Preparing Aloe Vera Juice

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  • 1 Post By Ceri
  • 1 Post By Farah85
  • 2 Post By Farah85
  • 1 Post By Farah85

Hello All!

It's my third question in the same 24 hours.. hehe.. but I've been spending a lot of time at the workshop and lots of issues are coming up!

I extract my own aloe vera juice for use in FSG and (upcoming) conditioner (scrape the leaves, liquify w stick blender) and I [think] I read somewhere that I have to boil it before use to get rid of any nasties in there.. Do microbes really live in the flesh of the aloe vera? I really don't know enough plant biology to answer myself.. But my main question is, wouldn't boiling the aloe vera juice alter its magical properties?

Help much appreciated!!
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.
All of what I read on aloe vera and extracting it does not mention the presence of microbes. But, they do mention the anti-microbial properties of aloe vera, and its ability to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. I agree with you about the boiling. I think that boiling it would lessen or destroy its benefits. Maybe you could add a little essential oil like tea tree if you are really worried about that.

HTH
Bacteria, mold and fungus are all natural and not at all magical.

If you want to make any kind of B&B product that contains water or watery plant material (aloe vera, herbal teas, hydrosols etc) and keep it outside of the fridge, then it must be heated to 70 C and held at 70 C for at least 20 min. You will also need to use a real preservative, EOs and GSE are not going to work.

FYI, fresh aloe vera and teas are also a bit more of a challenge to properly preserve in formulations.

If you want to try using fresh aloe vera, then add it to your water & seeds before boiling it.

Let us know how it works on your hair.
coilynapp likes this.
3a/3b Medium Texture & Normal Porosity
Modified CG since November 2009
Low Poo - (Once in a while) True Polaris Solid Shampoo Bar
CO-wash/Condish - (I'm lazy, one step only!) True Polaris Solid Conditioner Bars
Styling - True Polaris Truly Curly Styling Gel I add 'cones in summer Truly Frizz Free Hair Serum
I plop and defuse daily


I love MUSE
@Ceri - thank you for the information.. I'm trying to read up about aloe extraction and not having much luck on the internet..

I'm going to try the following in the next weeks: extract some aloe juice & heat to 70 degrees and hold for 20 minutes then use in FSG preserved w/ germall plus at the recommended percentage and compare its performance to a control that I will also preserve with germall plus but not boil and keep refrigerated and see if they perform differently in the gel.. I'll report back..

I do realize that EOs and GSO are not preservatives (neither is citric acid etc) but with the number of people on these boards who directly describe them as preservatives I used to think they are! There needs to be a sticky on every forum explaining the importance of proper preservation using actual wide spectrum preservatives because before I was properly educated on this I really didn't realize how many microbes could be growing in my FSG!

Thanks again..
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.
P.S. I love muse too!
thelio likes this.
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.
There is so much miss information on the web, it's really quite scary. I think most people are well intended, but just keep coping the same wrong stuff instead of really studying the facts properly.

When I can, I do try to inform people and there are others on here that do as well, but there are some that believe the hype that says all natural = good and preservatives = bad. Oh well.
3a/3b Medium Texture & Normal Porosity
Modified CG since November 2009
Low Poo - (Once in a while) True Polaris Solid Shampoo Bar
CO-wash/Condish - (I'm lazy, one step only!) True Polaris Solid Conditioner Bars
Styling - True Polaris Truly Curly Styling Gel I add 'cones in summer Truly Frizz Free Hair Serum
I plop and defuse daily


I love MUSE
ive been making aloe vera gel, so im still getting the hang of it, but what ive been doing is: i use fresh leaves, we got it in the garden so i just gotta go out n pick it. i put it in the fridge for a bit, till its cold, then i cut the sharp bits off and try to cut all the green off, so im just left with the gooy sticky stuff. i add different oils to it, always a currier oil, like almond or coconut oil, then my "goodies" oils, argan, hemp or emu, then i add EO's for smell. i whip everything together till there aint any more chunks in it. i do put it in the fridge when im not using it. and its never gone off before.
IDK if its the best way, but it works for me, and its amazing

my hair: 3c, high porosity, high density and coarse hair (i think i finally figured that all out)
my hair loves conditioner only styling!
my hair goal length is bra strap length when curly.

I also blog about my hair journey, please feel free to read and comment/ask questions http://www.naturallycurly.com/blogs/...air-blogs/2494
Update:

So the other day I decided to try and process some aloe vera in preparation for some whipping. This is what I did:

1. Starting with the leaves (freshly cut from the garden), I scraped off all of the gel from inside the leaf (without including any of the green bits)
2. Using my immersion blender, I tried to liquify the blobs of gel (which are mixed in with some straight up liquid gel) as much as possible. I passed the liquified gel through a wire mesh strainer producing juice that is as liquid as I can get it to be.
3. I put the aloe juice in a double boiler and heated and held at 70 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
4. As it cooled down (at below 50 degrees C) I added my preservative (Germall Plus powder) at the highest recommended percentage (0.2%).
5. I took two samples (put one in an uncapped test tube and another in a capped test tube) and put them out on a rack in a room that gets lots of sunshine. I will be observing these samples for when they "visually" go off. In the future, I will be sending them to a lab to see if the preservation was successful, but for now I just want to get a sense of how long it takes before I see anything growing in it.
6. I bottled all of the rest and put it in the fridge to make sure it lives as long as possible (considering this was 6 HOURS of labor, I didn't want it to go off outside the fridge!). I will be using it in my formulations.

