I read some where that aloe is only effective when it's fresh. Is this true? Any info on this would be appreciated.
I have read the same... ONCE... never saw it again. That unfresh aloe loses its properties. I really can't be sure... so I keep an aloe plant, just to make sure. :D
I don't know whether it works 'unfresh' or not, but I do know that the amounts that are included in commercial products like hand-creams etc are so infinitessimally small that it's not surprising they aren't all that effective. Makes you wonder why they bother - well, it doesn't really. We know it's because it will sell, whether it works or not!
I do know that if you try to keep an aloe vera leaf in the fridge, it changes colour very quickly, making it unattractive enough that you don't want to use it!
I'm quite content to stick with the old rule of 'Fresh is best' when it comes to aloe vera. It's so easy to grow, besides.
I was wondering b/c I have a bottle of aloe gel. I use it as hair gel but I guess it's not that effective for other things then.
I have a huge pot of aloe, older than me, older than 21 years. I don't think it's ever been repotted for a long, long time. I really want to buy an even bigger square planter for it and fill that up with the aloe.
I have used both. It depends on the use you want for it. Aloe is better fresh if you want it for the gel's soothing, anti-bacterial properties. If you want a good bowel movement, the products are fine. If you want a nice skin moisturizer, the products are fine. They are not nearly as good for burns of any kind,although they will soothe some. Older leaves in the fridge tend to be too dried out for my uses so I usually just cut the length and width of the leaf I want. My plants are old and both need tomato cages to keep from making the pots they are in fall over. Some of their gel is reddish. I haven't noticed a difference in the efficacy between reddish and normal gel.
It sounds like you have a different species than me. I have vera and the leaves grows all around the plant, thickest and longest at the bottom so it stablizes it's self.
I have a little aloe of a different species and it only has leaves on two sides so it makes the plant tend to lean over.
I wouldn't use all aloes as the same as aloe vera...
Yeah, I was wondering about that. I haven't used the other aloe, just the vera.
Oh sweet. I have more aloes than I thought. Besides vera I have Aloe brevifolia and Aloe plicatilis. I wonder why my Aloe plicatilis keeps leaning over?
Fresh aloe gel is better, though there are a few companies that produce a stabilized gel that is very good from what I've read, but it isn't cheap. Fresh gel directly from the leaf is much better then the aloe moisturizers I have used over the years. There is really no comparison. Putting fresh gel on your face will make your skin softer than any lotion or oil you have ever tried. The fresh gel exfoliates dead skin too.
Actually, it's best to cut a large leaf off from the plant and wait for at least several hours, if not a day or so before you use it. Polysaccharides under the green leaf will immediately begin to concentrate in the gel after the leaf is cut. Researchers in Germany discovered that "the moment a leaf is harvested from the mother plant, it will start diffusing a polysaccharide rich exudate from the entire surface under the leaf. In other words, the dismembered leaf in an attempt to seal itself (and therefore heal itself) will actually generate a quantity of Aloe polysaccharides that far exceeds the number found in the original leaf immediately after harvesting." That's a quote from, "Aloe Vera The New Millenium: The Future of Wellness in the 21st Century", by Bill C. Coats and Robert Ahola. Of course, in an emergency situation you wouldn't sit around waiting to use the leaf. And according to the authors the whole leaf is better than the gel alone for healing purposes. The gel is quite powerful all on its own, though. There are other medicinal aloes with similar properties to aloe vera, including aloe ferox, aloe saponaria and aloe arborescens.
Another contributing factor to the potency of the leaf is certainly how it is fertilized. Organic fertilizers like fish hydrolysate, kelp, sea solids and rock dusts will certainly produce a healthier plant than chemical fertilizes. By the way, aloe vera can be used to fertilize other plants. Apparently, it can also help to protect them from insects and disease.
Here is a great article on some of the uses of aloe vera.
The Aloe Vera Miracle
Fresh is really different. Especially if the plant is over 5 years old. I had one that was 15 years old that was very good. The juice had a red edge, and it was the best for yeast infections (mixed with boron, or garlic, or borax) and it was great for skin with vitamin C. Aged aloe is the bomb. Products have the problem of being sterilized, and heat messes with important chemicals. Additives cause disappointments as well. Aloe is great to grow, just use a tomato cage for it when it leans over a lot. Take the whole leaf core to add emollient to harsh herbs, to add lubricant to herbs for vaginal complaints, and to use for many skin disorders. Wonderful stuff.