Why is prickly pear so important in the sustainable beauty sphere?
The prickly pear, in addition to its benefits for the hair (moisturizes, nourishes and softens), has other exceptional virtues.
Indeed, the prickly pear participates in the sustainability of the ecosystem. The United Nations (UN) confirms that the cactus is indeed one of those underestimated foods that could come to our rescue.
The cactus could help us evolve towards a more responsible consumption. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has published a report on the benefits of the cactus from a sustainable point of view.
It is not just any cactus since most of them are unpalatable. The species of Cactaceae whose merits are praised by the FAO is Opunita ficus-indica, in other words the prickly pear. This plant is particularly appreciated for its production of prickly pears, fleshy berries ranging from 150 to 400 grams. Moreover, its cicladodes, its racket-shaped branches, are full of water. The FAO even calls these plants "botanical wells" since one hectare of prickly pear can provide up to 180 tons of water.
The prickly pear has already demonstrated its benefits during the drought that hit the island of Madagascar in 2015. This plant had then been an invaluable resource of water and food for the populations as well as for biodiversity since it also allowed animals to feed and hydrate and the soil to be preserved.
These plants are widely cultivated on the African continent because they help conserve soil, purify water and are sources of water. All these elements allow countries that experience recurrent droughts to develop barley plantations despite the climate. Many other countries such as India, Australia, Israel or Turkey have also developed their culture of this particular cactus because of its sustainable properties.
The positive characteristics of the prickly pear do not stop there. It also has a positive effect on the environment: consumed by ruminants, it significantly reduces methanogenesis and ultimately reduces their production of greenhouse gases. For humans, beyond a food resource, the prickly pear also has several therapeutic benefits such as the strong reduction of cholesterol, the provision of vitamin C and anti-diarrheal properties. According to the UN, its oil and cream would also have great healing and anti-oxidant properties, far superior to argan oil.
If the prickly pear is already considered by the UN as "a food of the future", Europe remains one of the continents most behind on its culture.