The Benefits of Opuntia Ficus Indica

by Michael Anthony - Date: 2007-06-27 - Word Count: 550 Share This!

Opuntia Ficus Indica, also known as Indian or Barbary Fig, is a very interesting kind of cactus plant which is grown mainly for its fruit. It has lots of medicinal and health maintenance qualities that make it a fantastic staple for the human diet. It's also referred to as "prickly pear" in culinary circles due to its green color and little barbed hairs that they have all over them.

No one really knows where this plant hails from since it has been widely cultivated for a long time. The main growing regions include Mexico, Sicily, Chile, N. Africa, Brazil, Algeria, and Ethiopia. It is believed that Columbus carried this, and it is known that the Maya of Mexico used it as well as the Nazca of Peru as early as the 15th century. Since it is a type of cactus, it thrives in dry, arid places with lots of sunshine and can tolerate drought well. I found out that humans have used it as food as early as 12,000 years ago. The more I learned about this plant, the more I became interested in writing about it.

Opuntia Ficus Indica is mainly grown for its fruits, which are called tunas, and it is available in commercial markets worldwide, though I've never heard of it before, so I know I can't march down to my local supermarket and pick some up. Anyhow, Lets talk about what it can do for us humans, and later, how we can get this in our diets.

Uses of Opuntia Ficus-Indica.

This plant is known to be a good binding and waterproofing agent when those old Indians were building adobes and such. With that waxy cacti material, this makes sense. One of the things I like about it is that its also a remedy for symptoms of hangovers. According to the National Institute of Health over at, Opuntia Ficus Indica seems to be able to reduce inflammation which causes the hangovers. A double blind, placebo-controlled study was done on it with binge drinking college students and verified it. Good news for you drinkers out there, huh?

It's also used as an astringent that reduces bleeding. That's amazing because its binding properties do well for us. It binds other things too but we'll get to that in a bit. In addition, opuntia ficus indica treats gastro-intestinal problems like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, and its good for enlarged prostate gland conditions.

One of the most valuable properties is its ability to bind fat. This plant is wonderful for weight loss and weight management. And guess what? A controlled study was done on this fat binding process too. It turns out that the cactus fibers do some interesting things when it comes into contact with excess fat. It binds it up immediately and makes the molecules too big for the body to absorb. Then it gets excreted naturally. This process also helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Pretty cool, huh?

This reaction also leads to a feeling of being full for a longer period of time since it now takes longer for your food intake to digest. This is truly an amazing plant, like a lot of other out there, but one of the few that has been clinically proven. So, as you can see, like milk, it does the body good!

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Michael Anthony is webmaster of NewWeightLossReview where natural products are reviewed to help you lose weight the healthy way. For more information on Opuntia Ficus Indica-based weight loss product, visit: Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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