Magical Houseplants

October 31, 2022

October typically marks the end of the outdoor growing season here in the mountains of NC. My indoor garden of houseplants provides a refuge during the winter months.

Houseplants are shown to enhance your mood and creating a soothing living space. An article published in The Journal of Physiological Anthropology 2015 34:21 sites how active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress and help with loneliness and depression.

Houseplants help purify the air in our homes by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and trapping and absorbing many pollutants. Many of these chemical compounds, are released into our air through a process called “off-gassing,” and come from everyday items present in our homes and offices.

An indoor garden can be your refuge from the outside world and a source of great joy. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, when you introduce plants into your home you will start to notice improvements to your health and happiness. This blog will discuss some of my favorite easy to grow houseplants and their magical uses. 

I first met aloe as a young child. My great-grandmother had a large plant she kept in her bedroom to treat the radiation burns she received from undergoing colon cancer treatment in the late 1950’s. The leaves were harvested, split open and laid upon the burns on her back and abdomen. She said the medicine from the plant was the only thing she had ever used that brought her relief.

Aloe Vera
Aloe, Burn Plant, Medicine Plant, Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant.

Aloe, the most used form of which is known as A. vera barbadensis, is a succulent native to the south-west Arabian Peninsula. There are more than 500 Aloe species, 130 of which are native to Africa. The word ‘Aloe’ in Sanskrit means Goddess

Aloe was used by the Ancient Chinese and Egyptian people to heal wounds, reduce fever and treat burns. Ancient Egyptians believed that it promoted immortality and used it to embalm their dead. The first known written records of aloe come from ancient clay tablets found in Sumeria dating back to 2200 BC. Medical text from 1550 BC, the Ebers papyrus, refers to aloe and it’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40-90 CE) and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) both write of it healing benefits. During the 1100s Hildegard von Bingen was known to use aloe to help her migraines. She also prescribed the gel for gastric infections and ulcers

Deities – Aphrodite, Venus
Zodiac – Cancer
Planet – The Moon
Element – Water
Crystals -Obsidian, citrine and amethyst

Magically Aloe vera offers protection, good luck, and absorbs negative energies from the environment. In Mesopotamia and throughout the Middle East, leaves are hung over doorways to ward off evil spirits. A plant growing in the kitchen prevents accidents, particularly burns. A plant on a windowsill at the front of your house dispels negative energy and attracts good luck. For protection, break off the end of a leaf and dab the gel over windowsills and doorways. For healing spells anoint a green candle with the gel. For protection against the evil eye add gel to cleansing baths and spell jars.

How to Harvest Aloe Gel
You will need a leaf a foot long or several smaller leaves, a sharp paring knife, a cutting board, several small bowls, a blender, a jar for storage.
Start by cutting the leaves from the plant and propping them upright for a few minutes in a bowl to drain the aloe gel from the cut site. Then lay the leaf on a flat surface and cut into strips about an inch wide. Carefully remove the skin by sliding the knife underneath it and removing the block of gel. Cut gel block into small chunks and use a blender to make a puree. It will froth while blending. Gel can be stored for about a week in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge.

Aloe and Lavender Healing Gel
2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
10 drops lavender essential oil
Mix well and store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The gel will last for about a week in the fridge. Use for treating burns and skin irritations.

If you have pets please research the toxicity of the plant to animals.