We truly do not understand a terrible survival situation until we are confronted with one. Several people are seriously hurt or killed while out on desert walks. Because surviving in a desert is tough, some of them survive, while others do not. Water is unquestionably a vital element for survival. So, if you’ve run out of water and are trapped in the desert, you might be wondering where you can locate water. While searching for an oasis, your next thinking may be, “Can I sip water from a cactus?”
As you are all aware, cacti can be found in abundance across the desert; therefore, if you are stuck and perplexed, you might want to try drinking cactus juice to relieve your thirst. But is it secure? Is it possible to sip water from a cactus? We shall go into detail about it in this article.
What Does Cactus Water Taste Like?
Water is unquestionably an important resource if you find yourself trapped and alone in the desert. And it’s extremely likely that if you were there without food or water, you’d be willing to eat cactuses as well. However, you should be aware that, in addition to their menacing spines, most cactus species guard their spongy tissue with acids and powerful alkaloids.
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Most people find these substances too harsh to consume, and doing so puts a strain on the kidneys. So if you’re there on an empty stomach and eating cactus flesh, it won’t end well for you.
Consuming the meat of some cactuses can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other significant problems such as temporary paralysis, none of which you should experience while in such a critical condition. Because let’s face it, you’re already stressed out and physically exhausted. So, if you vomit after eating cactus meat, you may drop out from tiredness as well.
Also, keep in mind that there are roughly 2,000 different types of cacti worldwide. Proper identification can be difficult in situations where the types are similar. So you might not even know which one would truly harm you and endanger your life. Poisonous cactus-like plants found in the deserts of southern Africa and Madagascar belong to the Euphorbiaceae family.
If you get the milky sap of these plants in your eyes, it can burn your skin and mucous membranes and cause irreparable blindness, so you can picture what would happen if you ate them. However, if you are fortunate enough to come upon an edible cactus, you must be wondering –
What Does it Taste Like?
If you had high hopes, the answer would be somewhat disappointing. The meat or internal component of a cactus has a sticky and slimy texture, according to most persons who have had the opportunity to taste it. Also, when you remove the thorns from a piece of its stem, the water or flesh tastes like a melon or a cucumber without the sweetness or any other taste.
As you chew it, you’ll note that it has a distinct grittiness to it, as if sand has been sprinkled on it. It can be eaten raw or roasted with the flesh on fire. If you like it raw, cut the top of the cactus off and skin down the sides, eliminating the spines. The meat from the cactus will be the consistency of a sticky cucumber.
Although the stringy central core should be avoided, the cactus meat can be consumed. Wrap the cactus meat in a cloth, break it, and wring it out to extract the water.
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How Do You Handle A Cactus Plant For Consumption?
Normally, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about touching or getting near a cactus is its thorns. However, if you are in a desperate position, you will have little alternative but to quench your thirst and give your body the bare minimum sustenance essential to survive. So, if you’re about to handle a cactus, you can use these instructions to devour any portion of it.
- First, you’ll need to gather some fabric to cover your hands. Because you will be touching a cactus, your hand must be covered.
- Then you must select the plant that you believe is safe for you and pluck it out.
- Then you’ll need to get a sharp tool to cut away the thorns and the tough outer coating. Obviously, if you have a knife or a blade, you can use it.
- The plant meat must next be sliced into pieces before being consumed as desired.
Can You Drink Water From Which Cactus?
After examining the procedure for extracting water from cactuses, you may be inquisitive about the cactus from which you can drink water. So let’s get into it.
The Fishhook Barrel Cactus is the only cactus that allows you to drink cactus water directly from the plant. However, this should only be ingested in little amounts and in an emergency. The fishhook barrel cactus is said to be the least problematic of the cacti family when utilized as a water source. Your health would be compromised in either event.
Cactus water is acidic and includes certain toxic alkaloids. You could drink this to relieve your thirst if you’re severely dehydrated, but you might end up with other difficulties. As a result of ingesting a chemical substance, your body would expend more energy than it would normally obtain. It will almost certainly cause body aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is up to you to decide whether risking dehydration or falling ill is a condition you are comfortable with. In desperate times, though, we lose our ability to think logically and are eager to do anything.
