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Question:

From Newton, Massachusetts, USA:

I work with a friend who has has diabetes, and she has heard of Nopal Cactus being helpful with this condition. Are there any studies on this? If so, are they published on the web?

Answer:

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp. or nopal or nopalitos) is reputed to reduce blood glucose according n Mexican folklore. The pads of this cactus are the part most commonly eaten, although they have forbidding spines that have to be removed first. Available bagged and cleaned in Mexican markets and bottled in many supermarkets, particularly in the Southwest, prickly pear cactus is often eaten in salads, as a vegetable, or with eggs.

It contains pectin and other fiber components that may have hypoglycemic activity. A few studies reported in peer-reviewed journals have shown this cactus to reduce blood sugar. However, most have been small, uncontrolled trials published only in Spanish or dealing only with animals.

Whether or not prickly pear cactus will make your blood sugar go down in the long term, it is clear that it won't make it go up after a meal. It has been tested for its glycemic index, which is very low.

DM

[Editor's comment: Also, see Natural products used for diabetes, J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash) 2002 Mar-Apr;42(2):217-26. There are a few other reports to read at PubMed (search using the word "nopal"). WWQ]

DTQ-20021009171135
Original posting 15 Oct 2002
Posted to Alternative Therapies and Explanations

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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