Enjoy the benefits of aloe vera in an easy-to-apply aloe vera salve.
The use of aloe vera for medicinal purposes throughout the world is well documented.
2000 years ago, it was considered a cure-all in Greek medicine. Cultures all over the world have historically used aloe vera for healing wounds, as an antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.
More recently, it is even known as a protectant against radiation damage (UV and gamma radiation).
Today, it’s most commonly used as a topical skin calming and moisturizing agent.
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Growing your own aloe vera
When I was little, my great-grandma always had a potted aloe vera plant somewhere on the add-on sun porch. An ancient wooden upright piano stood against one wall, surrounded on 3 sides by sunshine and a cornucopia of bright house plants.
Whenever any of us had a sunburn, grandma would snip off a piece of aloe vera and apply its oozy liquid liberally to our skin. Instant relief.
I learned to play some lovely hymns on that out-of-tune piano. I should have also paid more attention to the house plants during all those hours spent pecking away at yellowed keys.
Keeping indoor plants alive has never been as easy for me as the outdoor kind! However, aloe vera is relatively easy to grow, if you have the patience.
Uses for powdered aloe vera
The main perk of having some powdered aloe vera at your disposal is the longer shelf life. Fresh aloe vera from a plant must be refrigerated after extracted, and only lasts up to a week or two in the fridge.
Powdered aloe vera gel can last many months before it starts to break down and become less effective.
You can dehydrate your own aloe vera to grind into a powder. Although it’s a bit labor intensive, it can be done.
I love dehydrating veggies and herbs of all kinds, so it’s something I plan to tackle in the near future.
However for now, powdered aloe vera gel is a good alternative, especially for making salves.
Some store-bought powders include the leaves- which are toxic to ingest, but ok for skin products.
Benefits of making your own aloe vera salve recipe
So you may be asking– why make a salve? Can’t I just use “aloe vera gel” from the store, if I don’t have the patience to grow my own?
For me, it comes down to learning to use plants in their purest form, and avoiding added synthetic chemicals as much as possible.
In a typical aloe vera gel, you’ll find alcohol, food dyes, glycerin and a laundry list of other additives.
The recipe I’m sharing uses only three ingredients:
- Powdered aloe vera gel
- Avocado oil
- Beeswax pellets
Another benefit of a DIY aloe vera salve is a firmer consistency (stored in a tin) that is less messy to apply than aloe vera gel.
Process for aloe vera salve recipe
Besides the aloe vera gel ingredients themselves, you only need : A little patience (2 days to 2 weeks); an unbleached coffee filter, and 1-oz tins with lids.
A small canning jar (8 oz) can also be used for the finished product, if you don’t want to separate into individual containers.
Dividing into little tins makes it easier and more sanitary for sharing, however.
- 1/2 cup aloe vera powder
- 1-1/4 cup avocado oil
- 2-1/2 Tablespoons beeswax pellets
- Method 1: Add the aloe vera powder to a glass jar and cover it completely with avocado oil. Cover with lid. Store in a dark cabinet. It takes about 2 weeks until the powder completely soaks up all the oil, shaking jar daily to keep powder submerged.
- Method 2 (faster): Add the aloe vera powder and the avocado oil to a small slow cooker, and heat on low for about 24 hours, stirring frequently.
- If using slow cooker, make sure mixture has mostly cooled before proceeding.
- Strain the aloe vera powder/oil mixture with an unbleached coffee filter into a large glass bowl or jar.
- Then, combine the beeswax pellets and the infused oil and heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it is completely melted. Stir in between each 30 seconds.
- To test the consistency of the salve, let mixture cool slightly (just until safe to touch) and place a small amount on the back of your hand and let it cool. If it's too soft, add more beeswax; if it's too hard, add more oil. Heat again for a few seconds at a time.
- Pour into your tins. Allow them to sit uncovered for a few hours until they are fully hard. Then add lids and store in a cool, dark cabinet.
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