Where does the Barbary prickly pear come from?
Like all cacti, "Opunti aficus india", as the Barbary prickly pear is officially called, originally comes from Mexico. Even the Aztecs knew about its valuable ingredients and used prickly pears as medicinal plants.
Today, prickly pears grow in the hot and dry climate of North and Central America, in the Caribbean, in the Mediterranean region and in parts of Australia. Their trunks grow only about 35 centimeters high, while the complete cactus can reach a height of six meters. The prickly pears themselves are usually egg-shaped and taste sweet and sour. The valuable oil is extracted from the small seed kernels.
What makes the seed oil so valuable?
First of all, it is very laborious and onerous to produce Barbary fig oil. The fruits are harvested exclusively by hand. Have you ever tried to pick a prickly pear and carry it home in your handbag? This is not a good idea: Cacti and fruits are covered with thorns. Without protective equipment, picking and peeling the fruit is therefore very painful.
After peeling, the pulp and seeds are separated, and the seeds are then dried in the sun and cold-pressed. From them comes the high-quality Barbary fig oil: One liter of oil requires seeds from about one ton of fruit. After pressing, the oil must be filtered several times until it reaches its typical golden yellow color.
How does Barbary fig oil work?
Here lies the second reason why fig is so valuable: It has a strong antioxidant effect and is often called a "fountain of youth" for the skin. Barbary fig oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols and phytosterols. It is quickly absorbed by the skin, nourishing and protecting it, giving it shine and suppleness. It is also said to smooth wrinkles and fine lines after a short time, tighten pores, reduce redness and help soothe sunburned skin. It can help with puffiness and reduce dark circles under the eyes.
In hair care, the oil can smooth the hair structure, providing softness and shine. It strengthens the hair ends and nourishes the scalp.