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Nopal Cactus,(1), (2) also known as “Prickly Pear”, “Indian Fig” or "Barbary Fig" is scientifically categorized as Opuntia Spp, a generic name referring to over 200 species of the Opuntia cacti family.

 

Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) Origins

Since the Pre-Columbian period, the native people of the Americas, Aztecs, Zacatecans, Tepehuanes, Chichimecs and Coras have utilized the fruits and green stems of the Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) as food.

Archeological researchers found human coprolites (preserved feces) containing the remains of Nopal cactus dating back as far as 65 B.C. Other sources of information about Nopal's many uses in the ancient times can be found in the journals of the missionaries who worked in the region and documents the survived destruction during the cultural cleanse ordered by Mexico's Spanish archbishop.

The Aztecs used Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) for building materials, food, making glue, firewood, strengthening mortar, stiffening cloth and for religious rituals. 

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The tuna or the Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) fruit is boiled then combined with honey, which is known to help with respiratory tract conditions.(*) The fruit of the Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) is eaten to help with diarrhea and a sore throat.(3*) The Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) pads can be used as heating pads to help with swelling, muscle pains, muscle aches and are also utilized for dressing wounds and/or cuts.(4*)

The pads' gel or sap can be applied to bruises, burns, and cuts.(*)  A paste may be used for dental needs. The Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) sap can be used as a moisturizer.(5*)

 

Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) Contains

Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) contains 18 Amino Acids: Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic AcidCystine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, MethioninePhenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, and Valine.

Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) Contains 15 Potent Phytonutrients

Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) contains 10 Minerals: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, and Zinc

Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) contains 8 Vitamins: Vitamin A, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2)Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Ascorbic Acid (C), Vitamin E, and Folate.

Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) also contains Betalains, Fiber, and Pectin.


      Source References
(1)
Wikipedia: Nopal Cactus
(2)
Wikipedia: Opuntia
(3)
Mayo Clinic: Prickly Pear Cactus
(4) Wiki How: Eat Prickly Pear Cactus
(5) AltMed: Prickly Pear
(6) Wikipedia: Inflammation
(7) Wikipedia: Betalain
(8) Medical News Today: Inflammation
(9) Wikipedia: Betanin
(10) WebMD: Diabetes Health Center
(11)
Natural News Nopal Plant Normalizes Blood Sugar and Boosts Insulin Sensitivity
(12) WebMD: Getting Help For Depression
(13)
Medicine.net: Tryptophan
(14)
WebMD: Serotonin - 9 Questions and Answers
(15) 
Mayo Clinic: Vitamin B3, Nicotinic Acid
(16)
PubMed: Coronary Health Disease
(17) Ehow: Types of Natural Antibiotics
(18) PubMed: Obesity
(19) Wikipedia: Obesity

(20) Wikipedia: Cataracts
(21) Wikipedia: Glaucoma