Aloe vera is a versatile, succulent cactus type plant with many therapeutic and medicinal uses. The juices from the cut leaves of the aloe vera plant can be applied topically or can be ‘cooked’ for use in drinks or salads.
Here are the best ways to prepare and use aloe vera.
Preparing the Aloe
The whole leaf of the aloe plant can be consumed, however the outer green skin is a bit tough and bitter to taste. The skin should, therefore, be peeled off with a sharp knife to expose the gel. The gel can then be crushed or cut into square portions.
Aloe vera gel has been proven to reduce symptoms of constipation, lower blood sugar levels, relieve irritable bowel syndrome and stomach ulcers, reduce symptoms of asthma and can reduce cholesterol. It can also be used to treat numerous skin conditions, including eczema, burns, insect bites, psoriasis and hives. There are numerous websites providing healthy ideas, such as http://millenniallifestyle.com.
Aloe Vera Juice
The easiest way to get the benefits of aloe vera is to make it into a juice. This can be done by mixing the crushed gel or ‘meat’ of the stem with a little water. This can be drunk ‘neat’ but can be a little bitter, so some choose to soak the chunks of aloe meat in water overnight and just drink the water. Another way of consuming the aloe vera gel is to mix it with lemon, orange or grape juice. This masks the flavour and texture of the aloe, which some people find unpleasant.
Small pieces of aloe vera can be used as a topping for salads, often with a herb garnish to mask the bitter taste. It is frequently used in Indian cuisine due to the natural coolness of the plant, pairing it nicely with stronger, spicy flavours.
To cook the aloe vera, larger chunks need to be poached or steamed gently. The aloe vera will release a lot of water whilst it is cooking, therefore making it softer and making the taste less bitter. The softened aloe vera can then be used in soups, stir fries or salads for a milder taste experience. The texture of cooked aloe is also more appealing as it loses its slimy texture, which some find unpalatable.