Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Armigerous and Healing Fruit

This is the story of a fruit that is so good for you - so full of healing properties - that it has been honored with a coat of arms. Well, not precisely - but it is on a coat of arms, which is something you can't say about most produce, no matter how much it benefits our health.

The Nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus indica) - better known to us today as the Nopal fruit or the prickly pear - has been a traditional source of health-giving nutrients for centuries. Also known as the Indian fig, this red fruits with spiny skin was eaten baked or made into drinks in places as diverse as Mexico and India. In Mexico, the drink called colindre, made from the prickly pear, was drunk to soothe the body.The nopal is so prized in Mexico, in fact, that the nopal was pictured in the Coat of Arms of the First Mexican Empire (1822-23), which you can see on the right (the eagle is standing on the nopals). And in India, Opuntia syrup was given as a cough medicine, and to ease digestion.*

Happily, unlike earlier generations of native health-seekers, you won't have to go out into the Mexican desert (or even to India) to harvest your own supply of prickly pears. Instead, you can enjoy the delicious taste of Nopalea in the comfort of your own home. It can help your body release toxins and reduce inflammation, which is a major source of pain - all at the same time as tasting really great.

You can try Nopalea for yourself, simply by calling Trivita, the company that's been making Nopalea now for 12 years, at 1-800-203-7063 and getting yourself a free sample of this wellness drink (you only pay a $9.95 shipping and handling fee). Then we can all raise a toast and drink to optimal health and the natural goodness of the prickly pear - even the eagle on the coat of arms, who could probably use a cooling, healthful drink.

*See, for example, Sir George Watt et al, A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India (1891), p. 491.


A Mom said...

cool contents to read here...enjoying reading it!

Mary in Austin said...

The eagle on the Mexican flag is standing on prickly pear cactus pads, not prickly pear cactus fruits. The pads are fleshy stem equivalents; the thorns are actually the leaves. People here in Texas and Mexico eat the de-thorned, diced, cooked cactus pads, which are called nopalitos. The fruits, some varieties of which turn red when ripe as you show, are called tuna in Spanish.