occasionally, some
people develop a mild allergic reaction marked by itching or a rash. If
this occurs, discontinue use.
• Due to improper processing, Aloe vera juice sometimes contains small
quantities of the laxative compound in aloe latex. Should you begin to
have cramps, diarrhoea, or loose stools, do not ingest any more of the
juice and replace it with a new supply.
• Don't take an Aloe vera latex laxative if you are pregnant or breast-
feeding; it may trigger uterine contractions. Also avoid using it during a
• Children and the elderly should not consume an Aloe vera latex
laxative internally. In addition, laxatives of any kind should never be
used by anyone with an intestinal obstruction, an acutely inflammatory
intestinal disease (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis),
appendicitis, or abdominal pain of unknown cause.
Burns Apply gel to affected areas of skin as needed.
Cuts and scrapes Apply cream or gel liberally to wound 2 or 3 times a day
Heartburn 2 oz. juice 4 times a day
Insect Apply 4 times a day to bitten area for symptom relief
Shingles Apply liberal amount of gel to blistered skin as needed
Sports injuries Apply gel to affected areas 3 or 4 times a day as needed.
Sunburn Apply gel to affected areas as needed
Ulcers 1/2 cup juice twice a day for one month
Warts Put a pea-sized amount of gel on a compress. Apply as usual
In summary, the Aloe vera plant has the ability to provide essential nutrients;
to promote healthy tissue growth by the reduction of inflammation; and to kill
bacteria and other foreign organisms that attack damaged or unhealthy skin. It
not only works with the skin, but also the digestive tract and the body's
immune system. It is Mother Nature's solution to living a healthier more
Most people use Aloe simply by cutting off a piece of leaf and squeezing the
liquid onto their skin. This works to some extent, but it wastes the potent inner
gel, (this is the most potent part of the plant). To use the gel, you'll need to
"fillet" the leaves rather than merely squeezing them. The filleting process
also reaps much more Aloe gel/juice. When properly prepared and
refrigerated, this final product can for many months – perhaps up to a year.
And there is nothing more soothing than cool Aloe vera gel straight from the
fridge on bites, burns, etc.
When Your Baby Plant Arrives….
Once received, open immediately, and pot up with any good
potting compost - cactus compost can also be used). The
quicker they are potted up and placed in their new home the
quicker they will recover from the stress of the journey. Don’t
worry if the leaves go a little brown. With a little care, they will
soon turn green again.
How To Make Your Own Products
First of all, here’s a little terminology. Starting from the outside of the leaf and
working inwards, we have the "rind", the "sap", the "mucilage" and lastly, the
central core of "gel", also known as the "gel fillet".
For home uses, the rind is only good for composting. The yellow sap (also
called "aloin" or latex) should be avoided when possible. It's used as an
ingredient in laxatives, and can cause diarrhoea and other problems if taken
internally. The mucilage and gel are the most important parts of the plant for
home medicinal use.
IMPORTANT: Aloe should be processed within a couple of hours of harvest at
most so as to prevent oxidation.
Begin by selecting a large, healthy outer leaf that's close to the soil. These are
the oldest and most potent. (If none of the leaves are close to the ground, the
plant may be too immature to harvest.) Cut close to the base of the plant at a
Stand your leaf upright in a slightly tilted container for roughly 10 minutes.
This allows much of the sap to drain out. You may not see the sap in smaller
leaves. To make your task less messy, wear latex gloves like the
professionals do. This is also good practise, as you will reduce any
contamination from your hands.
Lay the leaf down on a clean flat surface, or clean cutting board. Carefully use
a sharp knife to cut off the tip of the leaf and its serrated edges, all the way
down both sides. Slice the inside of the leaf lengthwise so that the front and
back can be separated.
Using a spoon or (for larger leaves) a butter knife, scoop out the mucilage (the
slimy stuff) and the gel (the clear, solid "fillet"). Press down firmly, but lightly.
Too much force may scrape out sap, which you want to avoid.
We advise against using your fresh Aloe juice internally. It is difficult to
remove all of the sap, and this can have negative health consequences,
particularly for pregnant women, elderly people and young children. Aloe can
be useful internally for specific ailments, but we recommend that you consult
with a naturopathic physician before undertaking this type of treatment.
If you've consulted with a naturopath and want to use your juice internally,
process only the clear gel fillet. Rinse it in a mild vinegar solution (vinegar
mixed with water) to remove more of the sap's residue. Eat or drink the
amount prescribed as soon as possible for maximum benefit. You may want
to flavour it with something tart, salty or sweet (such as fruit juice). Save
excess gel by freezing it.
For external use, you can mix the gel and mucilage together to create your
"juice". The gel can be difficult to liquidify. Some people puree it using the
base of a blender. This also works well for chopping spices and nuts.
Aloe juice that hasn't been commercially processed tends to have an
unpleasant odour. This is normal and won't affect its properties.
Don't forget to store your Aloe juice in the fridge. Use a glass or food-safe
plastic container. Brown or dark green glass is best to block out excess light.
Even a small amount of Aloe juice can go a long way. To make it last even
longer and to prevent discolouration (your juice will eventually turn brown),
add a drop of vitamin E and a drop of grapefruit seed extract, or mix in some
citric acid powder. Remember, however, that Aloe is best when fresh.
It is safe and easy to sell the plants at craft fairs etc if you have bought them
at wholesale from us. However, we would advise against selling any Aloe vera
gel that you make on a commercial basis. The best idea is to take some along
with you in a cool box when you sell the plants, and let people try it. You will
sell lots of plants like that!
If on the other hand, you have bought the plant for your own personal or
family use, then you will enjoy the healing properties of this wonderful natural
gel. It has been used for centuries – so apart from benefiting from it yourself,
you are continuing to ensure that the Aloe vera doesn’t get forgotten as one of
nature’s healers, like so many other plants have.
The Wikaniko Team