Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia streptacantha) is a member of the Cactaceae family. The leaves, flowers, stems, and fruit can all be used in medicinal formulas. Prickly pear provides the body with protein, carbohydrates, lipids, cellulose, and water. It is the young form of prickly pear that is used as mature stems are too tough and fibrous. Prickly pear is primarily used in American and Mexican cultures.
Prickly pear may help lower blood glucose and lipid levels due to the high fibrous polysaccharide (cellulose) content. It may also help slow carbohydrate absorption by the gut. It may also help with hangovers by decreasing inflammation. Prickly pear has many health benefits.
Prickly pear also appears in the food industry through jellies and in candles.