10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Cactus Juice

This desert plant is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that offer many health benefits.

Medically reviewed by Dr Archana Batra, CDE
Written by Tanya Choudhary, B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Moksha Gandhi, BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach  • 

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Cactus juice is not so popular. It may even sound surprising for most of us. But what if we told you that cactus juice benefits you in multiple ways? Yes, the juice seems to be replete with certain important nutrients. Continue reading to know more about cactus juice and how it can benefit you.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Cactus juice

What Is It?
A green liquid extracted from the inside of the cactus.

What Are Its Benefits?
It helps manage blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system.

Who Can Consume It?
Anybody can consume it, especially people with diabetes and those looking to lose weight.

How Often?
You can drink it once or twice a week.

Caution
Excess consumption may cause diarrhea, bloating, and nausea.

A Scientific Look At Cactus

Prickly pear fruit
Image: Shutterstock

Prickly pear, also known as Opuntia ficus-indica, is a cactus plant growing in the arid regions of Mexico, Southern California and Arizona. Nopal is a thin, flat and oval stem of the cactus plant, consumed as a vegetable. Prickly pear cactus juice has been used for centuries in Latin and North American cultures. The juice is a staple in the diets of people residing in South America, Mexico, Europe, Middle East, and in some parts of India (1).

protip_icon Did You Know?
The Aztec word for prickly pear or nopal cactus is ‘Náhuatl,’ which means ‘fruit of the Earth.’ The Aztecs used this for several health benefits, such as combating fever and infections, moisturizing the lips, relieving diarrhea, and soothing anger.

Benefits of Cactus Juice

Two jars of cactus smoothies
Image: Shutterstock

1. Soothes Joint Inflammations:

Cactus juice inhibits leukocyte migrationi  XA vital element of the immune system where leukocytes move through the walls of activated veins to reach sites of infection and injury. , which acts as a catalyst in the development of inflammatory diseases (2). It contains Vitamin A, B2 and C, which are considered very beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritisi  XA chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the tissue that lines the joints. . The anti-inflammatory properties of cactus juice help in relieving the pain and fight inflammation. It also eases the stiffness and soreness accompanying arthritis.


protip_icon Did You Know?
Tenochtitlàn, the Aztec capital, means ‘place of the prickly pear cactus.’ The Aztecs used to use cactus juice to treat hepatitis and burns.

2. For A Healthier Gut:

This juice aids in the growth of good bacteria in the gut. A natural detoxifying agent, it can be used in the treatment of diverticulitis and colitis and may aid digestion. The laxative properties of this juice enable it to be used as a natural remedy for constipation (3). The anti-inflammatory nature of this juice aids in easing the inflammation in the urethra and bladder, especially in cases of gallstones and urinary bladder infections.

3. Strengthens Immune System:

Woman holding a cactus juice bottle
Image: Shutterstock

Regular consumption of cactus juice helps to eliminate deadly viruses in the body, thereby strengthening the immunity system. The high levels of phytochemicals in cactus thwart tumors and increase immune response in the body. The antioxidants also protect against premature aging (4).

4. Natural Antidote For Skin Disorders:

Cactus juice is prescribed for people suffering from rashes that develop on the skin. It also helps to treat scabs and sores (5).

5. Beneficial For Women:

Woman drinking cactus juice
Image: Shutterstock

Cactus juice provides instant relief from menstrual cramps. It eases the abdominal pain women experienced during their menstrual cycle. Cactus juice is also known to be useful in controlling nausea.

6. Lower LDL Levels:

Regular consumption of cactus juice can lower total cholesterol levels by almost 30%. Cactus juice is a rich source of soluble fiber, which is found to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in the body (5). It also reduces the oxidation of fat, preventing atherosclerosis. Reduced LDL cholesterol levels may decrease the risk of heart issues like high blood pressure.

7. Prevents Onset Of Cancer:

A study has shown that cactus juice possesses the potential to keep cancer at bay. It contains chemical agents that aid in warding off cancer and inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Cactus juice contains high levels of betalain antioxidants, natural anticancer agents. It can be used as an alternative to chemotherapy. It works as well as synthetic retinoid that is used in the chemotherapy trials (6).

8. Safeguards Body From Free Radical Damages:

Cactus juice is an excellent source of antioxidants. The juice contains a rare form of antioxidant, known as betalain. Betalain flushes out the free radicals present in the body, giving you a new lease of health (4). Drink cactus juice in combination with vitamin C rich fruits for enhancing the overall defense in the body. Thus, regular consumption of cactus juice may reduce the risk of degenerative and age related diseases.

9. Natural Antidote For Hangover:

A prickly pear cactus juice shot can help prevent and lower the effects of hangovers (7). A study conducted on the same indicated that people who drank cactus juice prior to consuming alcohol had 50% lower chances of experiencing hangovers. The juice significantly reduces the symptoms of hangover, which include nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite.

10. Good For Diabetes Type II:

Regular consumption of cactus juice can help maintain blood sugar levels. Pectin, the soluble fiber present in this juice, slows down the absorption rate of sugar by the human body. Thus, regular use of this juice by diabetics can help in preventing fluctuations in sugar levels. Studies also suggest the regular use of this juice for preventing type II Diabetes (8). However, it is advisable to restrict the quantity consumed to avoid hypoglycemiai  XA condition that occurs when glucose levels drop below normal. Having sugary foods can restore standard glucose levels. .

