In South Africa the prickly pear is a very popular fruit in summer and it is also made into a wonderful and refreshing health drink.Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a flower- and fruit-bearing cacti plant that has been used for centuries by indigenous Mexican tribes to treat a variety of ailments and conditions. In the wild, prickly pear cactus grows in desert-like conditions, but it is now grown commercially in many European countries.
As a dietary supplement, prickly pear cactus is available in powder or pill form. Prickly pear cactus is also available as a food item in North American supermarkets.
What Does It Do?
And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?
Prickly pear cactus is a rich source of flavanoids, including kaempferol, quercetin, kaempferol 3-methyl ether, quercetin 3-methyl ether, narcissin, dihydrokaempferol (aromadendrin, 6), dihydroquercetin, and eriodictyol. These flavanoids are responsible for its health-enhancing benefits.
Traditional Mexican indian tribes have used prickly pear cactus as a food item and a medicinal plant. Mexico has a hot, arid, desert climate, and this makes agriculture difficult in the absence of irrigation technologies.
Thus, very few plant species can survive under these dry conditions. Out of necessity (and in the absence of other plant life), prickly pear cactus has been used as a food item by Mexican Indian tribes. It has been used to make jellies, soups, pickles, and even cheese products.Medicinally, prickly pear cactus has been used to heal superficial wounds (cuts and scrapes), and, like Aloe Vera, is usually applied topically.
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