Friday, November 16, 2012

Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear): Health Benefits and Uses | Healthypix

Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear): Health Benefits and Uses | Healthypix


Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear): Health Benefits and Uses


Scientific Name: Opuntia Tuna
Common Name: ​Tuna, Prickly Pear, Indian Fig
Family:  Cactaceae

Opuntia Tuna Description and Overview:
Tuna is a common Jamaican plant, which is also commonly known as prickly pear or opuntia. It is typically seen in most Jamaican home gardens. Like all true cactus species, prickly pears are native only to the Western hemisphere; however, they have been introduced to other parts of the globe. Prickly pear species are found in abundance in Mexico, especially in the central and western regions. These plants do extremely well in dry rocky areas, which makes it drought resistant.
Prickly pears (opuntia) typically grow with flat, rounded cladodes (also called platyclades) that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures.
Plant Constituents: They contain a series of characteristic alkaloids. The stem is said to contain calcium oxalate and calcium malate. It also produces tuna gum which contains a substance called bassorin. The fruit is an astringent. (8, I5, 26).

 
Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear)0
Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear)

Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims of Opuntia Tuna:

  • Leaves (stems) of tuna are used to make a decoction used to treat internal inflammation.
  • Sliced tuna stem is used to reduce swellings.
  • Stems are used to treat vomiting and fever.
  • The sliced stem is applied to headaches and other pains.
  •  For treatment of constipation the stem is combined with salt and applied as a poultice.
  • The leaves can be used for animal feed in times of drought.
  • It is used to control soil erosion.
  • It is used as a hair treatment to strengthen the hair roots and shampoo.
  • The plant is also used as a mild laxative by boiling and drinking it sugar free.

Dosage and Administration of Opuntia Tuna

Sliced stem can be applied in some cases.
The fruit can be liberally eaten

Potential Side Effects of Opuntia Tuna

No proven side effects.

Tips & Warnings of Opuntia Tuna

Prickles from plant can easily penetrate skin.

References:

Jamaica Library Service
Wikipedia
Herbal Remedies
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