Monday, June 13, 2011

I Keep the Aloe Handy

May 15th is the last frost date for us unless the year is a record setter. The aloe vera plants can go out to stay for the rest of the spring and all of the summer. I’ll position them just outside the studio doors where they will be handy for use in the event I get a small burn wound. The rest of the year I place them indoors all around the studio in pot hangers on the window grille frames where they get enough natural light.

The plants are nearly care free to grow. Probably the most important caution is to water infrequently. They tolerate dryness well but not wet soil. The plants propagate by putting out offsets around the perimeter until they eventually overcrowd the container and benefit from dividing.

Their efficacy in treating burns seems a matter of debate but I am a believer based on years of experience. I have often repeated the phrase, "You don't get burned on red hot iron - you get burned on black hot iron." On a falling heat black iron can still be 1000Âș F. In an inattentive moment I occasionally brush against such a piece and get a small second degree burn. An aloe plant is seldom more that a few feet from where I am working so I can tear off a sprig and squeeze the juice on the wound and the pain ceases almost immediately. If Ice were as available I'd use that too.

Perhaps it's only my optimistic imagination, but I believe this first aid treatment prevents the wound from getting as bad as it otherwise would and it heals faster. I've never gotten a burn bad enough to interfere with working but I've had one on my right forearm which was a nuisance for a couple of weeks. Once burned, twice shy.

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