Aloe, sometimes called Burn Plant, forms a rosette of pointed, fleshy leaves with spiny-toothed edges. Native to Africa, it’s hardy to only about 38 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, grow it in a warm, sheltered site with non-acidic and very well-drained soil; move indoors to a sunny windowsill over the winter. Aloe thrives when slightly crowded in its pot, with soil kept on the dry side. Grows up to 3 feet tall.
Traditional Healing Uses: The thick, mucilaginous gel from aloe leaves has traditionally been applied externally to minor burns and scalds, sunburns, fungal infections, poison oak and poison ivy, insect bites, and various skin problems like dry skin, skin blemishes, inflammation, diaper rash, and heat rash.
Other Uses: Aloe gel is used in cosmetic lotions, creams, salves, and shampoos.
Harvest: As needed, break off a leaf or a section of a leaf from the outside of the plant rosette.
Preparation: Split the fresh leaf open and apply gel directly to skin.
Caution: Aloe should not be taken internally. Although it has sometimes been uses internally in the past, it is a violent purgative and may cause severe gastrointestinal cramping.