Aloe Vera is a well-known plant for its numerous benefits for the skin and hair. While its gel can be purchased ready-made, it’s also possible to harvest it yourself. Here’s how to harvest Aloe Vera gel.
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Precautions for Harvesting Gel
It’s important to note that the inside of Aloe Vera leaves consists of two distinct parts:
- The latex, a yellow sap found in the outer skin, which is never used.
- The gel, a clear and translucent sap found at the core of the leaf, is the only part used in cosmetics and dermatology due to its many benefits.
When extracting the gel from your Aloe Vera plant, be sure not to touch the yellow latex, as it contains 20 to 40% of molecules with laxative effects and can be toxic when in contact with the skin.
Selecting the Aloe Vera Leaf
First and foremost, the selected leaf should be taken from an adult Aloe Vera plant that is at least 3 years old and approximately 40 cm in height. This is an essential condition to benefit from the maximum active principles.
- Use a sharp and clean knife.
- Cut the leaf at its base, being careful not to harm the rest of the plant.
Extracting Aloe Vera Pulp
Once you have a fleshy leaf filled with gel, you need to extract the gel in several steps:
- Using your sharp knife, start by removing the teeth on each side of the leaf.
- Remove the base of the leaf and set it aside (you won’t use it).
- Stand the leaf upright with the cut side down for 30 minutes to remove the aloin (toxic latex).
- Cut the widest part of the leaf into 2 to 3 cm thick slices.
- Soak them in a bowl of water for 1 hour.
- Remove the skin or outer layer around the pulp.
- Rinse the pulp with clear water to remove any residual latex.
- Place the collected Aloe Vera pulp in a blender and blend it to obtain a thick and homogeneous gel.
- Transfer the obtained gel to a previously sterilized container.
- Optionally, add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract for better preservation and to reduce oxidation.
Storing Homemade Aloe Vera Gel Freshly harvested
Aloe Vera gel can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you want to keep it longer, pour the gel into ice cube trays and place them in the freezer.
Also, unopened Aloe Vera leaves can be stored at room temperature for a maximum of 3 months. Store them in a dry place away from light. An opened leaf, however, cannot be stored for more than 2 days. Wrap it in food paper and keep it in a dry, cool place at a maximum temperature of 5°C.
What Are the Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel?
In cosmetics, it is particularly appreciated for its antioxidant properties, making it an anti-aging agent for the skin. Additionally, Aloe Vera gel offers astringent and healing properties, ideal for soothing minor burns, including sunburns, and certain dermatological issues.
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