Use of Opuntia Cactus as a Hypoglycemic Agent in Managing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus among Mexican American Patients
The consumption of Opuntia cactus is a popular herbal remedy among Mexican American patients in their management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Animal and human studies have demonstrated the hypoglycemic properties of the Opuntia (prickly pear) cactus that are likely attributable to both its fiber content and specific hypoglycemic molecular agents. Reduction in serum glucose levels are best observed when the cactus cladodes are consumed in cooked form, alluding to heating as a necessary step in attaining its hypoglycemic properties. Additional health benefits include its ability to reduce hypercholesterolemia, optimize platelet function, and decrease oxidative tissue damage. Health care professionals should inquire about and support the use of this complementary therapy among Mexican American patients in their management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.