What is nopal?

2010-07-01T00:00:00Z 2010-12-17T10:58:27Z What is nopal?By Ted PanDeva Zagar Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 01, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Offering a broad array of nutritional elements and healing power for more than 12,000 years, the nopal cactus hails from the high volcanic mountains of Mexico. Over time nopal became one of the most valued plants among the rulers of various ancient Mexican cultures. Indeed, so highly regarded was this plant by the Aztecs that they named their capitol city Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City), which means "place of the Nochtli (nopal) cactus."

What does it do?

With numerous studies to back its status as an effective plant medicine, nopal brings relief to those who suffer from several serious conditions. Traditional Mexican healers used nopal for type–2 diabetes, and modern patients with noninsulin–dependent diabetes have been rewarded with a large drop in blood sugar levels when they consumed broiled nopal stems. This cactus has adapted well around the world. In India, the cactus is used to treat asthma and whooping cough. Nopal is rich in vitamin A, C, B6 and K, plus the minerals magnesium, potassium and manganese.

About the herb

The prickly nopal cactus leaves are referred to as pads. The small, tender baby leaves are referred to as nopalitos, and this edible vegetable stands tall in the cuisine of the state of New Mexico. The other edible food that is derived from the nopal cactus is the "tuna," or prickly pear.

Recommended dosage

Consume 250 miligrams of this plant daily to lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Prickly pear fruits have been rendered into edible jams and jellies that you can find at multicultural or Hispanic grocery stores.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. NOTE: Visit herbalastrology.com to read Ted PanDeva Zagar's other articles and columns that discuss the benefits of herbs and natural foods.

DISCLAIMER: The author's comments are not intended to serve as medical advice, and he urges his readers to seek qualified wellness professionals to resolve matters of health.

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