The Plant of ‘Immortality.’

Our homegrown Aloe Vera plant.

Aloe barbadensis miller, a.k.a. Aloe Vera is dubbed by the ancient Egyptians as the plant of ‘Immortality’ because of its medicinal properties and therapeutic advantages. Aloe Vera has been recorded since 2100 BC on a Sumerian Tablet. Its health benefits have been known for centuries. It has been widely used in alternative medicines, cosmetics, beauty and skin care products including soaps (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org)

Aloe Vera flowers, our homegrown plant.

Aloe Vera produces two substances: the Gel and the Latex. The Aloe Gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the leaf while the Aloe Latex comes from just under the plant skin, yellow in color (www.livestrong.com).   The  Aloe Gel contains at least 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids including 8 essential amino acids which the human body cannot produce, and 200 active enzymes. The Aloe Gel also contains Glycoproteins which helps reduce inflammation and in stopping pain. It also contains Polysaccahrides which help with skin growth and repair. Additionally, Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties containing substances such as salicylic acid, saponins and sterols (Source: www.globalhealingcenter.com).

 How to cut Aloe Vera.

  • Break a leaf that is close to the stem (lower leaf) or cut it with a sharp knife. The older the leaf, the better nutrients it has.
  • Wash the leaf and cut the pointy edges.
  • Cut the part that you would want to use and keep the rest in the refrigerator. I usually wrap it in a small ziplock bag before keeping it in the refrigerator. I keep it only for three days.
  • Remove the top skin layer of the aloe with a sharp knife and use the gel. Or cut it into half and use the gel on both cut parts.

How to use Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera has many uses. In here, I will only share how we actually use it, i.e., base on my experiences.

  • Best Remedy for Burns. I use it for minor skin burns. I tried Aloe Vera on many occasions when I get burned by cooking oil and hot water (hot bag flipped open and the hot water was all over me). It does work for me. What I do is that when I get burned, I make sure not to pour cold water on the burned area but rather I put fresh aloe vera gel immediately – when the aloe gets dry, I rub a piece of gel again until the burn sensation subsides and eventually burn heals.
  • Face Moisturizer and Shaving Gel.  My hubby uses this on his face after shaving to heal small nicks and razor cuts. He also uses it to moisturize his face after his morning shower. He usually applies the gel on his face, leaves it for 30 minutes, and rinse with cold water.
  • Hair and scalp Treatment. Considering that I have fine hair, I use Aloe Gel on my scalp to prevent dandruff and also to  promote hair growth. I learned this from my late grandmother whom I had seen using this mixed  with pure coconut milk and basil leaves.
  • Body Moisturizer. I have not tried using fresh ones for my skin but I bought a few bottles of Aloe Vera Gel in South Korea which I use for my skin.  I use it after a long day at the beach instead of the usual body lotion.

 

How to Dry Curry Leaves

Murraya koenegii, a.k.a. Curry Tree belongs to the Rutacea family. The leaves have an aromatic smell and are used in culinary, beauty and health products. In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves are used as herb.

Curry leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals, thus provide many health benefits.The main nutrients found in curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper and minerals. It also contains various vitamins like nicotinic acid and vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, antioxidants, plant sterols, amino acids, glycosides and flavonoids (Source: www.organicfacts.net)

I bought my Curry tree during a plant exhibit sometime a year ago.  Since, I live in a tropical country, it was easy for me to grow it. Curry tree thrives in tropical and sub tropical countries. The flowers are beautiful and when it turned into berries, it gives a deep red, purplish color. The birds do not even wait for me collect it to dry and use as seed. Recently, I trimmed some branches as it has grown so fast since I was out of the country three months ago. So instead of throwing the leaves, I decided to dry it.

How to dry Curry Leaves. I cut the branch and slowly washed the leaves as I do not want the leaves to separate from its small branches. I pinned the entire branch to the clothes pin (hanger type with clothes pin on it) and allow it to air dry.  It took about two days (depending on the degree of warm temperature) for the leaves to get dry.  I removed the dried leaves from the branches. I then placed it in an air tight container and put one silica gel inside the jar to prevent any moisture. The smell may not be as strong as the fresh leaves but I am sure it gives out the same flavor.

 

How to use.  I used it for cooking, such as curry vegetables in coconut milk with turmeric, or lemongrass and chili recipe or in chutney .  I also make curry herb salts with it but I use the fresh leaves.  There are many uses of curry leaves – hair and face mask (have not tried it though), I cannot vouch for the result. These dried leaves can also be given as gifts to family and close friends who love curry leaves. So, yes, plant your curry tree now and start enjoying your harvest.