If you’re going to have any house plant, and you should, (check out the link below to learn why) you should at least have aloe.
Aloe is easy to grow, while some articles that I have read say that it should be placed by a sunny window, I find that it does quite well in the corner of my dining room where it does not get direct sunlight. It does not require a lot of attention. I usually give it drink of water every 10 – 14 days and this is quite sufficient. I have discovered that it also enjoys coffee, so every 3rd or 4th watering I dilute some of the coffee that is leftover from that morning and use it to water the aloe. The plants really seem to brighten up after having their morning coffee. I do have to be careful, when using coffee to water the plants, not to get any on the aloe leaves because the coffee will damage the leaves. I only pour the coffee on the soil.
I think everyone should have at least one aloe plant in their home, not only are they helpful for the indoor environment, but they act as first aid in the case of burns. Whether it be a sunburn or accidently touching something hot, simply snip an aloe leaf, peel back the outer part and apply the sticky, oozing gel directly to the burn for quick relief. We do not deal with other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis but if we did I would certainly try aloe before seeking help from pharmaceuticals.
The most common way I use aloe nowadays is as an ingredient in my soap. My aloe soap is probably my favorite of all the different soaps I make. I don’t know that any of the healing properties of aloe remain after it is processed into soap, but it has a luxurious lather and just feels so good on the skin.
I do have aloe soap available for sale. Anyone interested in purchasing some should contact me by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org and put soap in the subject line.
While my last soap experiment, Spearmint Soap, is currently being tested and I await feedback, I decided to try something new. As I’ve mentioned before I love to try new things, but rather than make a full batch of something new and find out that it didn’t turn out to be a great soap, I decided to make a split batch. This is easy enough to do since many of my soaps have the same base recipe. The recipe includes Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Water and Sodium Hydroxide (lye). After combining these ingredients in the proper order, and mixing them at the appropriate temperature until they are the right consistency, I poured half of the soap in a separate bowl.
To the first half I added fresh aloe juice/gel that I had removed from the inside of several aloe leaves. That is not the new soap. My aloe soap has actually become one of my more popular soaps and I thought I should make some more. For the new soap I added grapefruit peel to the second half. I had dried and stored this peel a while back. When I opened the container the fragrance was strong and pleasant and unmistakably grapefruit. I ground the dried peel until it was a powder. Then mixed it into the soap before it was poured into the mold.
I am not certain what effects this will have on the finished product. Even though grapefruit peel is reported to have vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for skin care I don’t know that they would survive the chemical process involved in making soap. Unfortunately, the fragrance will barely, if at all, survive the processing that is yet to take place. It will probably add some color, maybe yellow, and some texture to the bar.
The most difficult part about cold process soap making is waiting six weeks for the soap to be ready to use. I’ll let you know how it turns out.