Nopal is a famous cactus with a variety of health and cosmetic benefits, and a long resume of medicinal properties. Native to the Southwestern region of the United States and Mexico, the plant features in some of our hardest working Puristry formulas! We’re covering the greatest hits of some of nopal cactus’ most notable health and skincare benefits.
Nopal as a Dietary Supplement
Nopal cactus is edible, and it amps up the health factor in a variety of Southwestern dishes. That’s because nopal is an excellent source of fiber, a major key for healthy digestion and satiety. High fiber foods are important for balancing blood sugar levels – fiber slows the absorption of sugar and prevents insulin spikes (which contribute to the development of diabetes and obesity over time). Because of this, nopal cactus, also referred to as nopales, is talked about as a ‘superfood’ and is promoted as a smart dietary addition. Its ‘superfood’ status is compounded by research around the fruit that has exhibited its properties as a metabolic booster; nopal reduces blood glucose concentration and promotes lipid metabolism, meaning that fat is more efficiently passed through the digestive system. With these benefits in mind, it’s an excellent addition (as a supplement or added as a whole food dietary addition) for those looking to control blood sugar and metabolic health.
Nopal for Pain Relief
The benefits of nopal include a powerful efficacy when it comes to treating inflammation. Its strong anti-inflammatory effects are due to belatins, a rare class of antioxidants present in prickly pear that are responsible for the vibrant hues of vegetables like beets and red swiss chard. The presence of belatins means that prickly pear can be a potent remedy for pain relief. In fact, research has shown that nopal cactus is effective at curbing uncomfortable symptoms related to a hangover. It could be a good idea to keep some nopal supplements on hand for when you plan on having one too many glasses of vino!
Nopal for Skin Healing
Belatin present in prickly cactus also means that the little fruit works as a topical anti-inflammatory when applied to the epidermis. Historically, it has been used to heal cuts and insect bites, and similarly is an excellent solution for acneic skin that has active comedones or still-healing blemishes. In addition to Belatin, other antioxidants present in the fruit – the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin – contribute to its soothing dermis properties, and skin prevent damage on the cellular level by reducing oxidative damage. Because of this, it stars in the formula of Puristry’s Nopal Cactus Cleanser, an ultra soothing and nourishing tonic that combines nopal cactus with organic bergamot fruit oil for skin brightening and smoothing.
Nopal for Detoxifying
Nopal’s powerful antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral profile make it an effective tool for detoxifying. In addition to its antioxidants, it contains Vitamin C, B1, B2, and B3, minerals like potassium and calcium, and high levels of fiber. It’s a rich source of protein and bioflavonoids and contains 17 types of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in the body. Detoxifying effects of nopal cactus include regulation of the gastrointestinal function and reducing fluid retention. Eaten raw (they can be diced into salsas and salads), they retain full integrity of this nutritional profile, so try adding them in to a salad or energy bowl for a seriously detoxifying kick.
With its ultra nutritious profile, nopal cactus is a smart addition for both internal and external health. Generally plant based nutrition and plant based skincare and cosmetics have overlaps – what you’re applying to your face should be beneficial to your internal health, because remember skincare is in part absorbed into the body. Nopal cactus definitely checks all the boxes!