Opuntia (from Latin Opuntia) is the largest class of the Cactus family. Most of its species consist of flat segments covered with tubercles (areolas) and thorns. The peculiarity of Opuntia in their ability is to develop shoots or flowers from any of the kidneys in their own manner that is in the most unexpected place. This cactus of flowers tied fruit, which is used for food, and the body of Opuntia can be fed to animals. Microelements and vitamins included in its composition, peculiarities of the structure of stems and fruit allow Opuntia to be used in folk and traditional medicine. Its extracts are also contained in personal care products. Opuntia fruit and stems have many useful properties.
Opuntia, most often Fat (Indian), is used for problems with digestion due to coarse dietary fiber and high acidity. It helps to cope with diarrhea, dysentery, has a fixing effect. It is claimed that drugs based on this cactus stabilize metabolic processes in the body.
Opuntia can be used to treat bronchitis because of possessing anti-inflammatory effect. It has healing properties, it binds free radicals in the body.
Opuntia in combination with other drugs can regulate the level of sugar and reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. For patients with diabetes, it contains a lot of potassium and calcium, this stimulates the pancreas, insulin synthesis, and regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body.
Opuntia is often prescribed by nutritionists for people with obesity. For weight loss it has the ability to bind fat cells to coarse fibers at all stages of digestion. As a consequence, one kg of consumed Opuntia can be delayed up to 230-280 grams of fat without digestion. Bonus is a swollen cactus fiber, causing a feeling of satiety. Reducing the amount of digested fat, lowers the level of cholesterol and sugar in the body, reduces weight. Having such diseases as obesity, ulcers or gastritis, you need to be careful and pay attention to the amount of acid in the stems of Opuntia, and it is better to consult a doctor.
Opuntia stimulates the work of the brain thanks to improved blood supply and lower edema of blood vessels. Besides the active blood supply, the oxygen saturation of cells increases, which in a complex improves memory and speeds up work. The frequency of headaches decreases.
Many methods of application are known in folk medicine. Here is a small part of them:
The Indians made fixative bandages for the fusion of broken bones using Opuntia gluten as gypsum, and feathers as bandages. These same ancient tribes passed the experience of countering the disease of scurvy. European seafarers have become less sick, thanks to the increased amount of vitamin C that enters the body with food from Opuntia. A compress from the pounded flesh of the Opuntia stems is still applied when having rheumatism.
There are many trace elements in Opuntia fruits and stems: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. Starch and glucose are synthesized from Opuntia. Vitamins are listed in descending order of their volume in the composition of Opuntia per 100 g:
Vitamin C (14 mg), also called ascorbic acid, is needed to maintain immunity, removes cholesterol from the body, improves heart function, etc.
Vitamin PP, more precisely betaine N-methylnicotinic acid (0.46 mg), we will not go into details, but this vitamin is used as an antiallergic agent, reduces the level of cholesterol, improves the patency of blood in the blood vessels.
Vitamins B1 (0.014 mg) normalizes carbohydrate metabolism, work of intestines, central nervous system (CNS), vascular activity.
B2 (0.06 mg) regulates protein metabolism. Improves the work of the liver, nervous system, nourishes the nails, skin and hair.
B6 (0.06 mg) promotes the absorption of proteins, fats and amino acids. Positively affects the immunity, the central nervous system, promotes the health of teeth and gums.
Beta-carotene (0.026 mg) is a plant dye of yellow color, has the properties of immunostimulation, binds and removes harmful substances from the body.
Vitamin B9 (6 mcg) is known as folic acid. Helps to form new cells, stimulates the development of the fetal bone marrow in the early stages of pregnancy. Its deficiency can cause cancer.
Vitamin A (2 mcg) is a good antioxidant, the body uses it for proper vision, with proper balance of vitamin A immunity increases.
It is also very convenient to use nopal cactus (opuntia streptacantha) extract. The liquid extract of Opuntia has an exotic muscat-fig flavor and a slightly sweet taste. Probably it is difficult to call an illness against which this extract is not useful.
The use of opuntia extract is quite wide. It is an indispensable additive to many medical and cosmetic lotions, wraps, salts and bath foam, shampoos, tinctures, oils, creams, ointments and balms.
Thanks to its extensive healing properties, the opuntia extract is added to many medications of folk and traditional medicine. These are all kinds of medicinal ointments, oils, creams, tinctures, compresses, etc. Successfully cures disorders of the nervous, cardiovascular system, diseases of the digestive tract, kidneys, colds and inflammations, skin. An irreplaceable addition to preparations for diabetics, antiscorbutic, dietary supplements.