Nopal is another name for Cactus. It is an edible plant which grows in arid places and is cultivated throughout the world.
I first heard about its healing qualities from a man who worked in a fish market I use to buy my fresh fish from. I always had very nice friendly conversation with him while waiting for him to clean my fish. I had not seen him in a long time then one day he was
back so I asked him what happened and he told me he had been very sick but he was much better now. He asked me how was I doing and I complained about my knees. I told him how painful it was to walk up and down stairs and how I could barely bend my knees because it was so painful.
He told me about a time when he had arthritis so bad in his knees that he cried because it was so painful he couldn’t do anything. I asked him what did to get rid of his arthritis because he was getting around so well. He began telling me how in his culture, the Mexican culture, they eat nopal. They make a dish called Nopalitos and they eat the cactus in various ways such as in salads or sometimes they fry it.
Anyway, he told me how he ate Nopalitos to get rid of his arthritis. I was amazed; because I knew that arthritis is just calcium buildup in the joints. I began thinking, if he was able to get rid of his arthritis, then maybe it will help me with my knees. However I didn’t think about eating cactus myself because that was not a part of my cultural background. I had never heard of eating it before so I wasn’t ready to try it out. I only knew of cactus as a house plant which is different from what he was talking about.
Some years passed and I had moved away to another location. One day I was waiting for the bus to go home and at the bus stop was a man who was quite friendly. We said hello and started talking about our jobs and what we did for a living.
He told me he worked in the construction industry laying down ceramic tiles on the floors of newly constructed houses. He told me how sometimes in the winter how cold the tiles were and how after working on the cold tiles on his knees he had gotten arthritis but that he didn’t have arthritis anymore. So of course, I told him about my knees and naturally, I asked him what he did to get rid of his arthritis.
He told me he ate Nopal and how he was free of his arthritis. OK, a light bulb went off in my head. This is the second time I’m hearing about this cactus and I’m hearing it from two different men who to my knowledge don’t know each other but are both from the same culture and they both told me how they cured their arthritis by eating this cactus. Still I didn’t think about buying it but I was curious about it now.
About two months later I was out food shopping and while waiting on line I noticed a man standing next to me holding Nopal in his hands. I asked him about it and what does he do with it. He told me about the many different dishes they eat it in his Latin American culture and how healthy it is for the body.
Alright, that’s the third time I’ve heard of this stuff so I decided to buy some this time. It looks like this in its natural environment:
I took it home and carefully removed the prickly thorns from it with a potato peeler. You have to be so careful with it because those very fine thorns get into your fingers very easily and are so fine it’s hard to see them but you can really feel them and that is no fun.
Anyway, after I cleaned the thorns away, I sliced it up and ate it raw. It has a bland taste. The texture is a little on the slimy side, kind of like the rope of okra and aloe vera. I don’t like okra because of the rope but the cactus doesn’t have as much rope so I tolerated it. It wasn’t bad to eat raw. I also diced it up and put it in a salad. I found it easier to eat that way.
After a few hour of eating the Nopal, I began to notice a difference in my knees when I walked down the stairs. Walking down the stairs was always more painful for me than walking up. My knees felt so much better! It didn’t hurt so much to walk down the stairs.
Because I had hyperparthyroidism, I was not able to get rid of all of the calcium build up in my knees. Hyperparthyroidism continually pulls calcium out of your bones and places it into your blood stream. When there is too much calcium in the blood and the kidneys are not eliminating the excess calcium, it accumulates in the joints; and in my case, it was in my knees and in my fingers. Whenever I ate Nopal cactus, I had less pain in my knees and fingers and since my kidney stones were made up of calcium, it's very possible that Nopal cactus does help dissolve calcium kidney stones.
USDA Organic 100% Pure Nopal Juice
can be used in lieu of eating the plant. The advantage of drinking the
juice as opposed to eating the plant is the nutrients enter the system
faster rendering faster break down of any excess calcium in the joints
and faster pain relief.