As with all products, cactus juice also comes with a set of negative side effects. Cases have been reported where people who consumed this juice suffered from nausea, vomiting, hypoglycemiai  XA condition that occurs when glucose levels drop below normal. Having sugary foods can restore standard glucose levels. , bloating, headache, and stomach pains.

Cactus Juice – Nutritional Value

Two jars of cactus juice kept on a wooden tray
Image: Shutterstock

Cactus juice offers a good dose of nutrition to everyone. Along with admirable levels of potassium, calcium, manganese, copper and iron, it is also replenished with various vitamins and phytonutrients. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, flavonoidsi  XPlant-derived molecules found in most fruits and vegetables that can potentially improve our health and help combat diseases. , omega 3 fatty acidsi  XEssential polyunsaturated fats found in eye and brain cells that assist in cell membrane formation and promote cell-to-cell communication. , amino acids and beta-carotene. Take a look at the table given below for more details:
Nopales (Opuntia ficus-indica ), raw [Nutrition value per 100 g.]

(Source: USDA)

PrincipleNutrient Value
Energy16 Kcal
Carbohydrates3.33 g
Protein1.32 g
Total Fat0.09 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Dietary Fiber2.2 g
Vitamins
Folates3 µg
Niacin0.410 mg
Pantothenic acid0.167 mg
Pyridoxine0.070 mg
Riboflavin0.041 mg
Thiamin0.012 mg
Vitamin C9.3 mg
Vitamin A457 IU
Vitamin E0.00 mg
Vitamin K5.3 µg
Electrolytes
Sodium21 mg
Potassium257 mg
Minerals
Calcium164 mg
Copper0.052 mg
Iron0.59 mg
Magnesium52 mg
Manganese0.457 mg
Phosphorus16 mg
Selenium0.7 µg
Zinc0.21 mg
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß250 µg
Carotene-α48 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin0 µg

Drinking cactus juice offers important benefits. However, the juice may also cause side effects in some individuals. Learn more in the next section.

Side Effects Of Cactus Juice

While cactus juice is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts, it may cause potential side effects in certain people. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may cause digestive problems like bloating, stomach upset, or nausea. Additionally, those allergic to certain plants in the Cactaceae family might develop allergic reactions and should steer clear of this juice.

People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels closely, as cactus juice might lower blood sugar way too much and potentially cause hypoglycemia when combined with diabetes medications. However, more research is needed on this.You should also be cautious while handling the prickly pear plant as its spines can cause skin irritation.

Infographic: 5 Ways Cactus Juice Can Benefit Your Health

Cactus juice is not just for those who live in arid climates! They can benefit all, thanks to these prickly plants’ amazing nutrient profile. Check out the following infographic and learn about the 5 incredible ways you can benefit from making cactus juice a regular part of your diet.

5 ways cactus juice can benefit your health (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Cactus juice is replete with important nutrients that help boost your overall health and immunity. It contains an adequate amount of electrolytes that support proper hydration. The cactus plant is usually consumed as a vegetable and is a staple in South America, Middle-Eastern, European, and some Indian cuisines. Cactus juice benefits your digestive, skin, and cardiovascular health, and is found effective in relieving cramps and inflammation as well. An excellent source of antioxidants, it helps protect your body from free radical damage, preventing various chronic illnesses in return. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming cactus juice, as the studies about its side effects and safety are still limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cactus good for kidneys?

No, there is no quality research to support the benefits of cactus for kidneys. People with kidney disease should avoid consuming cactus juice as it may also cause a few side effects like bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Does cactus juice make you lose weight?

Cactus juice may not have a direct impact on body weight. However, it has fewer calories and is filling. It may reduce cravings and possibly aid weight loss.

Is cactus juice good for the hair?

Yes, cactus juice is good for the hair. It contains iron and amino acids that help rejuvenate hair and promote hair growth.

How do you make cactus juice at home?

Trim the spines and process the cactus pods into a processor. Mix with orange or lime juice or even coconut water and serve.

Key Takeaways

  • Type 2 diabetes may be treated with cactus juice as the pectin in it helps maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Cactus juice helps relieve nausea, headaches, stomach pain, and bloating.
  • Rich in antioxidants, cactus juice may prevent premature aging and eliminates free radicals from the body.
  • Drinking cactus juice helps treat skin discomforts such as rashes, scabs, and sores.

Quench your curiosity about cactus water and its incredible health benefits! Dive into this enlightening video to explore how it can enhance your overall well-being.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Cactus
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus
  2. Studies on the pharmacological action of cactus: identification of its anti-inflammatory effect
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9875511/
  3. Cactus Juice can help Humans!
    https://blogs.memphis.edu/fbremgeneralbiologyblog/2013/10/22/cactus-juice-can-help-humans/
  4. Antioxidant and Anticlastogenic Capacity of Prickly Pear Juice
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820065/
  5. Nopal Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) as a Source of Bioactive Compounds for Nutrition
    Health and Disease
  6. Cactus pear: a natural product in cancer chemoprevention
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242252/
  7. Effect of Opuntia ficus indica on symptoms of the alcohol hangover
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15226168/
  8. Cellular Defensive Mechanisms of Tea Polyphenols: Structure-Activity Relationship
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8430757/
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