Prickly pear cactus is a type of plant that is native to Central America and the surrounding area, and that is a typical part of the Mexican diet. The plant is consumed in its young form, as it becomes too tough to eat once it matures. It is often seen in candies and jellies due to its sweetness and texture.
That said, this ingredient is also commonly used in medicine for a number of different purposes. Prickly pear cactus has been used for issues relating to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, colitis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), diarrhea, and even hangover from alcohol consumption. Many people also use this substance for fighting off viral infections.
Though some research has been conducted on this ingredient, the majority of it has been done by a single research group in Mexico.
Any functions that it may have are believed to work because of its fiber and pectin content. These can help the body to reduce glucose levels by stopping the stomach and intestine from absorbing some dietary sugars. Some researchers also believe that it can help to kill viruses in the body, and to lower cholesterol levels.
At the moment, the research indicates that prickly pear cactus could potentially be helpful in treating diabetes, in blood sugar control, and for treating hangovers. There has yet to be any direct evidence that its use is linked to weight loss, but it does offer several benefits that could potentially help dieters to be able to stick to a weight loss diet more easily. Further research will help to identify whether or not this ingredient should be seen as a helpful tool for dieters.
That said, research has yet to provide enough evidence to indicate that there is any benefit to helping with inherited high cholesterol, enlarged prostate, or metabolic syndrome, among other conditions for which is it often used.
Still, even if you are using this ingredient as a part of a diet pill, despite the fact that it is not yet fully proven to be directly linked to weight loss, this substance is considered to be a safe one. The leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and extracts are all seen as being likely safe for healthy adults if they are taken by mouth for a temporary period of time. Research hasn’t been conducted on this ingredient as a supplement taken over years, so it is unknown what very long term use would do to a body.