Aloe Vera

Nothing says summer quite like aloe vera.  You've probably made very good friends with this plant after spending a little too much time in the sun and praised its cooling effects on sunburnt skin.  With so many uses though you don't have to wait to feel the burn to harness aloe's powers.  The aloe vera plant is extremely nutrient rich and consuming aloe is an amazing way to boost your vitamin and antioxidant intake.  It is also a detoxifying digestive aid and the gel of the aloe leaves is the same viscosity as your stomach lining, which is beneficial in healing gut issues caused by stomach acid or gastric ulcers.  Topically it's great for hydrating and healing dry or burnt skin since the leaves retain so much water.  

Below are my two favorite summer uses for aloe vera, an aloe vera and honey face mask and an aloe vera juice, and some tips for harvesting your own aloe.  Jamie shared an amazing recipe for an aloe vera after sun spray on her beautiful blog Wallace and James that I highly recommend checking out and using all summer long too! 

Prepping Aloe Vera

-Cut outer aloe leaves as close to the base of the plant as possible.
-Soak the leaves in a glass of water overnight to detoxify the leaves and cut down on the bitterness of the gel.  
-Wash the soaked leaves and pat them dry.
-Cut the spiky edges off the leaves and then cut as close to the outer skin as possible on each side to remove the inner gel.

Aloe Vera + Honey Face Mask

-Combine the gel of 2 aloe vera leaves with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of raw honey in a blender.
-Evenly cover your face with the mixture and leave it on for 20-30 minutes.
-Rinse with cold water, pat dry, and moisturize with your usual moisturizer (might I suggest olive oil).

Aloe Vera Juice

-Combine the gel of 3 aloe vera leaves with 16 oz of water in a blender.
-Strain the pulp if you would prefer a smoother drink or leave it in there for some nice texture.
-Add the juice of 1/2 of a lemon.
-Drink in the morning on an empty stomach for the most detoxifying and alkalizing benefits.