Aloe Vera for Sunburn and other things

Hello Dr Kris,

Where can I find Aloe Vera in Kuta Bali?

I am very sunburnt and really need this.

Thank you in advance,

Sophie Violaris


Yes, it’s a good idea… have some Aloe Vera plants on hand when you’re in Bali to combat the inevitable sunburn. You can buy Aloe at any nursery or garden shop, it is very common throughout Bali. You should easily be able to buy them at any roadside nursery that you see, they’re usually one of the most common plants for sale. There are plenty of nurseries all around Denpasar, up at Seminyak, on the way to Canggu and also out on  the other side at Renon and Sanur in Jalan Hayam Wuruk. If you’re really lucky you might come across one of the many mobile nurseries that does the rounds of suburban Denpasar, which is basically a pickup truck filled with plants cruising at low speed announcing their plants for sale – they do things better in Bali.

Well as for Aloe, my number one use is also for sunburn relief, especially here in Bali where being caught in a traffic jam for a few minutes on a motorbike can catch you unawares. I have never come across a faster more effective remedy for sunburn than Aloe Vera, although binahong leaf can be just as effective.

The plant multiplies regularly through small runners under the soil. If you know somebody that has a plant, take a small seedling and transplant it to your own garden or into a pot or small container. Its just so easy to grow, almost impossible to kill and also useful medicinally.

That reminds me – On one of my first ‘surfaris’ to Bali, half a lifetime ago in the Y2K, I kept couple of Aloe plants out the front of my bungalow at the Taman Ayu ‘Kempu’ down in Poppies II. At the time I had a Hawaiian friend staying around the corner and his garden beds had aloe growing everywhere. He said I could take some. So I did. I used scissors to chop down some large 1.5L Aqua bottles, poked some drainage holes in the bottom and then filled them up with gravel from the garden bed. The great thing about aloe is it grows better in a poor soil, and gravel is even better! Additionally, a large plant can be kept in a relatively small pot or container as the root-system is quite shallow and of a small size in relation to the plant. That’s why it’s so easy to pull a perfectly whole plant, root ball and all out of the ground.

With all the surfing that I was doing back then and then being out on the bike all day, having a few aloe plants at home was a surprisingly good idea, especially for all the reef cuts, grazes, exhaust pipe burns etc that were to come amongst all the other ‘bad ideas’ that had seemed good at the time.

For skin, it noticeably speeds up healing of sunburn, minor cuts, scratches and even nasty mosquito bites, all of which are pretty much unavoidable when in Bali especially taking into account the probability of coming across a pothole, ditch or duck crossing in the most unlikeliest of places and as for the mosquito bites well they’re a given..

Aloe is instantly soothing for sunburn – just take a whole leaf, slice it down the middle with a knife, or even a fingernail will suffice. Fold the skin inside out to expose the slimy gel then apply liberally to the affected skin. It has an immediate soothing cooling effect on the skin, leave it for a few minutes and it will gradually absorb into the skin and disappear. Wash your skin later if so desired as it will feel a bit sticky or perhaps tight. Repeat every few hours to avoid a ‘next day’ pain from sunburn. There is no cream that you can buy that work as well as this. People rub aloe all over their face to reduce wrinkles and improve their skin.


It really is natures medicine for the skin

But in Indonesia Aloe is known as Lidah Buaya (Crocodiles Tongue). It is very attractive in the garden, pots, or even on the windowsill. It has been used indoors to help remove air-borne toxins from the environment as it can release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide in darkness.


The Egyptians used it instead to embalm the dead…..

It was probably was a good idea considering the gel found inside of the Aloe leaf contains over 75 nutrients, including minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Aloe can be eaten raw, but some people juice it for health, you can even buy it in cans and bottles, still or carbonated and all packed in with the goodness of 20 tablespoons of sugar just to give your health that extra kick along that it was needing!

For dandruff and eczema rub fresh Aloe gel onto the area of the scalp or skin that is affected, and let it soak in. Aloe is also a good substitute for shaving gel and moisturizer in one. No more shaving rash on sensitive skin!

For growing, Aloe requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Plants are tolerant of poor soils with low nutrient value, and will grow well in a rocky nutrient deficient, barren, desert-like condition. It will grow well indoors on a sunny window-sill and does well in bathrooms.

Aloe Vera can withstand long periods of drought. If you do forget to water it and it catches no rain for more than a month for example, it may take on a pale tone or even start turning a pale pinkish/peachy colour and shrivel up a little. Once watered, within a few hours the plant will begin to recuperate and eventually get its colour back.

If you wish to buy Aloe a medium sized plant should not cost more than Rp. 40000 (circumference 30cm viewed from the top), and up to Rp. 80.000 for a well-developed larger specimen. Smaller plants for small pots should be cheap, see if you can spot them in a hotel garden!



Dr. Kris

Garden Doctor


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