Prickly Pear For Hangover (the Science)

Prickly Pear For Hangover

The fruit and pads of this cactus has long been used by Mexican culture to help ease hangover symptoms. We'll share everything you need to know about prickly pear for hangover.

Prickly Pear For Hangover

Prickly pear cactus, or opuntia ficus-indica, is a plant that has been used for centuries in Mexico to relieve hangovers.

A hangover is caused by dehydration and alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects your liver by slowing down its ability to process toxins from your body. When this happens, toxins build up in your bloodstream instead of being processed by the liver, which can result in symptoms like nausea, dizziness or headaches.

Prickly pear is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are thought to help reduce the symptoms of hangover such as nausea and headaches. Researchers also believe that the prickly pear extract's antioxidant properties may be responsible for these results on hangovers too. Antioxidants are substances that protect your body from free radicals — molecules that can damage cells, DNA and other important parts of your body.

Prickly pear cactus hangover remedy is a proven homeopathic solution when drinking alcohol, we'll dive into more of the research behind it below.

Prickly Pear Cactus Hangover Research

As a classic Mexican hangover remedy, the idea is that prickly pear cactus (opuntia ficus-indica) contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that can help ease some of the side effects of alcohol.

There's a lot of anecdotal evidence for this, even making it on the Dr. Oz show, but does it have any scientific basis? To find out, we've looked at the research on prickly pear extract hangover science.

Prickly Pear cactus research on hangovers shows:

  • Tulane Health Sciences Center in New Orleans discovered the a prickly pear extract reduced hangovers by 50%.¹
  • Prickly pear was shown to work on hangovers by hindering the production of inflammatory mediators with its anti-inflammatory properties.¹
  • Prickly pear was found to have hepatoprotective effects, meaning an ability to protect the liver from alcohol damage.²

Overall, scientifically prickly pear cactus is shown to be very effective at protecting against alcohol damage and hangover symptoms.

What Is Prickly Pear?

Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus indica) is a cactus that grows native in the arid regions of the Americas, most popularly in Mexico as it's famously known as Mexican Remedies For Hangovers. It was introduced to Australia, Europe and Asia over many years and has since become a common landscape plant in these regions.

The cactus grows very well in dry, hot climates like the desert. It has large, fleshy pads that can grow up to 12 inches long and juicy fruits and are used in numerous recipes, foods and juices

Prickly pear contains many antioxidants that protect against free radicals. These compounds also help reduce inflammation and boost immunity. The fruit of prickly pear contains high amounts of vitamin C, which can help improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation in the body.

The fruit of this plant and the pads has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Dating back to 1345, it was used by the Aztecs as a treatment for burns and hepatitis, and indigenous people as one of their Mexican remedies for hangovers.

Nutrients In Prickly Pear

The prickly pear cactus contains a lot of nutrients — especially high in fiber, vitamin C and certain minerals (electrolytes).  The leaves (pads) and fruit of this plant are edible. Prickly pear has been used as a natural remedy for centuries because of its high nutrient count, including many vitamins to prevent hangover.

Nutrients in Prickly Pear include:

  • vitamin C
  • fiber
  • magnesium
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin B1
  • vitamin B2
  • vitamin B3
  • vitamin B6 
  • vitamin B9
  • beta carotene
  • potassium
  • calcium
  • quercetin
  • zinc

Nutrition Facts of Prickly Pear:
Nutrients In Prickly Pear
This nutrient loaded cactus can have many health benefits, as you can read below.

Prickly Pear Benefits

Prickly pear is an edible plant not only used in cooking but used to treat various health conditions. Containing many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and flavonoids, these nutrients make prickly pear an excellent natural remedy.

The following are the many health benefits of prickly pear:³

  • high in antioxidants to fight free radicals
  • liver protection
  • reduce hangovers
  • antiviral properties
  • may decrease blood sugar levels
  • anti-inflammatory effects
  • weight control
  • source of micronutrients
  • high fiber helps colon function
  • regularize bowel movements
  • immune system support
  • help high blood pressure with magnesium
  • may lower migraine headaches
  • good for teeth and bones with calcium
  • promotes digestion health

With its so many great health benefits from the high nutrition count and many vitamins to help hangover, prickly pear is a top supplement choice for many people.

Prickly Pear Supplement

Prickly Pear Supplement
Zaca is the first and foremost prickly pear supplement in chewable form to give you optimal nutrition. These chewables contain prickly pear as well as other herbs and amino acids such as glutathione that you need to feel better faster. Whether having a few drinks, maximizing workouts, or long travel days -- eat a few chewables to rehydrate, replenish and recover. Try Zaca chewable tablets today and feel the superior benefits of prickly pear.




1. Effect of Opuntia ficus indica on symptoms of the alcohol hangover
2. Evaluation of Opuntia ficus indica f. inermis fruit juice hepatoprotective effect upon ethanol toxicity in rats
3. 31 Benefits Of Prickly Pear Fruit For Skin, Hair & Health