One of my most favorite thing to drink is a cold shot aloe juice! And since I started a backyard garden, I have been fortunate enough to grow my own plant. I used to buy aloe juice from the health food store but since I believe fresh is best, I now am able to make it myself. It is super simple and really nutritious.
Aside from drinking, I even use aloe on my skin. It is completely versatile and a well-known herbal remedy used therapeutically for over 5000 years. Aloe vera juice contains leaf pulp that is rich in natural nutrients. It is in the same family as garlic and onions and can be ingested internally for healing and cleansing or applied externally for an array of skin issues. It both helps the body detox while becoming more alkaline (remember, diseases can only thrive in an acidic environment). It is also an immune enhancer, weight loss tool and inflammation reducer.
But there’s more! Here are my top 5 reasons why I totally dig this funky looking green plant:
1 – Vitamins and Minerals. Aloe vera contains many vitamins including A, C, E and B1, B2, B3 and B6. Aloe vera is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12 as well as an impressive list of minerals including iron, calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, manganese and zinc. It also has both amino and fatty acids, necessary for optimal health.
2 – Adaptogen. Aloe vera is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body’s natural ability to balance. For example, it can both alleviate constipation or stop diarrhea, depending on what you need. Aloe helps strengthen its ability to cope with stress by regulating your system in the way you need.
3 – Digestive health. Like chia seeds, aloe vera is a gelatinous plant food that absorbs toxins along the digestive tract and eliminates them through the colon. By soothing and cleansing, it helps improve digestion. Aloe is also beneficial in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, intestinal worms, ulcers, colitis and other inflammatory disorders and helps healthy bacteria flourish by decreasing the amount of unfriendly bacteria in the gut.
4 – Skin care & cosmetics. Aloe is medicine for the skin. It hydrates and nourishes while encouraging the regeneration of new skin tissue. Since I am a huge fan of non-toxic beauty products, aloe is my perfect moisturizer. It also relieves pains from wounds, prevents and relieves itching and increases the elasticity of skin. Aloe helps heal burns (especially from the sun), bug bites, abrasions and even psoriasis.
5 – Superpowers. Aloe is a disinfectant and anti-biotic plus anti-microbial, germicidal, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-viral. PHEW! Aloe Vera’s active ingredients cleanse the body of toxins preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms and infections. Additionally, aloe vera helps to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory immune disorders. It’s like a ninja-kick to bacteria and harmful viruses.
Aloe is incredibly medicinal; however, there are some cautions against long-term use. Take with a level of respect for its potency. Long-term use can lead to loss of electrolytes, especially potassium. Avoid taking aloe internally during pregnancy and menstruation, if you have hemorrhoids or degeneration of the liver and gall bladder. Aloe may cause a laxative effect. Listen to your body and pay attention to how it responds.
Wondering how I made my own juice? It was super easy!
Choose two pump stalks of an aloe plant. Cut the ends off and thinly slice off the thorny edges. Carefully filet the top and bottom skin and remove the clear, gel-like substance. (This part is 99% water!) Place into a blender with purified alkaline or coconut water. Blend for 30 seconds. Pour in glass jar and enjoy!