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Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

Here is my guide to harvesting Aloe gel from an Aloe Vera plant. I used my healthy large Aloe Vera plant to obtain some gel from its wide leaves.

Using a sharp knife, I cut off a leaf near the base of the plant.

Slice open gently the top skin of the leaf to expose the gel.

Then slice off the bottom outer skin on the other side of the leaf.

What remains is a nice strip of pure Aloe Vera gel.

Next scrap off any remaining Aloe Vera gel Continue Reading →


Yarrow Tincture

This post is part 2 of my harvesting of wild yarrow. In this post I will show how I made yarrow tincture. In my original wild yarrow post, I showed the wild yarrow that I harvested around my wooded property. I shared that a herbal tincture could be made from the wild plant. Now I will go one step further and show you exactly how I made my yarrow tincture.

Once the yarrow flowers and stems were harvested, I rinsed them off gently and chopped them up on a cutting board. Next I added my wild yarrow flowers and stems to an alcohol solution. I used some 80 proof cheap vodka and covered my cut up flowers and stems. I placed it all in a small recycled glass jar as shown and put the lid on the jar. I shook the jar at least once daily and kept it in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks. Add more alcohol as needed to keep the mix covered well in the jar.

After 6 weeks I strained out the yarrow pieces from the liquid. I used a jelly canning straining sock but you can use cheesecloth also. Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the plant pieces Continue Reading →


Wild Yarrow

Yarrow is a useful healing herb that grows wild. It is know as Soldier’s Woundwort and Knight’s Milfoil as it was used on the battlefield to stop bleeding and encourage healing. The scientific name for the herb is Achillea millefolium named after Achilles from the ancient Greek Trojan war legend.

The herb has been used for everything from controlling bleeding of wounds and nosebleeds to chewing it for toothaches. Tea can be made from the wild herb to help with sleeplessness and is a helpful fever reducer.

A tincture can be made from the plant by chopping up the flowers and leaves. Continue Reading →



Plantain is a very useful plant that grows wild along many driveways and in lawns. While it is regarded as a weed, it has many medicinal purposes which you can read more about at eHow.

Over at Mind Mart Holistic Health, they refer to Plantain as first aid growing on your lawn. They recommend Plantain is a first-choice remedy for many skin ailments with all parts of the plant, including the seeds, being edible.

The herb Plantain should not confused with the big green looking bananas called Plantains.

With all being said, the herb Plantain can be used effectively for bee stings, skin irritations, bleeding, laxative, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. For example, you can use the leaves as a wet compress on insect stings to draw out the toxins and reduce swelling. Also you can place the moistened leaves on a wound to control bleeding and as a wound dressing. The leaves can help close a wound and slow bleeding. Because the plant also provides antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, it really is a wonderful wild herb with many uses.

I just have to share how I recently used Plantain on a wound. My husband had a cut on his finger right on a bend that just wouldn’t heal. I used a fresh Plantain leaf on the sore overnight and covered it with a band-aid. The next day the wound had closed and looked so much better. It wasn’t bleeding and the cut was nearly healed. Continue Reading →


Water Purification using Bleach

Boiling water is one of the safest ways to purify it. Water should be boiled for one full minute at a rolling boil. If you can not boil your water, using bleach is another alternative for purification.

Normal household bleach is usually between 5-6% chlorine and can be used following the chart guidelines below. Do not use perfumed, dyed bleach that has any additives. Use plain bleach as follows for water purification.

Source: Washington Dept of Health

Use a clean container and mix thoroughly and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes before using (60 minutes if the water is cloudy or very cold).


Aloe Vera Plants for Burns

Aloe Vera plants are excellent for treating and relieving the pain from burns. Last year I bought a few small plants to have on hand for treating burns. Here is one of my larger plants that has really taken off. The key I have found is watering it just a bit and letting it dry out thoroughly between watering. The plants seem to do much better if the dirt is allowed to dry out between waterings. I had one plant that I watered too much and the leaves near the dirt began to get a rotten look so my advice is be careful not to over water your plants.

To treat a burn with Aloe Vera from a plant, use a sharp knife to cut a piece of the leaf off. For a small burn, you just need a small piece of a leaf. I generally cut a piece off about the 2 inches long. You may want to cut your piece a bit smaller if you leaf is wider and has more pulp in it. Because my plants are younger, they don’t have quite as much density to them yet.

You can see in the photo how the one leaf was cut at an angle. The plant stem heals itself and continues to grow if you cut it with a sharp knife as shown.

Apply the gel from inside the leaf by either cutting the leaf open or squeezing it a bit to get the gel out. Once you get the gel to come out of the leaf, gently apply it to the burn. Let it soak in and apply more gel to soothe the burn as needed. I like to leave the Aloe Vera gel on in a glob which seems to really help the pain and appears to help with the healing process too.