Plant hints and tips

Bites of ideas...
How to get the most from each leaf...
After you have cut a piece of the aloe leaf to use, the inner aloe gel will keep for about a week if put in a plastic bag and kept chilled in a fridge. Don't keep it in the freezer though as the defrosting process will break down the properties quickly. You will know when the gel has gone off as the pale, transluscent quality will darken and eventually blacken as it oxidizes.
To make a soothing skin balm fillet a fat aloe leaf and discard the outer skin. Chop the gel into very fine pieces and push through a fine sieve to make as smooth a finish as you can. Add to this cucumber and a small amount of runny honey. The cucumber needs to be of the same consistency as the aloe gel and once all is mixed test on a small patch of skin first in case of an allergic reaction (it's unlikely but you'd best be sure). If all's okay after about 30 mins, apply generously to face and neck and leave for as long as possible before washing off. Your skin will be rehydrated, revitalised and soft. Keep what's left in an airtight jar in the fridge. Use before discoloration sets in. Once you've tried that, have a go at your own blends (try avocado), just make sure your skin will enjoy what you use!
For a speedy fix on a skin injury.This is fantastic for deeper cuts, ulcers, boils, raw scar tissue, burns etc which do not need professional intervention but is more than a plaster and a bit of savlon can cope with. This can be done on animals as well. Cut a leaf to the size you need from the plant, with a sharp knife skim off the outer skin on one side of the leaf and then trim the spiky edges so the gel is exposed on one side only. Clean wound thoroughly and apply the leaf to the wound gel side down, cover with gauze or similar medical protection and tape down around all sides. Leave overnight and refresh each day until the wound is healed. Scarring will be greatly reduced if you use your aloe plant right up until the scab has fallen off (naturally - not picked off!!!).
Burns. Aloe vera is sometimes called the burn plant, not because it causes burns but for it's fantastic ability to heal them. Whether they are from an iron, the oven, steam or friction burns and even sunburn, all need a quick cooling to minimise blistering. So run your injury under cold water while someone grabs you a piece of aloe leaf. Wipe the inner gel generously onto the burn and repeat once absorbed. Thereafter repeat every hour, gradually reducing application as the burn heals. I guarantee you will not believe how well aloe deals with this sort of injury, blistering can even be completely avoided and pain is reduced dramatically.
Cold sores. As soon as you feel that telltale 'tingle', wipe aloe onto the area. If you are quick enough you will prevent the sore from breaking out (it's important to re-apply as much as possible). If you're too late to prevent (you're at work - plant's at home...), keep applying anyway as you can still get rid of the pain and also the sore will heal very quickly.
Softening leather. Mrs H from Leicestershire wiped aloe gel onto a pair of old leather gardening gloves which had hardened and were unusable (a bit of "what the hey...I'm only going to chuck them anyway). After a day or so, when she looked at them again they had softened, so they're back on her hands working in the garden!
Animal injury. Apply the aloe gel to cut pads, post-operative wounds, sores etc. The great thing being that if the animal licks it off and ingests it, it will do no harm. Aloe is ideal for show animals as the plant has the ability to heal skin so as to reduce the apprearance of proud flesh. This less scarring on animals with hair allows the hair to grow back smoothly.
Gammy toes. The aloe gel has antifungal properties which will clear fungal infections such as athletes foot, it's moisturizing and cooling properties make the clearing of this sort of problem a pleasure. You will be stunned at how quickly an infection can clear when aloe is used.
Dishpan hands. For sore and irritated skin on the hands from washing dishes etc apply the aloe gel after each exposure to the irritant. If the irritant is a washing liquid/powder or similar make sure you rinse the residue from your skin first with clean water. Once the aloe has cleared the problem you should only need to apply once a day.
Bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. The aloe gel can be mixed with your toothpaste to alleviate the pain of mouth ulcers and to quickly help bleeding gums. Mix 50/50 aloe gel and toothpaste (preferably a non-abrasive one) and apply twice daily. You could use the plant on its own and apply directly to the affected areas - but you need to have dead taste buds!!
Hair loss. For thinning, patchy or complete hair loss which has been caused by illness or stress, aloe gel can be applied generously to the scalp and left to be absorbed. The wide range of naturally occurring nutrients feed the hair follicles and the moisturizing properties soften the skin. It is also strongly recommended that you take Forever Living aloe vera in a fortifying drink after illness or when stress is this high.
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