Think cactus and this image pops up – speared plant with no blossoms and fruits growing in deserts. But certain cacti blossom and bear fruits too. The cactus flowers have numerous health benefits to offer. Catch up with some interesting facts and benefits of cactus flowers right here with us.
Before learning about the benefits, get close with the origin and whereabouts of cactus flowers.
What Is a Cactus Flower?
A typical cactus is a member of the succulent plant family known as Cactaceae. There are more than 2000 varieties of cacti that grow up in various shapes and sizes. These plants bloom in warm, sunny climates. Some varieties of cacti can even be planted indoors as they require little sunlight. There are certain varieties of cacti that produce seasonal flowers when conditions are favourable. In fact, just like cacti, their flowers also come in various colours, shapes and sizes.
How to Make a Cactus Produce Flowers?
Though it seems rather unlikely that a prickly plant like cactus can produce such beautiful flowers, you can make it bloom with a few tips and tricks which are given below.
1. Choose the plant which already has flowers and fruits, and avoid the ones that appear too old to bloom.
2. Plant it in a medium pot containing equal parts of soil, bird gravel, and leaf mold. Since there are several varieties of cacti, strictly follow the planting instructions for your variant.
3. Water it regularly at the time of transplanting. But avoid excess watering as this may cause overgrowth without allowing the plant to bloom.
4. March to November is an active time for the plant to bloom. It should be watered regularly during this time such that the top ¼ inch of the soil is damp.
5. Avoid watering or adding fertilizer from November to March as it could become dormant. It does become dormant in its natural environment during similar conditions.
6. Ensure to keep the plant at a place where the temperature does not exceed 50 degrees F at night and receives at least 5 hours of sunlight during the day.
7. Start watering the cactus when the blooms appear in spring and continue watering till August. Slow down the watering in August till the plant is ready for the next dormant season.
Health and Beauty Benefits of Cactus Flower:
Most of us prefer to stay away from cacti because of their prickly nature but they are one of the most remarkable plants with several health and beauty benefits. There are numerous varieties of cactus each possessing certain health and beauty benefits some of which are given below.
Health Benefits of Cactus Flowers:
Cactus flowers possess anti-inflammatory properties. Cactus flower extracts can lower the risk of inflammation in various medical conditions, including diabetes.
2. Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Diabetic Agent:
A variety of cactus called Opuntia dillenii flourishes in Egypt. It has been used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic agent in traditional medicine.
Alcohol extracts of cactus flowers possess analgesic properties in addition to potential anti-inflammatory effects.
4. Antioxidant & Anti-Ulcerogenic:
Certain studies indicate that methanolic cactic flower extracts (Opuntia ficus indica) exhibit antioxidant and anti-ulcerogenic properties.
Beauty Benefits of Cactus Flowers:
5. Prevents Ageing Signs:
The beauty benefits of cactus flower can be attributed to its strong antioxidant properties. These antioxidants protect your skin from damage by free radicals, thus preventing signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles.
6. Maintains Skin’s Moisture:
Cactus flower extracts have been used as an ingredient in a range of skincare products. They help in maintaining natural moisture of the skin and prevent moisture loss from the skin surface. They are known for their synergistic antioxidant and anti-histaminic properties.
While these benefits exist, extensive research and studies need to be conducted to underline the above outlined benefits of cactus flowers. Take the advice of your physician before you try cactus flowers to avoid complications.