Buying, Making And Planting Aloe Vera
Consumer Tips When You Buy Aloe Vera
Currently, there are many manufacturers and marketers of aloe vera products. With this huge number of products using aloe vera as a main ingredient, inconsistencies within the market are possible in terms of the amount of aloe vera contained in the herbal products they are selling. In this case, as a consumer, one should learn effective tips on how to buy aloe vera that is excellent in quality and consistency. While buying from local health food shops allows you to check the product thoroughly, this is not the case when buying online. Here are some tips on how to buy effective, quality and consistent aloe vera products via the Internet.
How do you discern a quality and effective aloe vera product from the inferior one?
- First is to do some research and make a shortlist of brands or manufacturers with the seal of the Independent International Aloe Science Council (IACL). Why is this important? This is vital as it helps you distinguish products containing genuine, active aloe vera gel. It assures the purity of aloe contained in the product. In addition, to get the fullest benefit of aloe vera, choose those products containing great polysaccharide potency. Certain improper processing techniques, such as high-heat pasteurization, for example, can cause destruction to polysaccharide chains, making the product completely ineffective.
- Today, aloe vera product manufacturing is becoming a lucrative industry. Many companies, particularly in California, cultivate their own aloe vera plants in an artificial cultivation farm. For purity and safety purposes, it is best to choose a company that grows and manufactures their own aloe vera. While it could be a little expensive, an excellent quality aloe vera product is worth the money.
- The method of processing the product is very important. In fact, the effectiveness of the product depends on how it is stabilized to prolong its shelf life. Aloe oxidizes very rapidly, evidenced by the sticky substance inside the aloe leaf that quickly turns yellow then pink. To make it effective, aloe should be cold-pressed right after harvest, and then packed under nitrogen to avoid oxidation.
- Because the US FDA does not impose stringent control on herbal products and dietary supplements, it is important to always read labels when you buy aloe vera. If you are taking medications or other herbs, talk to a qualified healthcare provider before taking aloe products. While side effects are rare in normal dosage, consult your doctor if you feel any abnormal reactions or signs.
Most aloe manufacturers are based in the United States, particularly in Florida and California. When you buy aloe vera products online, be sure to check the following aspects mentioned earlier to help you discern the most appropriate product for you
What Constitutes Aloe Vera Gel And How To Make It At Home
Aloe vera can be seen practically anywhere now, displayed on the shelves of every drugstore, health shop and even grocery store nearby. Aloe gel is considered to be one of the mildest herbs which can be freely used on different skin problems. The gel is derived from the leaf’s pulp, which contains nearly 200 active components that are broken down into different biological groups.
Pure aloe vera gel consists of 95% water with the remaining 5% composed of a synergistic combination of active ingredients including vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes, anthraquinones, lignins, saponins, salicylate and fatty acids. These components make up the aloe gel’s healing and medicinal properties. Take note that fresh aloe vera gel oxidizes quickly, so use it immediately or better yet, purchase a commercial aloe gel product that has been preserved as it has not undergone the degrading process.
Due to the delicate nature of aloe gel, it is recommended to refrigerate it to extend shelf life. An excellent gel is made by hand, filleting the whole aloe vera leaf and then transporting it into the cold-pressed processing unit. This technique should also be followed when making your own aloe gel at home. The proper way of removing the inner gel is to fillet it using a knife instead of merely squeezing it. This technique also extracts more gel from the aloe leaf. If you do not know how to fillet an aloe leaf, do not worry: we explain it below.
For the first lesson in how to fillet an aloe leaf, place the cut aloe leaf over a flat surface and carefully slice the leaf’s tip as well as the pointy rough edges on the sides using a sharp knife. Slice it lengthwise separating the front and back portion of the leaf. Then, with the use of a spoon, scoop the gooey mucilage gel and the inner gel, which seems to be quite solid. As you can see, learning how to fillet an aloe leaf is not difficult at all.
Now that you have the gel, place the harvested aloe vera gel inside a plastic or glass container inside the refrigerator. Most people add a few drops of Vitamin E, crushed Vitamin C tablet or citric acid powder to prolong the gel’s shelf life and prevent discoloration.
Tips On How To Plant Aloe Vera
There are certain requirements that are involved when learning how to plant aloe vera. While majority of aloes are semi-tropical plants that require sunlight and no frost, they can be grown indoors provided there is sufficient light. Mature plants may even produce brightly colored flowers.
When growing aloe vera, remember first that it needs an average temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). It needs full sunlight although excessive sun exposure may turn the leaves brown. Because it is a succulent plant, it requires minimal water.
Aloe vera commonly grows in southern regions of United States but certain parts in the west coast are already cultivating aloe vera for commercial production. Different planting techniques may be required in a single state. For instance, the California climate varies to a degree that makes it necessary to understand some basics on how to cultivate aloe vera before starting on it. If you are residing in southern California or in the dry, desert regions, then you can plant it outdoors successfully. However, in a cold area like Northern California, you shall have to place the plant indoors and take care of it since the climate outdoors will be too harsh for the plant.
There are important guidelines on how to plant aloe vera, both when planting in warm and cool climates. In warm regions, they must be planted under full sunlight or light shade. The soil to be used should also be fertile and drain quickly. Fully-grown aloe vera can survive drought quite well but to support the plant, watering it may be done. Because of the established reputation of aloe vera as an herbal plant, it is available in almost all nurseries or garden shops. Unless you live in a place with a semi-tropical climate, it is good to plant your aloe vera in a pot and leave it near the window directly exposed under the sun.
During winter months, transfer the pot indoors and provide minimal water. It is because the plant remains dormant and uses up very little moisture. Let the soil be very dry before re-watering. During summer, allow the soil to be fully soaked although you have to leave it dry again before providing it with water. Aloes usually have a superficial, scattering root system, so during repotting, you need to choose a wide pot instead of getting a deep one. Choose a pot with sufficient drainage holes and put a 1 to 2 inch layer of gravel at the base of the pot. Get an excellent commercial soil mix with additional granite grit, perlite or coarse sand. You can also add packed ‘cactus mix’ soil.
In general, knowing the basics on how to plant aloe vera is the key to growing it successfully. Besides providing proper sunlight, potting process and watering, fertilizing it every year can also keep your plant healthy. You can start propagating aloe vera by purchasing seeds or by getting the offshoots that are produced at the base of full-grown plants.