I have noticed that there are flecks of plant (not liquid) still in the bottles that I have refrigerated. They sediment easily but the slightest shake disperses them so I can't really decant the liquid without getting the flecks back in it. I am planning on seeing if passing it through coffee filters can yield less cloudy liquid. I have noticed those flecks of plant are very visible in my FSG and I'd like to get a more clear gel look. I don't mind the chipped bits of seed in FSG - they give it a nice wholesome look, but the plant tissue from the AVJ make it look kind of foody which might put some people off.. I will report back on experiments regarding getting the juice to be totally clear..

I do have 2 questions though (if you've read this far!!):

1. Would adding citric acid to lower the pH help the Germall Plus be more effective at preserving the juice, or is it unnecessary?
2. I will be using the aloe in FSG that I will also preserve with Germall Plus powder at the highest recommended percentage 0.2% (as a start at least, if it turns out to be stellar at keeping it microbe free for a long time after a challenge test - which I doubt - I will try it at lower percentages). Since the aloe juice is already preserved, should I factor it OUT of my calculation of how much preservative is needed (ditto for any other preserved additives) or is the redundancy negligible and not very harmful? I use the aloe juice at something like 5% of the formula (by weight).

Thanks in advance!!

EDIT: I tried coffee filters to get rid of the flecks but it doesn't really work. Too slow and stops after a while. I'm thinking maybe using a permeable fabric of sorts would be more effective for this.
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.

Last edited by Farah85; 12-15-2011 at 05:01 AM. Reason: More information
Update:


EDIT: I tried coffee filters to get rid of the flecks but it doesn't really work. Too slow and stops after a while. I'm thinking maybe using a permeable fabric of sorts would be more effective for this.
Originally Posted by Farah85
Maybe cheese cloth?

Good luck on your experiment. I dont have the patients for this.
I tried the cheese cloth and it got 90% of the plant material out. A less permeable fabric would probably get all of it out, but this is good enough for now. I just want to make sure I don't leave all that food for bacteria.

However, after spending a day reading up on best practices for processing aloe vera and the whole industry that exists around it, I am beginning to lean towards importing powder instead of trying to process my own. I feel like I am either going to kill all the actives OR not kill all the microbes because essentially the only weapons I have against microbes are heating and holding and the preservative I use in the end (as well as trying to do this whole thing in the most sanitary environment possible.

Out of curiosity I am going to continue down the path of this experiment. I am leaving samples out that I will send later to the lab for testing. I might even get the juice itself challenge tested (not just the products I want to put it in). I will keep you all posted (in the event that this could be useful to someone, somewhere!)
thelio and Jo Somebody like this.
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.
I tried the cheese cloth and it got 90% of the plant material out. A less permeable fabric would probably get all of it out, but this is good enough for now. I just want to make sure I don't leave all that food for bacteria.

However, after spending a day reading up on best practices for processing aloe vera and the whole industry that exists around it, I am beginning to lean towards importing powder instead of trying to process my own. I feel like I am either going to kill all the actives OR not kill all the microbes because essentially the only weapons I have against microbes are heating and holding and the preservative I use in the end (as well as trying to do this whole thing in the most sanitary environment possible.

Out of curiosity I am going to continue down the path of this experiment. I am leaving samples out that I will send later to the lab for testing. I might even get the juice itself challenge tested (not just the products I want to put it in). I will keep you all posted (in the event that this could be useful to someone, somewhere!)
Originally Posted by Farah85
It is useful! Please continue!
My hair is in the 4s, low in porosity, high in density and coarse.

Love: QB - all of it, Bobeam - shampoo bars, Darcy's Botanicals - Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, Coconut Cupuacu Pomade, KBN - Shealoe Leave-in, Oyin - Juices & Berries, Kinky Curly - Knot Today, Ayurvedic treatments, my Denman and the cloud of kinky goodness on my head that I get to play with!
UPDATE:

The FSG I've been making with this aloe juice (which I'm too scared to keep outside the fridge so it's been living in the fridge) feels less moisturizing to me than FSG that I make with juice unadulterated and straight from the leaf.

I think that I'm going to suck it up and start looking into sourcing concentrated aloe vera powder. It would save me a WHOLE LOT of headache and I have no way of knowing how many actives are still alive in the gel that I've pasteurized. I also don't think that my pasteurization and preservation will keep it microbe free for too long; the samples I've left out in test tubes in the sun have already changed color in under 2 weeks.

I've read up a lot on the aloe juice and powder extracting/processing industry and - well - it IS a whole industry and there's no way I can emulate what they do at home. It's a great business in and of itself for anyone who wants to go down that path! But I will have to let the aloe vera that runs rampant in the garden taunt me as I figure out how to deal with international shipping and stupid customs officials.

Sigh.
Jo Somebody likes this.
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.

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