Aloe vera is more than a beautiful succulent.
Other than its use in house decor, aloe vera has a long history of medicinal uses. In fact, the uses for aloe vera may surprise you. Its clear, sticky gel provides a number of health and personal care benefits.
Hint: It’s good for more than just sunburn relief.
From healing eczema to relieving acid reflux, this stunning plant is as useful as it is gorgeous. Best of all, you can grow aloe vera indoors (in a bright, sunny area) for your personal use any time you may need its healing powers.
Here’s a look at the variety of uses for aloe vera you can try anytime!
Five Uses for Aloe Vera You’ll Love
Aloe vera is one of those versatile plants you can’t help but adore.
Not only is it pretty to look at, but it also offers great health benefits and natural remedies in gel and juice form. With more than 420 types of species, the one that’s used in aloe-based products is called the Aloe Barbadensis Miller plant. When you drink it, you can reduce inflammation and soothe your digestive tract while getting a nutritional boost.
It includes nutrients and vitamins like:
Whether you drink it or smooth it onto your skin, your body can benefit from its natural healing powers. From soothing dry skin to keeping hydrated, you’ll love these aloe vera uses:
Hydrates Your Cells
Post-workout, you’ll find aloe vera juice works as a great hydration method and offers a bit of flavor. The water-dense aloe plant will not only hydrate you but will also help your body flush out toxins released during your workout routine. A few swigs of aloe vera juice replenishes several nutrients and vitamins as well, making this a great after-workout drink.
How to Use It:
Looking for a beverage with a little more flavor than plain water? Skip the H2O and give aloe vera juice a try. There are flavored and sugary brands on the market, but the best kind is straight cold-processed aloe.
Natural DIY Beauty Supply
If you like going natural, you can incorporate aloe vera into your daily beauty routine. Because of the anti-inflammatory benefits of aloe vera, it can help reduce an acne flare. Dealing with skin issues like eczema or psoriasis? Aloe vera can potentially alleviate the itchiness caused by those skin conditions. Twice daily, apply the fresh gel right on the skin to reduce inflammation.
How to Use It:
Aside from applying it to dry spots, you can also use aloe vera as a makeup remover, hair conditioner, or a brow gel. If your skin is particularly inflamed, you may want to try drinking aloe vera juice for more vibrant skin.
Protects Your Produce
If you grow your own veggies or buy organic, you may consider coating your produce with aloe gel from the aloe vera plant. In 2014, Cambridge University Press published a study that reported how aloe vera kept tomatoes fresh. A similar study was done on apples, too. By coating the produce in the gel, it kept the fruits and veggies fresh without the need for harmful chemicals often used to increase shelf longevity.
How to Use It:
Because of its edible nature and its antifungal and antibacterial properties, you may consider trying this out on your produce to see if you like the texture and taste. Try it with a small fruit like a handful of grapes to see how it works for you.
Keeps the Acid Reflux Burn Away
If you have ever had acid reflux, you know how uncomfortable it can be. It can strike any time — usually after a large meal or at night — if you suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). When you drink pure aloe vera juice, it reduces acid secretion and soothes any inflammation from the acid in your digestive tract.
How to Use It:
Look for pure, undyed aloe vera juice. Start with two tablespoons daily to see how it eases your acid reflux symptoms. It may be useful after a particularly spicy meal or if you’ve eaten too much in one sitting.
Heals Skin That’s Seen Too Much Sun
Last but not least, one of the most popular uses for aloe vera is for treating sunburns. Fresh from the plant is best over a bottled version that may contain extra dyes or preservatives. If you do want to have your own aloe plant at home, check out your local nursery to pick up the most common one used for skin conditions — the Aloe Barbadensis Miller. Research has shown that the sticky clear gel inside the thick leaves can heal sunburns. On the other side of the seasonal spectrum, it’s also known to help with frostbite, too.
How to Use It:
If you have an aloe vera plant and are heading to the beach, toss a few fresh-cut aloe leaves in your fridge before you go. Cut open the leaves and apply the gel directly onto your burns for refreshing relief. Aloe vera leaves will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks!
How to Harvest Your Own Aloe Vera Gel
If you want to keep this succulent in your home, you’ll definitely want to learn how to use it fresh off the plant. You can purchase an aloe plant at a local nursery and ask for instructions on how to care for this healing plant. Luckily, it mostly just needs a bright place to flourish — indoors or outdoors!
To harvest your plant’s gel, here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Cut a single leaf off the plant near the stem.
- Step 2: Rinse it and dry it.
Step 3: Place on a cutting board with the rounded side facing up.
Step 4: Take a sharp knife and cut off the end where the light green area meets the green area near the base of the plant.
Step 5: Cut off the sharp edges on each side of the leaf.
Step 6: Lay your hand flat on top of the leaf and carefully slice the top part off where the skin meets the clear gel layer.
- Step 7: You can cut the gel out for consumption or directly rub the gel onto your skin.
Need a visual? Check out this 'how to' video!
Aloe Vera Benefits The Whole Body
No matter how you decide to use aloe vera, it’s easy to see there are plenty of benefits from this succulent.
Whether you harvest your own aloe gel or keep it in the fridge bottled, having aloe vera on hand is easy to do year-round. Plus, it treats ailments in all seasons — from dry skin to burned skin and everything in-between — making it the ideal houseplant and natural ingredient to always have in the house.
If you’re already using aloe vera, what do you use it for the most? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!