This thorny fruit may look dangerous but in fact, it is quite the opposite! From benefitting those with metabolic diseases to those with kidney diseases, the benefits of prickly pear are plentiful AND are backed with science (a bonus!).
But let’s focus on what you are looking for: the dreadful hangover and how prickly pear can help with that. A 2004 study was conducted by Wiese and his colleagues to determine if prickly pear can reduce alcohol hangover symptoms. Their logic was that hangovers are known to be related to an inflammatory response the body has to congeners and the toxic metabolites of alcohol. In addition, prickly pear is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, so by reducing the inflammation with prickly pear, could they offset the hangover?
The study contained healthy, young adult volunteers, who were randomly given either the prickly pear extract or a placebo, five hours prior to alcohol consumption. And to control for variables, each subject was given equal amounts of alcohol relative to their body weight. Afterwards, the hangover severity and overall well-being were assessed as a subjective measurement. Blood and urine samples were taken the next day as well to measure C-reactive protein (C-reactive protein is used as a rough measure to indicate inflammation of the liver).
The results showed that hangover severity was strongly associated with levels of C-reactive protein levels, meaning the greater hangover severity, the higher the levels of C-reactive protein (more inflammation). And those who took the placebo reported greater hangover severity and greater levels of C-reactive protein , whereas those who were given the prickly pear extract reported to have significantly less severe hangover symptoms and lower levels of C-reactive protein.
So there it is, folks! In terms of a hangover, prickly pear has benefits when taken prior to drinking and this is why it’s found in our BEFORE formula. But the benefits don’t just stop there. In addition to anti-inflammatory properties, prickly pear is known to have strong anti-oxidant properties as well. So feel free to take prickly pear supplements or eat prickly pear fruit and cactus like the South Americans have been doing for centuries! If not for your hangovers, then for your health.
Reference: J Weise, et al. Effect of Opuntia ficus indica on Symptoms of the Alcohol Hangover. Arch Intern Med. 2004