Aloe Vera, the Potted Physician

Updated on February 22, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna writes about the care of plants (indoors, outdoors, and in gardens). She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.

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Great Deal of Relief

The first time I came across an aloe vera plant was when a boyfriend offered it as a treatment for my sunburn. He was very sweet since he did spend the whole day with me at the lake and felt responsible for my painful state. In all, I felt a great deal of relief and loved the attention I was getting from my boyfriend. My interest was piqued, and I researched and discovered aloe vera is not just for sunburns. The unassuming plant is a natural healing agent and has a lengthy list of historical references for medicinal purposes.

For eras, herbal doctors and medical practitioners have considered aloe vera as a medicinal plant or "the potted physician". Corresponding medical journals report the plant has noticeably reduced surgery convalescent time, efficiently treated intestinal health problems and inhibited and relieved arthritis.

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Historical Remedy

Alexander the Great overpowered many parts of Africa in order to retain the aloe plant to mend his injured men.

In 1935, the aloe plant was extremely victorious in remedying skin lesions produced by X-rays.

Gel From The Plant

The genuine aloe vera plant exclusively presents potent restorative effects built naturally, as healing should be. The green daggered-shaped leaves are teeming with a clear gel. The gel contains 96% water and 4% comprising of 75 known ingredients that heal the body. Smeared onto wounds, aloe gel is a temperate analgesic that alleviates itching as well as swelling and soreness. It is even an antiseptic while increasing the blood flow to injured areas so they can heal. The medicinal plant also promotes fibroblasts because of an enzyme in the plant. Fibroblasts are skin cells in charge of healing wounds. The enzyme discovered in aloe vera gel is deemed as a crucial component in charge of the gel’s capacity to heal burns.

The gel that is taken straight from the daggered-shape leaf is the best aloe gel for treating injuries. Any unused portion keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Make an effort to avoid processed gel in containers that claim a percentage of aloe vera as an alternative to the genuine aloe vera.

Growing Aloe Vera Plant

Maintaining a healthy aloe vera plant is definitely as crucial as your aloe vera plant maintaining your health. Aloe vera flourishes on lack of attention, but the tropical or subtropical indigenous cannot endure temperatures plentiful below 40 degrees F. Even the lightest of frost reduces the green plant to a blackened, discharge of dead flesh.

For the most part, the reports I have read say the plant thrives in a bright area without direct sunlight. It should rest in soil that is well-drained and porous—a sandy but coarse soil that’s not overly rich.

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Don't Overwater

Recommendations are to water the plant two times a month and once a week when the climate is warmer. Keep in mind, poor drainage or overwatering is its worse enemies.

Aloe vera is not a succulent or cactus, but part of the lily family. Aloe vera flowers are so vibrant and a surprising addition to the foliage. In March and April, you will see yellow flowers. Some even are known to sprout shades of orange, pink, red, gray, and white. The buds begin as a spike and progressively they get larger and lastly open. The blooms last a good, long time. The beauty of the flowers is a wonder to witness.

Attracts Hummingbirds

The flowers are favorites of hummingbirds. If the plant is outside, listen and watch for the buzz of those lovely creatures. Simply keep in mind that aloe vera is not a difficult plant to grow, and follow these basic rules.

  • Make available plenty of area for the plant’s root ball to grow. Aloes are limitless growers, and having a large area growth is essential. When repotting the plant, keep this rule in mind. The plant needs a growth area so the root ball can extend three to five times its size.
  • Use well-drained soil that is porous.
  • Most aloe vera plants grow between April and October, accordingly water consistently with that in mind. Water when the soil is dry. If in doubt, it is best not to water.
  • Fertilize the plants two times a month from April until the end of September, using a low-nitrogen fertilizer that is heavily watered down.
  • Various aloe vera plants propagate by producing offshoots from the side of the plant. They are called “pups.” Once a pup is completely developed, carefully separate it from its parent plant. Give the plant some time to callous over for a couple of days in a dry area that is cool, not hot. Place the new plant in a pot with plenty of area in the pot to grow. Sometimes the plant will grow roots right away. If that is the case pot the plant as an adult. If there are no roots, avoid watering until the roots form. Misting every couple of days is fine. After the plant’s roots emerge, which takes about a month, and the plant has grown some, you can water it.

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Take Care of Your Plant

There are limited plants like the aloe vera that are easy to grow and easy to use for medicinal functions. Just keep in mind, if you take care of your plant, it will help take care of you.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Kenna McHugh

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      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        2 months ago from Northern California

        I have always grown my aloes in pots. Recently a nursery gave some little ones away. They looked like the frost got to them. I snatched one and literally tossed it into my plant bed in a protected spot from frost. I didn't think it would live because the frost had burned it pretty good. It's been there for two months and is flourishing.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 months ago from the short journey

        A neat look at the Aloe Vera plant. It really is an amazing plant on every level. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get some started, and for the potting info as that's how I would have to grow them.

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        5 months ago from Northern California

        You're welcome, anytime.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 

        5 months ago from Ohio

        That is very helpful. Thank you. :)

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        5 months ago from Northern California

        I am not sure if dogs and cats get along with aloe vera plants. I don't see why not because the plant is edible. There are animal products, like soaps and such, for dogs and cats that have aloe vera as one of the ingredients. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for visiting.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 

        5 months ago from Ohio

        I think I need to get some aloe vera plants. I worry about plants because of my pets. Is it OK for dogs and cats to nibble at?

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        5 months ago from Northern California

        I have potted Aloes because it gets cold where I live, too. The plants do flower better outdoors in the subtropics or tropics.

      • Rochelle Frank profile image

        Rochelle Frank 

        5 months ago from California Gold Country

        What an interesting and informative article. I lived in So Cal for most of my life, so have had many Aloes in my yards, but never really took advantage of the medicinal advantages. I'm going to try to get a potted one. We do have periods of frost and freeze where I am now.

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        5 months ago from Northern California

        Thelma, the Philippines is perfect for growing aloe plants. I didn't mention using them in smoothies. I don't know why. This true. Thank you for bringing it to our attention, and I appreciate the read and comment.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        5 months ago from Germany

        I have aloe vera plants in my garden in the Philippines and they are indeed easy to take care of. I use the aloe gelly for many things line mixing it with other fruits as smoothie drink. Thanks for sharing.

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