Friday, June 28, 2013

What is Nopal Cactus

What is Nopal Cactus ? Know the feature and history of nopal
Botanical characteristics 
Stem: The stem and branches are made ​​of pads or cushions-like cladodes ovoid, flattened, attached to each other and can jointly reach 5 m high and 4 m in diameter. In Peru the most common varieties develop freight of approximately 1.5 m in height. Stem, unlike other species of cactus, trunk consists flattened branches having thick cuticle green photosynthetic function and water storage in the tissues. 

Leaves: deciduous only observed on tender stems when producing bunches renewal, whose underarms have aerolas of which the spines emerge from about 4 to 5 mm in length. The leaves disappear when the leaves have reached a stage of development and in whose place are the thorns. 

Flowers: The flowers are solitary, located at the top of the stalk, of 6-7 cm in length. Each Aerola usually produces a flower, though not in the same flowering season, some may sprout the first year, others the second and third. The flowers open at 35-45 days of sprouting. Its petals are bright colors: yellow, orange, red, pink. Sepals numerous light yellow to reddish or white. 

Fruits: The fruit is a berry polyspermous, fleshy, spherical ovoid shape, size and color vary by species, have thin, fragile spines 2-3 mm long. They are edible, nice and sweet. 

The fruit is cylindrical green and takes different colors when ripe, the flesh is gelatinous containing numerous seeds. 


It lives in the desert areas of the U.S., Mexico and South America, in Peru and Bolivia. In Peru is located in the Andean region, which develops spontaneously and abundant. Also located on the coast, in natural and cultivated. 

It thrives in temperatures between 12-34 ° C, with an optimum range of 11-23 ° C and an average rainfall between 400-800 mm. 

It develops in loose, sandy limestone on marginal lands and infertile, shallow, stony soil characterizing him a broad tolerance, but heavy clay soils and wet are not suitable for cultivation. 

It grows from sea level to 3,000 m Best catches up development between 1700-2500 m

Historical reference 

Native American, was brought by the Spanish to Europe and from there spread to other countries flooded. This wide geographical dispersion led to many local features ecotypes own. 

The major global producers are Mexico, Italy, Spain, North Africa Chile and Brazil, where it is cultivated for fodder only. 

In our country, the fruit is intended for human consumption, both in fresh and for the development of regional products (candy, syrup). The leaves are used as fodder, being a valuable resource in times of drought and low availability of forage for livestock.

The name derives from the Greek cactus kaktos, gender described by Carl Linnaeus. The cactus fruit are edible and are known as tunas.

Nopal Cactus Nopal GSO presents a wonder plant able to treat everything from diabetes to obesity and surf

The prickly pear cactus Nopal or is one of the first domesticated plants in the world. Benefits of Nopal health have been known for thousands of years by the natives of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, California and Mexico, where it grows in one of the harshest climates on earth inflamed. Nopal has been intensively studied. Its therapeutic effect has been validated. Nopal Cactus, the scientific name of Opuntia ficus-indica, is a medicinal plant and food security with a history of 12,000 years ago. It originated in the volcanic region of the desert of Arizona and Mexico. Nopal has been serving humanity as a staple food and healing plant for thousands of years and, therefore, many years before the Aztecs migrated to the Mesoamerican region. So was Nopal Central to the many indigenous tribes of Mexico that are the root of the Aztec name for Mexico City "Tenochtitlan", which means "place of the cactus". In case of drought, Nopal was the soul of the ancient cultures of Mexico because it was both food for the tribes and their cattle.

Nopal also used to soothe wounds and harden cloth, purify water and waterproof paint. It strengthened the fencing used mortar and valuable animals and protect wildlife habitat. Cattle grazing in the cactus is said that the development of a special flavor to the meat and milk. There are two main fresh food crops derived from Opuntia Ficus Indica Nopal Cactus. One of them is the "Nopalito" which are the cactus pads or leaves and other crops is Nopal "Tuna" or "tuna" fruit of the Nopal Cactus. Compared to other plants, Nopal is rich in nutrients that strengthen the liver and pancreas. Nopales are rich in insoluble and soluble dietary fiber especially (Lignan, cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilages, and gums). They are also rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, and C) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium and manganese, but also iron and copper). Nopal have high calcium content, but not biologically available nutrient because it is present in the form of calcium oxalate, which is neither highly soluble nor readily absorbed through the intestinal wall. Addition of nopales also reduces the effect glycemic of a mixed meal. Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes. Nopal is the only plant among tens of thousands of botanical that contains all 24 known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Although some supermarkets sell Nopal fruit tends to be expensive, and few people know or buy it. So, betalains are almost totally absent from the average diet (the only common source is red beet, which contains only a few betalains). In summary, the cactus is rich in fiber, niacin, vitamin B, minerals and antioxidant betalains is considered useful. Is also high in pectin and mucilage, which are the two major components believed to aid in reducing glucose and absorption in the intestinal tract. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not reviewed or evaluated the effectiveness of the claims of Nopal Cactus as a supplement, nopal (cactus) seems to be one of the most promising sources of plant-derived suppressor Diabetes Mellitus. Furthermore, Cactus has proven use in modifying and managing cholesterol levels. As for side effects, nopal is believed to be safe and is commonly used as food in some parts of the world. For most healthy adults who do not have serious side effects of Nopal cactus. What is Nopal Cactus

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