Medicinal Uses of the Maguey

The maguey has been used in the treatment of syphilis, to accelerate the healing of wounds, as a cure for gonorrhoea, is a formidable antiseptic of the stomach and intestines and has laxative properties. According to the Antiguo Recetario Medicinal Azteca, to treat syphilis; the fluid extract of the maguey root is used, from which 10 drops are taken in the morning dissolved in a little water and 10 … Continue reading Medicinal Uses of the Maguey

Is Tequila Medicinal?

In 2018 it was popularly reported that the consumption of tequila was linked to (and may actually be good for) weight loss. Unfortunately this was just media generated hype. The key issue with the misrepresentation of this information involves a particular type of carbohydrate known as a fructan, more specifically agavin. A paper was presented at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in … Continue reading Is Tequila Medicinal?

The Medicinal Qualities of Opuntia Cladodes

The Opuntia species of cactus (also called Nopal cactus) has been used for food and medicinal purposes in México since before the time of the Aztecs. The fruits (knowns as tunas in México) and the “leaves” (botanically known as cladodes) are eaten on a daily basis. The cladodes in particular are a tasty and nutritious green vegetable (once the spines have been removed).  As a vegetable it … Continue reading The Medicinal Qualities of Opuntia Cladodes

Tunas. The fruit of the nopal.

The fruits of the cactus are also known as prickly pears (or sometimes Indian figs) and come in a range of colours from green to yellow and the whole spectrum of pinks and reds. They too both have medicinal and culinary uses. Cactus fruit contains substantial amounts of ascorbic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, fibres, amino acids and antioxidant compounds (phenols, flavonoids, betaxanthin and betacyanin). These phytonutrients … Continue reading Tunas. The fruit of the nopal.

Huitzilopochtli, Tenochtitlan and the Opuntia Cactus

The Mesoamerican deity Huitzilopochtli  was the patron god of the Mexican people and is the primary God of War (and the Sun) in the Aztec pantheon. The legend goes that after he was betrayed by a nephew he killed him and removed his heart. This heart was left on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco and, like many creation legends involving plants, from the rocks upon … Continue reading Huitzilopochtli, Tenochtitlan and the Opuntia Cactus

The Nopal as Food

The Opuntia species of cactus, also commonly called the Prickly Pear, is another seemingly hostile plant (along with the maguey) that despite its thorny exterior is a source of both food and medicine. Both its leaves (botanically known as cladodes) and fruits, called “tunas” are eaten on a daily basis in Mexico. As a cactus it must be treated carefully during preparation. They all carry spines … Continue reading The Nopal as Food