April 08, 2022

Prickly Pear

By Tam Nguyen
Prickly Pear

This cactus has several different names, depending on the continent (nopal in South America, opuntia in France, etc.). While it is well-known for its edible fruit, it is particularly renowned for the oil extracted from its seeds. For years, it was considered an invasive species, but today it helps to combat the desertification of certain arid zones. The entire plant has medicinal properties: its stems serve as food for wildlife or are used in cooking in Mexico; its flowers and fruit are bursting with vitamin C.

This cactus grows freely in Morocco, but very few plant oils require the same precise techniques and extreme patience or just quite as much fresh fruit to produce. The oil is extracted by crushing the seeds and is collected drop by drop.

Considered one of the most expensive oils in the world due to its very low yield, this product is appreciated mainly for its incredible antioxidant properties and rich composition. Obtained by cold pressing, naturally protected by the vitamin E it contains, this extremely pure oil provides the skin with intact, powerful active ingredients. Lauded for its anti-aging virtues for hundreds of years, these qualities are now scientifically proven due to the presence of several types of tocopherols which combat free radicals, and multiple essential fatty acids (omega 6 and 9) with protective, nourishing, and regenerating properties.

Cactus blossoms as well as the pulp of its fruit also give water and virtuous extracts (its flower is refreshing,…). This plant’s fruits can for instance be transformed into oily macerates highly appreciated for their smoothness.