So, I’m kind of accident prone. It’s usually not anything that will land me in the ER (knock on wood), just your usual minor cuts and scrapes kind of klutziness, sprinkled with the occasional pride-damaging stumble and trip over my own feet combo. This past weekend I was making pizza and as I was slicing it, I burned my finger on the hot pan. A silly mistake but there I was with a sore finger. First things first, I immediately threw some ice into a bowl, added water and soaked my finger in the cold water. This helped with the immediate pain and stopped the burning. After that, I grabbed a leaf from my Aloe Vera plant and went to work on harvesting the soothing gel from inside it. Aloe vera gel is great for minor burns like this because it cools the burn and disinfects it as it helps with the healing process. I put together a picture tutorial for harvesting fresh aloe vera gel directly from the plant. If you don’t need all of the gel, only harvest what you need and wrap the rest of the leaf in plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator for up to two months.
Aloe plants are pretty common and are easy to care for. I got my plants in tiny little pots from Ikea several years ago. Since then I’ve planted them in larger pots and keep them watered but not saturated. They are happy to soak up the afternoon sun out on my back porch but would do well inside near a sunny window. There are some varieties of aloe plants that can smell like onion when the gel is harvested. I think the smell fades quickly and when my finger is burning, I tend not to notice it very much…what with the burning and all. Aloe plants are neat to have around and it does make you feel very “one with nature” when you know how to fend for yourself and heal your own minor scrapes and burns like this.
I hope you never need to use this tutorial but just in case you do, remember that this is only for minor burns. Use your common sense, if you burn yourself really bad and there’s lots of blistering or broken skin, it might be best to visit your doc or the ER. This has ben a public service announcement from your klutzy herbalist.