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What Are the Cactuses That Can Be Eaten?
If you are hungry and without food, you might consider eating cactuses at some point, because, to state the obvious, if I can drink cactus water, I can eat the meat as well. So let’s speak about the cactuses you can consume.
- Fishhook Barrel Cactus: As previously stated, the meat from the fishhook barrel cactus is safe to ingest; you can cut it up and eat it raw. In addition, if you have access to a fire, you can roast the cactus before eating it.
- Hedgehog Cactus: The thorny Hedgehog Cactus is safe to eat. All you have to do is cut a thin section of the cactus’s outer covering and chop the meat into pieces. If you have access to a fire, you can also roast the cactus stem and eat it.
- Prickly Pear Cactus: Prickly Pear Cactus is safe to eat. You can eat both the cactus pad and the center plant flesh.
Can You Drink Water From A Saguaro Cactus?
If you’ve ever been to Arizona in the United States, you’ve most likely seen long cactus plants blooming beside highways. These famed Saguaro Cactus plants are the largest of their species in the country, reaching an average height of 40 feet and a width of 2 feet. Saguaro fruits are a popular delicacy in both American and Mexican cultures.
They are well-known for their sweet edible pulp, which is used to make jams, wines, and preserves. Primarily, the Hohokam inhabitants of Tucson would pluck ripe fruit from the tops of the plants. It would then be gathered to consume. Currently, the fruits of the Saguaro have a variety of applications. Saguaro seeds, which are strong in protein, are commonly used as chicken feed. The saguaro cactus’ edible fruits and seeds are particularly popular. The saguaro fruit can be eaten in a number of ways.
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You can consume fresh fruit or make juice from it. You can also dry it and store it as dried fruit for later use. Saguaro fruit is used to make wine, jam, and syrup. The stems and center plant flesh of the Saguaro, on the other hand, are not edible. So you can’t drink the water directly from the cactus stems; you’d have to brew a juice from the fruit it produces.
Does Cactus Water Cause Hallucinations?
Cactus is not a safe substitute for drinking water. As previously said, drinking cactus water on an empty stomach will produce diarrhea or vomiting, further dehydrating you. Your body will eventually give out if you are stranded in the searing heat. Furthermore, if you are vomiting, you are quite likely to become extremely unwell. In an emergency, you could have water or the sap of the fishhook barrel cactus if you are powerless and must ingest it. Seri Indians also utilized this cactus for emergency water, but drinking it on an empty stomach caused bone pain and vomiting.
Also, did you know that drinking water from certain cacti can cause hallucinations?
Consuming the cactus water of Peyote, a small cactus native to the deserts of southern Texas and Mexico can actually cause you to hallucinate. It’s one of many cactus species that contain a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid that resembles the hallucinating characteristics of LSD. So, if you swallow any of these cactus bits, you will experience hallucinations when stranded in the desert.
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How Long Can a Cactus Keep Water?
Some cacti, on the other hand, have roots that have evolved to store water. Water is reported to be stored in foldable water storage cells in cactuses. The collapsible water-storage cells look as pores or cracks in the stem and may hold water for a long time. There are also ribs/flutes that allow water to be retained. The ribs or flutes are hidden when the cactus is completely grown, but become visible as the stem shrinks.
Cactus, like all living things, needs water to survive. However, water is typically scarce in the areas where it grows. To compensate for this, this plant has acquired a wide range of unique qualities that allow it to adapt to the searing temperatures and store the little water it receives for an extended period of time. Cacti feature needle-like spines that defend them from predators and aid in water conservation by limiting air passages around the cactus. Some cactuses can store water for up to four months, particularly during the winter, and they don’t use much water during that time. Larger cactuses, such as the barrel cactus, can endure months without absorbing water. Some cactus species may retain water for up to two years.
If you’re going hiking, bring twice as much water as you normally would to avoid getting stranded with no water. You can also bring canned food and other packaged food goods to help you get through this period of survival. If you are unfortunate enough to be in a scenario where you do not have access to water, odds are you will drink water from a cactus. In that situation, you’d have to pick the cactus carefully to avoid unpleasant repercussions.