Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Aloe Vera - A Beginner's Guide

Hawaii is a land of extreme sunburn. It’s very easy to get lulled into complacency, and end up with crispy red skin without trying very hard. The cure for this is aloe vera, which can be found wild throughout Maui, even along some beaches. It’s also very easy to grow. (Yes, the medical establishment says to use sunscreen but IMHO, many sunscreens are actually toxic for you, your skin, and the coral reefs.)

Aloe is natural and safe to use. This is the one plant I am forever telling tourists to use. Slather it on. Don’t be shy. Fresh aloe is best because it’s more effective and doesn’t sting on burns unlike bottled aloe vera gel which is preserved in alcohol.

Not only will fresh aloe cure your sunburn in minutes (just ask the red-headed Irish girl who was bathed in aloe at the beach, turning from raw, ouchful red to the color of honey and cream), it will also make your skin as smooth as a baby’s butt. Oooh! Warning: My husband claims aloe vera massages can lead to pregnancy.

Other uses of aloe:
  • For burns, especially cooking. If white vinegar doesn’t help a burn from the stovetop, aloe vera gel is more powerful on burns. I’ve heard that heating the aloe vera is even more effective on burns, but haven’t tried it.
  • As a digestive aid. Friends claim it helps with digestion and stomach troubles.
  • As a nutritional supplement. People often juice aloe leaves or blend the pulp into their smoothies. I’ve also done this occasionally.
  • As a facial, a little bit of aloe makes everything feel better. One of my health books says aloe vera gel used daily for 4 months, removed the author’s age spots. Remember, skin as soft as a baby’s butt!
  • As a salad vegetable. Gather the lovely aloe flowers to munch on. They are sweet, crunchy and edible.
Aloe vera flowers are edible!

By the way, sometimes aloe vera is used topically in ways that I think are actually dangerous. That will be a topic for the future.

The theme of this year’s A to Z Challenge is Living on Maui: A Beginner’s SurvivalGuide. While I can’t include everything in only 26 short blog posts, this is my foolish attempt. Aloe: If you live on Maui, this is one plant you should be growing.

If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May!

Here's a shortcut to the archives for the A to Z Challenge and other blog posts.



  1. Hi, Courtney. I've heard that aloe vera is good for dry skin, but it didn't work for me. Maybe I wasn't patient. The Mama grows some in the backyard, so maybe I'll try again and be more patient.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder
    Take 25 to Hollister

  2. Hi Courtney - i've had good luck with the bottled kind, but your post makes me want to try the fresh stuff, on my face, in smoothies and slathered all over. (but I don't want to get pregnant!) Good luck with the challenge, I'm trying it too this year, we'll see if I can keep up!!

  3. Aloha Judi! Glad you stopped by. Thanks for reaching out to me on twitter. You could try growing it in your house.

  4. Susieee, I haven't tried aloe for dry skin, but it does leave the skin super soft. I think salicylic acid is one of the components in aloe vera gel, and that's also used in some facial creams.

  5. When I was living in Phoenix, my piano teacher once cut me some fresh aloe from her yard for a really bad sunburn. Worked like a charm!

  6. Wonderful! Arizona sun is pretty deadly too! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Ah, yes. Aloe vera cures so many things. It's amazing. And I didn't know the flowers were edible. That's so cool. :)


Comments are important to me, so mahalo for adding a comment! I will try to follow up when I receive one.