One of the things I love most about living on an island is the close proximity to nature and her abundance of tropical flora. One of my favorites is aloe vera.
Though St. Croix is relatively small (at 218 kilometers squared) there is a marked diversity of plant life on either end of the island. I live on the Easternmost point of the island which tends to receive less rainfall than the Westside and has a very desert-like feel to the landscape. One of the plants that grow naturally wild in my yard is the magical aloe vera plant.
Health Benefits of Aloe
Aloe is popular for it’s topical soothing effects to the skin and for its medicinal properties when taken internally. Many people use aloe on their skin to soothe sunburn and for moisturizing after a long day at the beach!
Island folks like to ‘cleanse’ with aloe internally. By using it in moderation in smoothies and juices, aloe helps with digestion and is a natural anti-inflammatory full of antioxidants.
I routinely harvest my aloe vera plants for both uses and often keep a bowl of fresh aloe in the fridge to use in smoothies and green drinks. Cool aloe gel (the inside of the fresh plant is scooped out like a gel) also makes a wonderful under-eye mask for reducing puffiness and redness.
Below is a sample recipe for how you can incorporate aloe into your own diet.