prickly pear cactus


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prickly pear cactus

prickly pear cactus

This popular cactus can grow all over the world and is destined to be the next big herbal superstar. Each part of this plant is both food and medicine, and its been used for centuries. Antiviral properties used for herpes, flu, HIV, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, cholesterol, and skin problems. The fruit of the cactus, which looks like pink easter eggs—also known as the pulp or tuna, can be eaten much like other fruits. They taste like raspberries and are SUPER high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, beta carotene, potassium, cancer-protecting flavonoids and huge doses of vitamin C. Prickly pear fruit has been clinically shown to reduce cholesterol. Seeds can be ground into flour. The flat green pads contain a full range of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. It is extremely rare for a plant source to have this many amino acids. It’s very high in dietary soluble fiber, mucilage and pectin. Mucilage is the sticky juice that oozes from the pad when it is sliced, the same mucilaginous immuneboosting polysaccharide found in Aloe Vera. Studies have shown the prickly pear cactus to be effective against diabetes, even type II. Apparently, it helps the pancreas create insulin. Amazing. The juice can be applied to warts and consumed to work on kidney stones. Tea made from the pads are used for lung problems, prostate issues and diabetes. When harvesting cactus, use tongs. Maybe even have some super thick work gloves or welding gloves. There are the big sharp obvious spikes, but be aware that at the base of those are little teeny tiny hairs that stick in your skin and can drive you nuts. These are called “glochids” but who cares what they are called. Just be ready for it and be careful when handling cactus. The payoff is well worth it! Hose off the cactus pieces as much as you can with water somehow- in the sink or with a hose. Then scrape off the needles while holding with tongs. Some people carve out the base of each spine with a knife where the glochids are. Then peel off the skin to eat, or if you want a cactus smoothie, simply throw the whole thing in a Vitamix, skin, prickles and everything, run it on high speed for a while until everything is absolutely liquified. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag and mix with fresh squeezed orange juice. Both the egg-shaped fruit and the flat pads can be eaten. People of many cultures peel the skin off the pads and cut them into strips to stir fry like any other vegetable. the flower can be added as garnish and eaten also. For pink lemonade- drop the pink fruit "eggs" into Vitamix blender with some lemon and optional honey, blend, strain out the prickles and you have amazing pink lemonade. The slimy inside can be mixed with water and used to wash and condition hair and even lather into a soap! The whole plant is edible.
References in periodicals archive ?
TABLE 1--Summary of data for populations of the western prickly pear cactus Opuntia macrorhiza in Boulder County, Colorado, 1998-2005.
The results of this project have demonstrated the advantages of mechanized harvesting of prickly pear cactus fruit, as well as providing a safer work environment for the pickers, increasing productivity and profitability, and ensuring that consistently high-quality fruit is delivered to the market.
Millions have died from the thorns of the prickly pear cactus," Burbank noted.
Vegetation in the plots included blackbrush (Acacia rigidula), guajillo (Acacia berlandieri), honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Texas prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii), tasajillo (Opuntia leptocaulis), strawberry cactus (Echinocereus enneacanthus), cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens), guayacan (Guaiacum angustifolium), leather stem (Jatropha dioica), lotebush (Ziziphus obtusifolia), Spanish dagger (Yucca treculeana), and other species.
Many species of cacti and other succulents are found in these deserts, to be sure, but the prickly pear cactus has adapted to life in New York State.
Efforts by officials and farmers to provide or maintain water supplies; prevent soil erosion; manage, curtail, or eliminate the rapidly spreading prickly pear cactus, often seen as a valued resource by poor white and African stock farmers; and wage war on sheep and lamb predators--ranging from jackals to eagles--are examined in great detail.
The pricky pear cactus may become a herbal superstar if Ran Kniskinsky, a professional health researcher, has anything to say about it: his Prickly Pear Cactus Medicine: Treatments For Diabetes, Cholesterol, And The Immune System points out this plant has long been a stable in diets and has been used as a remedy for many common ailments for a long time.
What they say: Prickly pear cactus (nopales) regulates blood sugar when its fruit is eaten daily.
The new study examined another herbal remedy, an extract from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica).
At lunch, Otte identified native food sources that sprouted near us, among them prickly pear cactus, red Toyon berries, lemondeberry.
It is difficult for many of today's westerners to comprehend that, before Lewis and Clark, the nation had no knowledge of prairie dogs nor grizzly bears, did not know of now-familiar plants, including big sagebrush and prickly pear cactus.
With brochure in hand, visitors can learn to identify prickly pear cactus, the preferred food of the javelina.