Q. I have type 2 diabetes and heard that if you drink nopal cactus tea it can help control blood sugar. Where can I get the fresh cactus pads or ready made tea?
A. You will need to be in close communication with your doctor if you try this botanical remedy. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medicines. You will have to monitor your blood sugar very carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too high or too low.
Nopal cactus (Opuntia streptacantha or prickly pear) is a traditional treatment in Mexico for controlling blood sugar (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Jan. 31, 2012; Jan. 27, 2011). You may find fresh cactus pads in a Latin or Mexican grocery. You can also find nopal or prickly pear supplements or tea bags in a health food store.
There are a surprising number of foods that can help control blood sugar. You’ll learn more about them in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.
One reader shared this: “A friend of ours moved his family to southern Mexico. He told us that down in southern Mexico people take the cactus in pill form, as well as eat it with their meals like we would a pickle or onion, etc. His doctor had him on cactus for high glucose and it works.”