Prickly Pear Cactus Medicine: Treatments for Diabetes, Cholesterol, and the Immune System

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Inner Traditions/Bear, Jun 7, 2004 - Health & Fitness - 144 pages
The first complete guide to natural healing properties and uses of the prickly pear cactus

• Examines the scientific research promoting the cactus as a natural diabetes and cholesterol medication as well as its use in the treatment of obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, skin ailments, and viral infections

• Explores the healing uses of prickly pears from the perspective of doctor, chemist, ethnobotanist, cook, and layman

• Includes 24 cactus recipes--from Prickly Pear Bread to Cactus Candy

The prickly pear cactus--a plant that has the distinction of being a vegetable, fruit, and flower all in one--is destined to be the next big herbal superstar, following in the footsteps of St. John’s wort and Echinacea, according to author Ran Knishinsky. One of the driving forces behind its popularity is that each part of this plant functions as both food and medicine. It has been a staple in the diets of the people of the southwestern portion of the United States, the Middle East, parts of Europe and Africa, and Central and South America for hundreds of years.

Traditionally, the prickly pear cactus has been used as a panacea for over 100 different ailments. More recently, it has been the subject of blood cholesterol research trials sponsored by the American Heart Association. In addition to the results of this research, Knishinsky includes scientific studies on the antiviral properties of the cactus to treat herpes, influenza, and HIV, as well as its use in treating obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, and skin ailments. A resource section details the natural food companies that supply prickly pear cactus and a chapter of recipes offers 24 traditional and modern dishes using the pads and fruit of the cactus.

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Someone did NOT do their research regarding the legality of picking the Prickly Pears or Napales, and said it is not illegal in any state!! That is dead WRONG!!! It is Illegal in Arizona, and if you want to be caught and fined, go ahead!! Call the Arizona Game & Fish Department and they will tell you just what I told you here. They can ONLY be harvested from private land WITH PERMISSION. (Last I heard, the state of Arizona is only about 14% privately owned.... so be very careful guessing about who owns that patch of Napales you want to harvest!) I suggest growing your own plants on land that YOU personally own, or grow them in pots on your own patio. That is going to be my solution. My back yard will provide me with what I need, and some for friends and neighbors, too!
I really hope that this "Napales" or "Prickly Pear" craze doesn't remove them from our wild lands entirely in a few years!! These are also food for animals here in our beautiful Arizona, with diners like, for instance, the Javelina (wild boar) who shows up regularly to share the bounty.
AZ Spirit Woman

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About the author (2004)

Ran Knishinsky is a professional health researcher and writer and the founder of NutraConsulting, a consulting firm to the natural products industry. He is the author of The Clay Cure and The Prozac Alternative.

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