Story by Sana Murtaza Bhalli, Summer 2019
Being raised by my mom in Pakistan taught me a lot about different plants and her love for gardening. Our house was filled with different plants such as jasmine flowers, pomegranate trees, and Aloe vera. My mom is very devoted to her plants, especially when it comes to taking care of them and thinking about the benefits of these plants. One example is Aloe vera, a plant that has multiple uses and can improve your mental health. My mom used it as her beauty gel. My dad buys it because he is a diabetic patient with a stomach ulcer and it helps him digest food correctly while keeping nutrients in balance. I use it to get rid of my pimples. I would get irritated with how passionate my mom is about her plants. When they die, she cries for two or three days, which is a little funny to me. Even when there is a boiling temperature in Pakistan above 100 F, she caters to her plants to make sure they are ok. Shockingly, the aloe is the only one that is able to endure such humidity. My brother and I used to water all the plants in the evening when the weather would get a little bit cooler even though it was still hot and hard to breathe. Watering plants in the evening makes you feel calm, and the fragrance of soil is delightful after you are done watering. I felt very refreshed and peaceful in my mind while walking through the garden observing different plants. In my village, not everyone has access to aloe, so people would come to my house to get a piece of it to use as medicine. Aloe vera carries proteins, Vitamins A and C, and is incredibly anti-inflammatory. Through the various uses of aloe vera, I feel it is a very calming and refreshing plant and can make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.