The Best House Plants – The Cactus Plant
There are a number of plants that can be grown inside the home. However, today we will be looking at the best houseplants of all times – the cactus plant. I will describe the cactus, highlight the advantages, disadvantages, the various uses and the benefits of the cactus plant.
What Is A Cactus Plant?
When you hear the word ‘cactus’ – you immediately think of the plant in the dessert. And you are right. More often, the cactus flourishes better in dry, arid and semi-arid regions in the world. The plant does not need a lot of water or TLC – tender, loving, care.
The cactus plant produces an edible fruit called the prickly pear and it has broad, flat leaves with spines or prickles. The beautiful and colorful flowers turn into the edible bulb-shaped fruits.
Uses for the cactus plant
It is amazing how many uses that can be found for the cactus plant. You can use the leaves, the flower, and the fruit. It has been cited to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting properties.
In Mexico, the entire plant is used for holistic treatment. The cactus pulp and its juice are used to treat skin wounds, stomach swelling, digestive problems, as well as urinary tract infections.
The prickly pear cactus extract and supplements are used to treat type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, colitis, diarrhea and benign enlargement of the prostate gland.
Studies done by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, have indicated that prickly pear extract may decrease blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The fiber and pectin found within the cactus appear to lower blood sugar by decreasing sugar absorption in the stomach and intestines. The plant extract improves insulin sensitivity, and it also protects the liver from oxidation.
Prickly pear lollipops are sometimes used as a weight loss aid to treat obesity and overweight. The natural extract is also used for alcohol hangovers.
A cousin of the same family, the Aloe Vera plant, the cactus leaves and its gel-like sap is also used as a hair conditioner and hair rinse using the juice.
The prickly pear can be used to make jams, jellies, candies, juices, alcoholic beverages, and syrups. In some Mexican restaurants, slices of the fruit also feature as an appetizing component of several dishes. The tender leaves or pads of the cactus, called nopales, often appear in boiled or grilled vegetable dishes.
- an easy supplement for vitamin C
- a good source of several minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- the prickly pear seed contains linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid with numerous health benefits
- the bitter taste of the juice
- may cause upset stomach which might even seem anti-
- increased stool volume and frequency, sometimes maybe even a mild diarrhea
- abdominal fullness
- according to Feng Shui, the placement of the cactus plant should be in a place in your home where it will help to neutralize the negative energy. A good place could be the bathroom especially if it is in an enclosed and windowless space. The cactus can also be grown outside the home as a protective symbol for the household.
It is advised that before you start using the prickly pear that you seek medical counsel. As with anything else, slowly ease the consumption into your diet to minimize the possible side effects.
My Final Thoughts
Last year December, I visited Malta and one thing that was very evident was the abundance of cactus plants and the fruits on these plants. I took the opportunity to taste the fruit. I must say, it is an ‘acquired’ but not totally repulsive taste – it could ‘grow’ on you like any other thing. With all the health benefits associated with eating the fruit, I would say, give it a try. I use Aloe Vera in my hair and skin care regimen and am also willing to try the cactus plant in this area. Have you ever used or tried the cactus plant or its fruit? I would love your feedback.
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