Aloe vera has long been touted for its soothing and healing properties. It can be found in a wide variety of moisturizers and beauty products, and it is well known to be an effective way to relieve a painful sunburn. But did you know that its health benefits can also be felt when the plant is eaten?
The succulent has been used for thousands of years, with evidence of its medicinal properties dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. Today, there is a significant amount of research being conducted to determine its effect on ailments that include: asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, and constipation. Aloe vera also contains phytochemicals, which are being investigated for their antioxidant and possibly cancer-fighting properties.
Despite their shared health properties, you should be forewarned that the aloe products that we know and love for soothing sunburns is NOT the same aloe that can be used in cooking. Aloe vera gel can be harvested directly from fresh plant leaves, and the juice can be found in stores like Whole Foods. These forms are edible, and can be included in recipes like these:
- Cool off with this strawberry banana and aloe vera smoothie.
- Try poaching it and using it as a topping for frozen yogurt.
- Add a refreshing twist to your gin and tonic.
- Make this spinach, aloe vera, and scallop salad for a quick summer dinner.
- Mix it with coconut juice and mint for a summery dessert.
Have you ever eaten aloe vera? Will you try any of these recipes?