Exactly one year ago during Ramadan my husband's younger brother suddenly passed away. He was 32 years old. Our family was heartbroken.
Fast forward the summer of 2018 and in September, our mom (my husband's mother) traveled back to Dubai with us to stay for the rest of the winter.
The boys thrived under the warmth and wisdom of their grandmother, and in turn we watched as new surroundings and faith brought gentle healing to our family.
One of the things my MIL, like many elders, prefers to do is to use as little chemicals as possible around the home. That means using natural ingredients in our food, body products, cleaning supplies, and even our garden.
I was glad that we invested in an aloe vera plant 3 years ago when we moved in to our current home. We didn't realize how handy it would come later on. The plant grew alongside our boys until it grew so wide that we had to transplant to our garden.
Now our youngest one loves to get his hands dirty. One day he observed his grandmother cutting the aloe plant's leaves. His grandmother, knowing him and his curiosity asked him if he'd like to help her. He agreed.
They took the leaves inside. First she showed him how to wash the leaves under running water and then dry it with a towel. She asked him to find a small container and then showed him how to lay a cutting board over the towel (to catch spills).
She cut a leaf with a sharp knife, then showed him how to squeeze the gel/juice carefully into the container. They continued doing this quietly for a few minutes until the jar was full. Then she taught him to preserve by storing it in the fridge.
This is an Aloe clipping (just a small portion of the actual plant!) that I put it in our large Grecian bowl. It's the perfect sized vessel and I think the height and surface design gives it an elegant and stylish boost. You can use any indoor pot for your aloe plant, but I love the feeling of quiet luxury that this bowl gives.
The two of them would do this on a regular basis. It was a simple ritual but the bonding brought peace, quiet and healing. I find this to be true with a lot of the little things in life.
My MIL has now moved back to Canada. But our youngest one still takes care of their aloe vera plant. He trims the excess leaves and looks for bugs. Once in awhile, he will bring a leaf inside and set up the cutting board on the counter. Later I will find a container full of aloe juice in the fridge. He will remind us about his grandma and I will observe that he feels good and actually behaves more kindly afterwards.
We use our aloe gel on cuts and burns (it has antiseptic properties). My MIL uses it as a hair thickener - sometimes we'll even observe new hair growth! The boys use it as a natural hair gel.
So you can see Aloe vera is a favourite remedy in our family. But not many people are aware of its properties. Or some people may have an aloe plant at home but do not know how to harvest its goodness. That's why I am very happy to join forces with our friends at Tousled who can educate us on the benefits of Aloe Vera and share ways to use it for self-care, particularly on hair.
Tousled is a forum that shares reviews, tips and recommendations for all things hair-related. Their motto is that all hair is good hair. In the latest entry by Tousled editor, Olivia, she shares the benefits of aloe vera followed by four kinds of hair mask recipes, depending on your hair type, because not everyone has the same kind of hair. The recipes are simple, inexpensive and effective. I am excited to give them a try this weekend. You can too by finding the right mask for your hair type here.
There is even be a little discount code in there to kickstart your indoor garden and care for your first aloe vera plant, from yours truly.
Do you have an aloe vera story to share? Do your kids have a similar bonding ritual with your parents? Or do you have one with your grandparent/s?
Contribute your aloe vera review to Tousled here.