August 17, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated August 17, 2021
The fig opuntia oil a wealth of nutrients
In my constant search for natural skin care products and alternatives to chemical cosmetics, I came across a wealth to be cherished.
We have a few fig opuntia trees by the side of the road on my family’s farm and I used to enjoy carefully picking some fruits and have someone peel them for me since I used to be frightened by the thorns of those fruits. However, it never crossed my mind that that particular tree could have any other byproduct.
The surprise came recently when I found, by chance, an article detailing Tunisia’s pioneer role in extracting and selling fig opuntia oil.
So, in an attempt to promote my country’s local production and find a personal treasure for my self-care routines, I dug deeper into this topic.
Here are some of the most interesting facts that I found regarding this exquisite item.
The nutritional content and chemical composition of fig opuntia:
Herbal remedies and drugs extracted from different parts of several plants have been used in ancient civilizations for centuries. Some are still used today by the older generations who still uphold the wisdom of their ancestors and cherish their faith.
Research has identified some of the illnesses that have been treated using prickly pears; these include ulcers, hypertension, and wounds.
Recent research has focused on fig opuntia to validate or nullify the foundations of the above-mentioned uses. The studies aimed to clarify the chemical constituents of the plant and their nutritional value.
An article entitled “Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica): A Review on its Antioxidants Properties and Potential Pharmacological Use in Chronic Diseases” by Osuna-Martínez et al, published in Natural Products Chemistry Research, revealed some interesting findings.
The cladodes of opuntia ficus indica are made up mainly of:
- Water: 80- 95%
- Carbohydrates: 3-7%
- Fiber: 1-2%
- Protein: 0.5-1%
- Phytochemicals such as phenolic acids and flavonoids
The fruit also contains ascorbic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, dietary fiber, amino acids, and antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids, betaxanthin, and betation. It also contains significant amounts of taurine and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin c.
The composition differs according to the various types of the species. Still, most types, if not all species, contain beneficial compounds and excellent antioxidants.
Opuntia Ficus oil:
If you are familiar with Barbary fig cactus and ate the fruit at least once, you must have noticed the hard seeds inside the sweet fruit. Some people might refrain from eating this fruit precisely because of these hard seeds as they can be difficult to digest and even chew.
What they have been missing is that these seeds are nutrient-dense. They contain different amounts of fatty acids, phenols, phytosterols, and antioxidants.
The oil of opuntia ficus indica is not essential oil; it is rather a carrier oil since it is distilled from the seeds of the fruit and not from the roots or leaves.
The fruits are left to dry after harvesting. Then, the seeds are removed and clod pressed to extract oil. This oil is so expensive because the extraction process is time-consuming; besides, it takes millions of seeds to obtain a small amount of oil.
Uses and benefits of prickly pears oil:
Barbary fig cactus oil is an excellent carrier oil. In one experiment, scientists combined vitamin A with this oil and applied it to various skin samples. The results showed that it was highly effective in delivering the vitamin to the skin. Hence, nutrients that should not or must not be applied directly to the skin can be mixed with this oil.
Prickly pear oil contains significant amounts of linoleic acid which are proven to be excellent for skin hydration through enhancing the skin’s water-retaining properties.
Fig opuntia oil is rich in antioxidants properties, minerals, vitamins, and different kinds of fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for maintaining smooth and hydrated skin. It has significant soothing, moisturizing, and regenerative effects.
More research needs to be done on the effects of this oil on the skin, but from existing data, we conclude that it has great potential. Claims that it could prevent the effects of aging on the skin and regenerate damaged cells have been made by various companies and brands.
The bottom line, fig opuntia oil is an excellent choice to pick if you have no allergies.