Organic Emily

Medicinal Herb – Aloe and other succulents

Aloe Hens and Chicks Purslane

Medicinal Herb post #39 written July 31, 2018

Aloe Vera – Aloe barbadensis
Hens and Chicks, Purslane, Prickly Pear Cactus and other succulents.

All of these succulents have something in common. They can be used interchangeably as osmotic herbs, meaning they draw out inflammation from the effected area relieving pain. So if you don’t have Aloe in a pot and you burn yourself during the winter months, go out and grab some Hens and Chicks or other succulent plant, blend and apply topically. Aloe is an annual here in Utah unless potted and brought inside for the winter. They all love to be left alone, giving them well draining soil and maybe watering once a week when it’s hot or once a month during the winter months.

Aloe and others also contain antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly, it also soothes an irritated digestive system, like IBS and ulcers for example, and can easily be thrown into a smoothie. The juice is known as one of the safest laxatives, but should still be used with caution as it can have strong results. It tastes yummy when mixed with spearmint or peppermint tea or fresh squeezed lemon juice. Sweeten with honey or stevia if you like. It should not be taken internally by pregnant or nursing women and should be used with great caution for elderly and children in smaller doses.

Aloe promotes rapid tissue repair reversing damage from sunburn blisters and scarring. It’s great for other skin issues when used directly or in a salve for things like bites, stings, rashes, eczema, acne, and poison ivy. Aloe can also be used as a natural sunblock, blocking out around 30% of ultraviolet rays. It should not be used in cases of staff related infections like impetigo.

It can be made into a face and body cream by infusing calendula in almond oil over the stove top on very low heat for an hour. Use 1 and 1/2 cups of the strained calendula oil, 1/4 cup cocoa butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup beeswax. Melt together and cool for several hours or overnight. Place in blender and mix together 1/2 cup Aloe Vera gel and 1 and 1/2 cups purified water and favorite essential oil. Slowly drizzle the water mixture into the blender as it runs until the consistency becomes thick. Scoop into jars and keep in the fridge for long term storage.

Make your own gel by scraping out the insides of the leaves and blending. Store in jar and keep cold. Use in salves with other herbs like plantain, comfrey, yarrow, and calendula.

A quick word about purslane… it has almost as much omega 3 fatty acids as fish, is full of vitamins and minerals and should really be eaten often!

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, yoga/pilates instructor, a clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist and soon to be traditional naturopath. She is a very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

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