If you live in a warm, sunny climate, chances are you will have some Aloe vera plants growing in your garden, or in pots and containers on a sunny terrace.
Aloe vera has some incredible healing properties that I have personally made use of to my never-ending amazement.
Aloe vera comes into its own when you need to treat a cut, graze burn, or scald.
To use as a soothing, naturally healing balm, simply break off one of the succulent spear-like leaves from the main plant, split the hard skin with your fingernail, or a sharp knife and rub the soft, gooey gel directly onto the wound.
If the wound is a bad one, you can leave a blob of Aloe vera gel in place and bind the wound with clean gauze.
Fast Wound Healing
You'll be surprised at how quickly the wound heals and how well the Aloe vera keeps out any infection.
I personally used it on a very deep cut I sustained while up at my mountain home a couple of years ago. I could not get to a hospital and the cut on the back of my leg was very deep and would have needed stitches.
I cleaned out the wound with fresh water, then forced a lump of Aloe vera gel into the wound. I then squeezed the skin together and bound it tightly.
Within three days, the wound had closed and there was no infection. I kept changing the dressing twice a day, always leaving a fresh piece of Aloe vera gel on the newly forming scar tissue.
Within a week the bandage was no longer needed and the scar was clean and healed. Within a month you could hardly see the scar!
Now that's good stuff. I wonder how long that wound would have taken to heal using conventional methods?
A Balm for Sunburn
Another good use for Aloe vera is to sooth sunburn. Rub the gel liberally all over the affected skin.
It is immediately cooling and soothing and will quickly heal the burned skin.
The best part is that it also soothes any painful feeling on your skin while it gets to work to reduce redness and allow for natural tanning to occur.
There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that treating sunburn quickly with this gel can greatly reduce the chances of any of the area becoming cancerous. However, there is no medical evidence to support this information (which doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't work).
If you suffer with mouth ulcers, pop a piece of Aloe vera gel into you mouth and hold it against the ulcer. It will heal much faster than if you use a contemporary gel.
Active ingredients in the gel act as a pro-biotic in much the same way as eating a bio-yoghurt, which is good for the health of your gut flora!
It is also a powerful anti-oxidant. So it will help to mop up those nasty free radicals and protect your body's cells from oxidative damage.
A lesser known use of Aloe vera I found recently was as unusual as it was surprising.
Have you ever left a leather jacket or shoes in a damp cupboard for too long only to take it out and find it covered in smelly white mould? I did last winter and was about to throw the jacket out.
But I had just been using Aloe vera as an after-shave (yes, it is an excellent one!) and had some left over. I absent mindedly rubbed some onto a pot on the affected jacket.
I was amazed to see it clean the spot of mould off really fast. So I carried on and covered the whole jacket in Aloe vera.
The mould was completely removed and once the leather was dry, there was no more mouldy smell.
I still wear that jacket to this day!
If you live in a warm climate as I do, you can grow your own supply of Aloe vera barbadensis plants. A greenhouse is needed in colder climates, but it can be grown there too.
They propagate easily, creating their own off-shoots in the pot that you can easily pull out and replant. That will maintain a constant supply of this amazing, versatile natural remedy for so many ailments.
Is that a good all round plant or what!