local harvest

Amazing Aloe

By Eliza Magro

St. John Tradewinds News Photo by Eliza Magro

Aloe vera is truly an amazing plant, with many uses and benefits. The powerful healing properties of the aloe vera plant have been used in many different forms and appreciated for years. The cactus like plant grows in abundance on St. John, flourishing in wet areas, and covering hillsides.

During the flu season, when many people get congested or sick, locals suggest making the traditional Caribbean aloe drink. This drink aides in recovery and helps move the cold out of one’s body. The gel in aloe leaves is good for healing bronchial congestion and moves the mucus from the lungs.

Aloe is extremely bitter, making it unfavorable to drink. The bittersweet reality of the healing plant inspired this local drink, which so many West Indians explain as the true cure for colds.

Aloe Drink
The aloe drink is easy to make. Simply blend some aloe vera gel from the plant in a blender and add honey. The honey will sweeten the drink and it also has healing properties of its own that will help strengthen the immune system. Then  add orange juice to the blended drink, to add flavor and increase vitamin C.

The orange juice and honey help disguise the distaste of the bitter gel, allowing one to drink the healing remedy.   

This drink allows one to reap the benefits of the amazing aloe plant, by making it palatable.

Aloe has a myriad of other uses throughout the world as well. In the West Indies, many people who put dreadlocks in their hair use an aloe shampoo with which to wash.  The aloe gel in the shampoo helps bind the hair together, creating dreadlocks.    

Aloe vera is also used in many lotions and skin care products because it helps remove dead cells and prevent aging of skin.  It helps relieve the heat and itch from rashes and burns, when applied immediately. Aloe vera also helps minor cuts, bruises, scrapes, athletes foot, blisters and sores, muscle pain, and arthritis, while offering anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects as well.

Aloe vera has as many as 75 nutrients, and contains almost 20 amino acids, vital minerals like calcium, magnesium and sodium, enzymes, vitamins, polysaccharides, nitrogen and other beneficial attributes.

The gel also helps to decrease total cholesterol, alleviate digestion disorders, and lower high blood sugar levels. Aloe has been used throughout time for medicinal purposes, while scientists continue to discover new uses and benefits of the plant today.

The Amazing aloe plant has proven its medicinal benefits time and time again throughout history and continues to reveal its incredible natural properties in the world of health.