The nopal, this Mexican cactus rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins and minerals, has become a great surprise in recent years due to the discovery of its properties. Its residues can be used to make electricity, it can function, thanks to its slime, as a water purifier; Useful as a roof waterproofer, it has amazing healing properties, it's great for reducing obesity, and you can also make homemade paint from it.
Recently a group of young Mexicans from the Students of the Mexico University Center (CUM) found that the flavonoids [a series of secondary metabolites of plants] extracted from the nopal have a protective effect against ultraviolet rays, which could be used as raw material to develop a sunscreen.
The idea came about when students investigated the series of components that make cactus plants tolerate and reproduce in such arid and sunny areas. The students found terpene, ascorbic acid and, above all, flavonoids that have antioxidant properties and protect cells from oxidative damage (free radicals) related to some conditions typical of aging.
"The results obtained confirmed a protective effect against ultraviolet radiation and opens the possibility of making a sunscreen, because the procedure showed how many colonies of these exposed microorganisms were burned or died, and how many survived," warns Carlos Aquino Rivera, student.