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Cucumber Aloe Vera Drink

You can purchase the aloe vera gel used in this refreshing beverage, but making your own is easy and satisfying.

This recipe and others like it can be found in “This Arizona Curandera Changed the Way We Think About Our Wellness Routine,” from the 2022 Wellness Issue.

Aloe Water

Excerpted from Earth Medicines: Ancestral Wisdom, Healing Recipes, and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera by Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz (Roost Books, 2021). Photographs by Nicky Hedayatzadeh.
 4 cups water
 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
 1 cup fresh lime juice
 1 tsp ground turmeric
 1 tbsp chia seeds
 ½ cup fresh aloe vera gel, store-bought for consumption or harvested from an aloe vera leaf (directions at right)
 natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup, optional)

Put the water, cucumber, lime juice, turmeric, chia seeds, and aloe gel (either purchased or made from directions below) in a blender (working in batches if necessary) and pulse until smooth, adding more water if needed to achieve desired consistency.


Add a sweetener of your choice to taste.


Serve chilled or over ice.


To Make Your Own Aloe Gel: “You can find fresh aloe vera leaves at most Mexican grocery stores,” Ruiz writes in Earth Medicines. “To prepare the aloe vera gel, first trim the base and the top of the leaf. Drain the aloin (yellow substance) from the leaf by placing it in an upright container or in your kitchen sink for about 10 minutes. You will see the aloin ooze out from the bottom. Although it is not toxic, it has a strong bitter flavor. After 10 minutes, place the aloe vera with the flat side down on a cutting board and slice off the spiny sides. Using a vegetable peeler or small paring knife, remove the bright-green layer. Use a spoon to remove the gel or slide your knife under the gel to carefully release it from the other side. You can now cut your gel into small pieces and refrigerate.”