Nopals, a member of the Mexican cactus family, has been shown to help natural health in many ways – lowering cholesterol, reducing the incidence of diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels, preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and contributing to overall nutrition because it is filled with vitamins A, B1, 2, 3, C; as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and iron. As if that weren’t enough to make you rush out into the desert (or your local grocery store), nopal is a powerhouse of fiber which aids digestion, helps with detoxification, and assists in weight loss! WOW!
Nopal also does wonders for the skin and for your natural beauty. Nopal flowers and leaves (pads) are applied topically to treat skin conditions such as burns, scrape, rashes, bites and sunburn. A solution can be made out of the nopal flowers which has an astringent action, meaning it shrinks and tightens the top layers of skin, thereby helping to reduce irritation and secretions, and tightening up the pores. The leaves, like those of the aloe vera plant, may be split open and the cut side may be rubbed over irritated skin. Not only does the juice have an astringent action, similar to the leaf solution, it is sticky and mucilaginous (gooey) , so it seals and protects the broken skin.
Cosmetic companies are taking notice of how beneficial these common cactuses can be to the skin and are producing whole lines of products incorporating not only nopal, but also their Mexican relatives, aloe vera. These products are great for their anti-aging benefits, as the astringency tightens and firms the face and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and the gooey inside mucilaginous lotion is a wonderful moisturizer!
See Previous Posts: N is for Nopal – Native Medicine for Diabetes.