Prickly pear is known by a few names such as nopal cactus, barbary fig cactus, opuntia, Indian fig prickly pear cactus, tuna cardona, westwood pear and a few others. Prickly pear as the name applies have spines, which can be long or thick in shape or short or fine in shape. Prickly pears grow in North American deserts, Southwest U.S., Mexico and in Canada. Prickly pear cactus has been part of the diet for Mexican and Central Americans for thousands of years. Most prickly pear cacti have yellow, red, or purple flowers. They vary in height from 1 to 6 feet
.e use of prickly pear as a natural helper in the treatment of diabetes is well known among native cultures. It is known to have hypoglycemic effects. The prickly pear has been reported as beneficial to a whole host of conditions. Research has shown it has beneficial actions on the cardiovascular system by decreasing platelet activity. This means it’s good for both the heart and blood vessels.
The cactus pads of the prickly pear contain essential vitamins and minerals such as: potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene and vitamin C.
Nopal Catcus is the only plant to contain 24 of the known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains are polyphenolic pigments found in beets. Betalains give nopal cactus their purple-red and yellow colors. Prickly pear juice power comes from its ability to fight chronic inflammation.
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