Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Seed Oil, Nutrition & Benefits

 The prickly pear Plant
    The prickly pear seed oil is obtained from the seeds of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, whose botanical/scientific name is Opuntia ficus-indica. Opuntia indicates this genus, which is based mainly on the American continent, North Africa and the Caribbean.

    In some areas of the world, such as, for example, Australia and Feral. It  became the part of their local vegetation. This genus comprises approximately 190 species, of which almost half is primarily grown in Mexico. The genus Opuntia belongs to the Cactus family, which is named the Cactaceae.

    The annex ficus-indica describes one of 190 species, called the prickly pear, and the prickly pear seed oil is obtained from the seeds of the fruit. In addition to the core, the fruits itself are used. The young leaves of the Cactus are edible and they are often used in the Mexican kitchen.

    They are used as in stews or salads. The plant shrub grows initially, but grows more arboreal. It is dependent on the climatic conditions in which it grow but could grow up to six meters in height if the conditions are favorable. The stem is up to 35 centimeters tall.

    Sprouting can reach a size of five to ten centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the prickly pears are ovate to oblong and vary in colour from green to orange to red. These are often equipped often with glochids and sometimes with thorns.

    The founder of the binary nomenclature of Carolus Linnaeus, a naturalist from Sweden, who lived from 1707 to 1778, first described ficus-indica plant in 1753 the as a cactus. 15 years later, Philip Miller, an English botanist and gardener, who lived from 1691 until 1771, classified this type of cactus in the genus of Opuntia. So the botanical name Opuntia used today was finally ficus-indica.

The production of prickly pear seed oil
    After harvesting the fruit, the pulp of the prickly pears as the first of the nuclei is separated. Then, the seeds are washed and dried with the help of the Sun in the air. The dried seeds are then stored until pressed in cool, dry rooms. This ensures that the dried seeds can retain their high quality and not spoil prematurely.

    The last step is the oil cold pressing which will always take place at high-quality. 450 kg fruits are needed for obtaining about a litre of prickly pear seed oil which explains the high value of this oil, not as a common product (in addition to the valuable ingredients).

    Not to be confused, the prickly pear seed oil, however, is with the (much lower quality) prickly pear blossom oil, which, as the name already shown; given that, the oil is obtained from the flowers of Opuntia. They are however not pressed, but are inserted in a simple oil, which raises certain substances from the flowers.

    This mixture of easy oil and the ingredients of the flowers is then sold as a prickly pear blossom oil. Cheap prickly pear seed oil is usually not by cold pressing, but by chemical extraction. Powdered prickly pear cores has hexane, a chemical solvent. The resulting oil contains mostly residues of hexane, which is raised by means of heating.

    In this heat treatment, however, many active ingredients of the prickly pear seed oil are lost. In addition, residues of hexane can exist even after the actual release, which are also harmful to humans.

Ingredients and effect
    Prickly pear seed oil is a rich combination of essential fatty acids. There are more than 85 percent of the fats which are unsaturated and thus very valuable for the human body. The primarily occurring unsaturated fatty acid is Linoleic acid.

    This is both used in medicine and in cosmetics for skin care products. Applying it on your skin, it's anti-inflammatory and preventative against irritation and pain. The linoleic acid stimulates the body for the production of prostaglandins. These are tissue hormones which can positively affect the areas of blood clotting, inflammation and pain.

    This only happens when using the prickly pear seed oil as a dietary supplement. In both the internal and external application, the linoleic acid has a positive effect on the formation of different layers of the skin. For example, hydrophobic effect of the linoleic acid and so the entire prickly pear seed oil protects the skin from drying out and flaking.

Use of the prickly pear seed oil
    Prickly pear seed oil is used as anti-aging remedies and can protect your skin against free radicals. Free radicals are one of the main reasons for premature aging of the skin. They are, for example, due to stress or strong sunlight on the body itself, and sometimes, via a contaminated environment.

    They contribute to skin aging by destroying the repair mechanisms of the skin cells. Due to prickly pear seed oil effects on free radicals, it thus protect and accelerate the natural cell renewal. In addition, it prevents and reduce small wrinkles.

    Prickly pear seed oil also helps against dark circles and shadows. So, it's an all-round means in the field of anti-aging. In addition to these effects, which speak for a long-term use of the prickly pear seed oil, it has cosmetic properties which unfold in a short application.

   So, it helps to a healthier and more natural appearance of the skin after just a few applications. It has support in the treatment of skin irritation and is moisturizing. For the hair and nail care, it's powerful in its revitalizing effect just as suitable for the application on the skin.

   Brittle nails are visibly smoother and firmer with the treatment using prickly pear seed oil, the same is true for hair treated with prickly pear seed oil. Still, prickly pear seed oil can be used perfectly as a nourishing massage oil.

    The main application areas of the prickly pear seed oil are the face, neck and hands. It can be used as a massage oil for the body or for special use, which is intended to assist a healing process. it can also be applied on other parts of the body.

    Oils with a high content of linoleic acid, such as the prickly pear seed oil or evening Primrose Oil are used to support the treatment of atopic diseases, both internally as well externally.

Scientific studies on prickly pear seed oil
    The University of Palermo led a study in December 2003 which investigated the antioxidant effect of the prickly pear. The scientists came to the conclusion that, prickly pears have a strong antioxidant effect. You get the Redox equilibrium of the body (the chemical equilibrium), prevent cell damage due to Oxidative Stress , and improve the antioxidant status in healthy people.

    Thus, prickly pear seed oil, due to its valuable ingredients like Tanin and Indicaxanthin (the vitamins contained in combination with the prickly pear in E and C) prevents the cell's degeneration and aging.

    Another study conducted in 2013 in the laboratory of a Tunisian institution,  applications of chemical resources and Preparatory Institute for engineering studies (IPEIT) revealed that prickly pear seed oil contains flavonoids (Kaempferol, Quercetin and Isorhamnetin) and also have antioxidant effects which are even stronger than that of vitamins (included).

    Prickly pear seed oil is thus antioxidant in all respects and significantly prevents skin ageing. Another natural cure for skin diseases is the Manuka Honey.

Differences in quality of the product
    There are several ways to buy prickly pear seed oil as an ingredient in cosmetic products, such as anti aging creams and other skin care products. On the other hand, as a pure oil, which can be applied on the skin or ingested as a dietary supplement.

    We recommend you buy the pure prickly peer seed oil extract since cosmetic products may not reasonable proportion the expensive oil. With the purchase of pure prickly pear seed oil, quality is assured.

    Cheaper varieties of prickly pear seed oil are often mixed with other oils or not cold pressed but chemically extracted. Both lead to a more favourable production and for a better purchase on the part of the consumer, however, the desired effects of pure cold-pressed prickly pear seed oil should be enough reason to go for quality and the fact that, it contains no harmful chemicals.

    Therefore, you should not primarily take the pocket-friendly price as much significant factor, compared to natural as well as 100 percent effective prickly pear seed oil while purchasing it. Quality first always!

Conclusion
    By its nature and its positive effects on the human body, prickly pear seed oil is the right solution for people who pay attention not only to their beauty, but also the sustainability of their beauty products. In addition to the short-term beauty effect, prickly pear seed oil also has active ingredients that work in the long term.

    Therefore, it is recommended for you as an individual as well as for continuous operation. The prickly pear seed oil is rightly the most valuable (and unfortunately, also the most expensive) oil in the world.

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