Photo Credits Prickly Pear Cacti as are found in West Texas, and all over the Desert Southwest of the United States (also Mexico) contains anti-inflammatory substances, and this week, I've been seeing it all over the web. One enthusiast says: "History and Uses: Prickly Pear Cactus, often referred to by its genus name of Nopal, is a large cactus native to the desert southwest of North America, notably Mexico. It grows up to four meters in height and produces numerous reddish fruits. The entire plant can be used as a food source (once you pluck the spines! ) that is nutritionally impressive. Prickly Pear Cactus contains large amounts of vitamins B1, B6, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. But Prickly Pear Cactus is gaining a reputation for its action regarding blood sugar and hangovers. Prickly Pear Cactus is believed to lower blood glucose levels, partly due to its coating of the gastrointestinal tract. This same coating effect may be responsible for its effectiveness in tests in which people who ingested Prickly Pear Cactus before drinking alcohol suffered significantly less discomfort from hangovers than those who did not. (Prickly Pear Cactus is said to be effective only if it is taken prior to drinking. For easing the after-effects of a hangover, try Herbal Rescue.) Prickly Pear Cactus may also be effective in treating gastrointestinal infections, strengthening the tissues of the digestive tract and in lowering cholesterol. It may also be useful topically in the healing of minor scrapes and burns." Source Wikipedia calls the native Mexican plant "Opuntia ficus-inbdica" and has a great Uses for the plant that include cattle feed, a breakfast treat, jams, jellies, liqueurs, liquid for cattle in drought (by burning off the spines before feeding them), and says: Opuntia ficus indica is used as a dietary supplement to decrease oxidative stress and lower blood lipid levels in healthy humans. The high levels of Selenium in Opuntia are comparable to those found in Brassicaceae The fruit of Opuntia ficus-indica can cause constipation if consumed with the seeds, without the seeds it is laxative. wikipedia source Maybe I will plant some of that stuff out front. We're headed for the rainey season, and I've noticed it survived in front of a local farmhouse for years, considering the size of the colony of Prickly Pears. I have a few inflammatory issues and think maybe using it from the plant would be helpful. Might be nice to talk to some local herbalists and get their opinion.