The thick, spiky stems of aloe vera grow profusely throughout T&T. A staple of local healing and skin care, the plant is a veritable cure-all – drunk as a purgative, used as a conditioning rinse and applied to cuts, grazes and burns to draw out infection. It’s an excellent remedy for sunburn, heat rash and insect bites, and is even distilled into aloes wine.

To extract fresh aloe gel from the stem, cut off a section and pare away the spiky edges. Slice in half and wipe the vaguely mauve gel onto the affected areas, scratching the surface to release more jelly as needed and being careful not to get it on clothing, since it leaves a stubborn purple stain.

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