Cereus peruvianus cactus is one of the most prolific cactus growers that I’ve seen. It can become somewhat invasive if planted in the wrong environment, like, be sure not to give it too much water or you will be trimming it almost every month. I’ve even seen some lift up roofs from houses. Because it produces so much makes it a great cactus candidate to harvest from.
I usually only harvest the fruits of this cactus, the inside of the fruit resembles pitaya. The fruit’s flavor tastes like sugar cane juice with mild floral notes. This summer I had the idea of making some type of topical moisturizer from this cactus’s flesh since it is so abundant and since I needed something extra cooling to cool me down during our last heatwave.
This species of cactus contains many kinds of polysaccharides within its mucilage making it ideal for supporting the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water so that it can repair itself. Damaged skin needs extra protection so it can heal from within. All natural facial masks that carry polysaccharides like the one we are about to discuss can add that needed protection for skin healing.
I made one cutting about 2 ft. long and removed the spines from the cactus first. I then made cuts along each indentation. From those cactus cuts I then began to remove the skin by pulling it upwards from the cuts I made. Once you do that you can slice off all the excess flesh.
Cut up your skinless cactus and place in freezer until frozen. Once frozen, blend with a cooling hydrosol or natural mineral water. I used a rose hydrosol and it was amazingly calming and cool, a perfect pair. Slowly pour in the liquid of your choice till you make a cactus slime of sorts. I used a nutribullet to make my slime.
Once you have your cactus slime you can now smooth it over your skin and/or put some into our hair. It will hold in the refrigerator for a few days but it will lose its vibrant green color. Let the slime dry before washing if off.
I am so glad I decided to experiment more with this cactus species because now I’ve discovered an abundant natural source for moisturizing, cooling and calming skin and hair treatments in my own backyard.