Much More than Just Decoration
The prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a member of the Opuntia genus in the cactus family (Cactaceae). Its fruits, also known as tuna, are edible, as are the young leaves which, for example, form part of standard Moroccan cuisine. The original source and natural range of the plant are unknown, but are suspected to be found in Mexico.
The prickly pear grows in either shrub form or arboreal form and reaches heights of 1 to 6 meters. It normally has a distinct stem measuring up to 35 centimetres. Its flowers blossom from the end of its shoots and range in colour from yellow to red, with a diameter of 5 to 10 centimeters. The fruits are green, orange or red and sprout from these flowers, with forms ranging from ovate to elongate. They grow up to between 6 and 10 centimeters long and contain glochids and sometimes thorns.
The Treasure Within
Cacti are predominantly known as decorative plants, yet their main wealth can be found in their seeds from which the Berber people of Morocco obtain oil. The process involves paying painstaking attention to detail, taking up to four days and requiring nearly half a tons of fruit to produce one liter of prickly pear seed oil.
The process begins by separating the seeds from the pulp, then washing them, leaving them to dry in the sun and finally gently cold pressing them. Only the cold pressing technique ensures that all of the contents that are effective for the skin are maintained. As a result, ABGUR uses no form of chemical extraction.
The value of prickly pear seed oil is based on its contents. It is rich in vital fatty acids in their natural composition. It contains 88% unsaturated fatty acids, of which 70% is linoleic acid. In addition, prickly pear seed oil has a very high concentration of tocopherols. Also known as vitamin E, these form a protection system against the accumulation of aggressive compounds. They prevent damage to polyunsaturated fatty acids, e.g. in cell membranes. Tocopherols are also described as a natural anti-aging product due to their antioxidant effect.
Prickly pear seed oil is an ingredient in high quality cosmetic creams. It protects the skin against premature aging and prevents the formation of wrinkles (anti-aging). Prickly pear seed oil has a generally moisturizing and revitalizing effect, showing very positive results when used on dry and brittle hair as well as fragile, cracked and dull nails.