Friday, September 12, 2014

Benefits of Prickly Pear.

If you live or have visited the little Maltese islands, you most probably realized that it reigns supreme in Malta’s landscape. Although not a native of the Malta, nor the Mediterranean (its origins lie in South America), the Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian fig) certainly thrives throughout Malta and Gozo, and was introduced from the Americas into the Mediterranean region in the late 15th century

In tales about the West, the cactus is sometimes portrayed as a water-bearing plant that saves thirsting cowboys lost in the desert. But any hungry range rider worth his spurs would know that some types can provide right good eating, too, especially those known as Indian figs, nopales, prickly pears, or beaver tail cacti.

In fact, there are dozens of varieties of these hardy forageables. They're members of the genus Opuntia, which encompasses well over 200 species. These can be divided into two broad groups: the inedible—or at least basically unpalatable—cholla cacti (which have slender, rounded stems) and the edible prickly pears (distinguished by flat pads resembling beavers' tails).

Although in some countries is also considered as a pest, this luscious cactus a variety of benefits that might surprise a couple of our 'naturalist' followers..i'll talk about it in a second, but first...

In Mexico, the cacti are raised commercially, and the fruit (called tuna) and the edible pads (nopales) are marketed. YES, you read right, certain pads can actually be eaten..usually grilled..yumm..ouch !

Let us see the top 12 benefits of this wonderful gift of nature:

1. Control Overeating:
This is the greatest advantage wherein you can reduce glucose levels in the blood and avoid overeating habits. It is 100% natural and hence does not cause any side effects like other chemical based supplements that are consumed to control overeating.

2. Weight Gain:
Prickly pear fruit contains fiber that will make you feel full for longer hours and reduces hunger pangs. This helps in weight control effectively.

3. Hangover Effect:
This has the ability to reduce the hangover effect. Prickly pear juice reduces the production of inflammatory mediators that induce uncomfortable feeling during alcohol hangovers. This also reduces other symptoms like nausea and dry mouth.

4. Pancreatic Problems:
Prickly pear is very useful to get rid of pancreatic problems. This fibrous fruit is a colon cleanser that gives relief to the pancreatic sufferer.

5. Age-Related Vision Disorders:
This fruit contains flavonoids that prevent muscular degeneration and fight cataracts. This delivers blood and oxygen to the eye that helps to maintain healthy eye sight.

6. Anti-Inflammatory:
This fruit is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antihistamine. It also contains flavonoid that prevents the release of the compounds which help in inflammation of the joints and muscles caused due to gout, arthritis, exercise, fibromyalgia, and allergies.

7. Cancer:
Flavonoid compounds in prickly pear lowers the risk of some types of cancer like breast, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, and lungs. This also has the ability to remove free radicals and improves activities of pro-oxidant enzymes.

8. Cardiovascular:
Biologically active flavonoid in prickly pears normalizes the blood platelet stickiness, which helps to maintain good cardiovascular health.

9. Antioxidants:
The antioxidants react with free radicals that cause many chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and aging process. This also helps to maintain the glow of the skin and keep them healthy.

10. Glossy Hair:
You can use prickly pear oil to make your hair glossy. This oil can give you double fatty acids and protein than argan oil that helps for attaining shiny hair. Prickly pear also contains vitamin E, that conditions hair deeply.

11. Nail Health:
Prickly pear seed oil can be used to moisturise dry and damaged nail and restore the health of nails and cuticles.

12. Skin Health:
The seeds of this fruit are cold pressed to prepare a beauty oil that is anti-inflammatory. This is also known to heal cuts, wounds, and blemishes. It contains skin-softening vitamin E, and vitamin K to reduce dark circles. Prickly pear seed oil is an excellent choice for mature, aging or damaged skin.

MAKE YOUR OWN Hair Conditioner:
Peel the fruit
Cut into small chunks and put in water.
Cover and shake well.
Strain and use the liquid.
Massage the liquid onto the hair, and rinse.

This will make your hair healthy, silky and softer. This is also useful to protect hair from the scorching sun and rejuvenate heat-damaged hair.

Monday, April 21, 2014


For those who love DIY crafts, this one is one of my personal favourites!

Mix 1 cup of latex house paint or acrylic craft paint with 1 tablespoon of non-sanded tile grout. Mix together until there are no lumps.
Easy no?!! :) 

Use immediately. This mix tend to harden if not placed in an air tight container 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


This activity was FUN, REALLY FUN!! Kids love to get messy, it comes with being a kid as they explore their natural curiosity about the world around them. Messy-sensory play provides so many opportunities for learning, development and growth. Soapy Slime is a great mixture to encourage and promote this messy play with kids.
This time we made two different colours, yellow and red with the intention of creating a new colour, orange when we mixed the two colours together.To make Soapy Slime you will need 1 cup of soap flakes, 3 cups warm water, food colouring, large mixing bowl, large container or tray and an electric beater. You can find soap flakes at your local supermarket in the washing powder isle. As you beat the water, food colouring and soap flakes the mixture multiples, so I placed the large bowl on top of our container to catch the over flow.
Let’s Play 

We had scoops and funnels to play with the soapy slime but the kids seemed to prefer their hands. I never mentioned anything about the two different colours mixing together, I left this for them to discover and they did in time as the two colours became one giant blob of orange soapy slime.
Sensory play with soapy slime is a great opportunity for kids to explore and use descriptive words. Words to describe what they are experiencing, their senses and what they were feeling; slippery, slimy, soft, squishy and heavy and what it smells like.


Messy play is important for young children, giving them endless ways to develop and learn. All types of play are essential for children’s development and early learning. Play helps children to develop and improve their gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination and concentration. Also how to work co-operatively and collaboratively, use all their senses to discover and explore their environment, and develop their imagination, creative thinking and ability to problem solve and experiment with solutions.

Tips to consider and don’t stress the mess:This activity looks very messy, well that is because IT IS! This can be understandably overwhelming for some parents but clean-up is quite easy if you plan ahead. Take the activity outdoors in a large tub, that way when finished playing all you need to do is hose everything off, even the kids!! This can be all part of the fun and experience! I also put my kids in their old clothes, no shoes and an apron which provided some protection. Have a towel handy for any accidents when kids forget they have soap on their hands and put it in their eyes.

Article extracted from Learning for Kids dot com