How to use Aloe Vera leaves (and not get poisoned)

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Native to the Caribbean, Latin America and South Africa, the aloe vera plant produces a clear, gelatin-like substance that soothes burns and relieves skin conditions such as psoriasis when used topically. It’s also edible if you treat it correctly. This lady uses aloe vera in smoothies.

She shows us how to cut a leaf to extract the aloe vera gel. Please note, she refers to the yellow juice that can be squeezed from the leaf as a laxative. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s also known as latex and this juice contains a naturally occurring chemical called aloin which may irritate your skin if you have an allergy to latex.

Eating aloe juice or latex can upset your stomach when taken orally. As the narrator says, there’s a laxative in the leaf. Don’t use it as a laxative! It may result in severe cramping and purging of the intestines as well as electrolyte loss. PRECAUTION: Don’t let kids or pets near your aloe vera plants.

I recommend a better (sharper and not serrated) knife than the one this lady is using as you should be able to extract the aloe as one long strip.