Medicinal and Health Benefits of Cactus

The origin of cactus is from a succulent plant family known as Cactaceae. Cactus is often used as an ornamental plant, but some of them are cultivated as crop as well. They are native to West Indies, South America, and North America. In India, many cacti are grown as wild plants in semiarid and arid regions. In the countries like Italy, Mexico, Spain, USA and North Africa, people include cactus in their regular dietary requirement. With the flavor of fresh fruits as an excellent quality, young leaves of cacti serve as salad dish and nutritious vegetable.

Cactus Health benefits

It is known that all cactus plants are not edible. You can find the two main species of cactus which are suitable and medically useful for human consumption below.

1. Opuntia or prickly pear cactus health benefits:

The key characteristics of this cactus species are spiky protruding paddles from a stem and attractive yellow, orange or red bulbous fruit and tangled mass of vivacious green. Prickly pear is also known as paddle cactus and it belongs to the genus of Opuntia cacti. The pads or leaves of cactus are called as Nopales and fruits are called as pear or tuna. On peeling the outer layer of cactus skin, the pear found inside can be cooked or eaten raw. They are used as vegetable in Mexican cuisine, and also they are used to make sweets and jellies. It is one of the prickly pear cactus health benefits.

prickly pear cactus health benefits

Cactus and its uses with medicinal benefits include:

• It acts as a natural laxative and helps in treating constipation
• Body immune system can be strengthened
• Preventing and reducing the muscle inflammation along the body of the muscle of the gastrointestinal tract to bladder muscles
• Cholesterol levels of body can be reduced
• Insulin and glucose levels in the body will be stabilized
• Gastric ulcers are treated by this cactus
• Wounds, insect bites and scrapes can be healed by applying the topping of cacti gel
• Effect of drinking more alcohol can be reduced by intake of this cactus

The Pitaya fruit

There are different types of cactus and its uses. The Pitaya fruit is one among the fruit-bearing cactus. This cactus is mainly found in Malaysia, Philippiness, Indonesia and Thailand. Depending on the locality they grow, the color of inner flesh will be white or bright red. Some of the benefits of in taking this cactus are listed below.

• The Pitaya is rich in Vitamins like Vitamin C, minerals, phosphorous and calcium
• For dieters, this fruit is the best choice as it has low calories and fibrous in nature. It is also affluent of poly-saturated fats which makes it a healthy fat.
• Harmful chemicals and toxins are removed from the body by eating this fruit.
• This fruit is quickly metabolized and absorbed by the body when eaten, so it acts as a natural Vitamin C       supplement
• Blood pressure level and cholesterol level can be reduced by this fruit, hence it is used for treating diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition to this, there are also several types of cactus and its uses are very vast. Even though the appearance is thorny, it is hiding numerous health benefits

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About the Author: Pavithra Madhava