Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can cactus juice repel insects?

I know that question sounds like a far-fetched ad headline, but my daughter called me yesterday to tell me her pediatrician recommended a product called Cactus Juice to help protect her son from nasty bug bites. I was really surprised. First because the doctor had recommended a product of any kind and second, because it was derived from the prickly pear cactus. The doctor had been on a hunting trip to Louisiana and while there was introduced to this product, liked it and wanted to make it available for his young patients. He persuaded a local drug store to carry the product.

I am familiar with the prickly pear cactus because my mother had one and for a number of years she made delicious prickly pear jelly. I had no idea it could also be versatile enough to protect from insects. It also may have a number of other benefits, including helping to regulate blood sugar, though I would make sure a doctor agreed with those benefits before I tried it. I know the barbs on the cactus kept me away from my mother's plant but it is supposed to be 99.1 percent effective as an insect repellent. I have never heard of using it that way but it is a good thing to find a safe and effective insect repellent that works and doesn't smell like a chemical plant!
According to the literature I read online, it is supposed to be safe for children and it also comes as a sunscreen, a skin lotion, a hand sanitizer and something called a miracle gel. I also read it was the "new aloe vera." I think it is worth a try, especially when it is recommended by a family doctor and as long as someone else extracts the juice from the prickly plant.

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