Strengthen The Body With Nopal Prickly Pear
|Nopal Prickly Pear And Your Health||Darrell Miller||08/18/09|
August 18, 2009 12:41 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Nopal Prickly Pear And Your Health
Nopal is also referred to as the prickly pear cactus. The broad, thick, succulent leaves of the cactus are used for medicinal purposes. The nopal prickly pear herb is the most commonly found in the southwestern United States.
The nopal prickly pear is a vegetable that is made from the young cladophyll, pad-like, segments of the prickly pear plant. These are carefully peeled to remove the spines. The nopal prickly pear is extremely common in its native Mexico. Although the pads of almost all Opuntia species are edible, farmed nopales are most often of the species Opuntia ficus-indica. Generally, a nopal is sold fresh, bottled, or canned. Less often, it is sold dried. It is used to prepare nopalitos. The nopal has a light, slightly tart flavor, and a crisp, mucilaginous texture. This herb is commonly used in Mexican cuisine dishes include huevos con nopales, which is eggs with nopal; carne con nopales, also known as meat with nopal; or tacos de nopales. Nopales are also an important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. Currently, the nopal is gaining popularity elsewhere in the United States.
De-thorned nopal stems are used as food in Mexico and among Native Americans. Early settlers used the stems in wound dressing after they had been peeled. The gel that comes from the cactus pads was used to soften the skin. This lessened tension against the wound and alleviated pain. Nopal juice is valued as an anti-inflammatory diuretic. Practitioners of folk medicine recommend this herb fore use against painful urination. The mashed pulp of the cactus was traditionally eaten by the West Coast Indians in order to ease childbirth. Additionally, the pulp was used as a lung remedy and as a cardiac aid.
The nopal prickly pear herb contains a variety of phytochemicals. Among these components are pectin, mucilage, and gums that assist the digestive system. This herb also contains nutrients which inhibit bowel absorption of dietary fat and excess sugars. Nopal is responsible for fortifying the liver and pancreas. This enhances insulin’s ability to move glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is able to produce energy. Research has determined that nopal prickly pear has hypoglycemic benefits as well. This could be extremely helpful for those people suffereing from diabetes. Other studies have determined that nopal lowers serum levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Additionally, it may inhibit cancer growth and prevent cancer development. Laboratory animals that were treated with cactus juice showed an increase immune response regarding tumor growth, Epstein-Barr virus, and suppressed immune function.
The leaves of the nopal plant are used to provide antiasthmatic, astringent, laxative, pectoral, and vemrifuge properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are mucilage, pectin, and phytochemicals. Primarily, nopal is extremely beneficial in dealing with cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, and immune function. This herb also acts as a great digestive aid.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by nopal prickly pear, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.