Dragon fruit – Benefits & Home Remedies for Skin, Hair & Health

Dragon fruit comes from the genus Hylocereus of the Cactaceae family. It is also known as pitaya, nannetika fruit, strawberry pear and pitahaya. The names pitahaya and pitaya are derived from Mexico. Pitaya refers to the fruit of the genus stenocereus, while pitahaya refers to the fruit of the genus Hylocereus. The other names for this fruit are dragon scales, dragon crystal, dragon pearl fruit and green dragon. Some of these fruits have red or yellow skin, which looks a little like pineapple, and white or red pulp with an abundance of small, black and edible seeds. They are round and oval in shape. The weight of this fruit ranges from 150 to 1000 grams, although more commonly they range from 150 to 600 grams.

This fruit is mildly sweet and low in calories. The seeds of this fruit are rich in lipids. Also, it has zero cholesterol and is full of antioxidants. It is high in fibre and vitamin C. It contains various fatty acids like myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, cis- vaccenic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid. It is used to add flavours to juices and alcoholic beverages. It is eaten in salads and various dishes. The flowers of this plant can be eaten as it is. The pitaya plant is a climbing cactus. The flower of this plant blooms overnight. They rely on pollinators such as bats and moths for fertilization.  This plant produces flowers between three to six times a year, depending on environmental conditions. The plant can endure temperatures up to 40 degrees Celcius, but will not survive long exposure to freezing temperatures. The fruit sets on the cactus-like trees 30 to 50 days after flowering and sometimes even have 5 to 6 cycles of harvests per year.

They are cultivated in the United States, Southeast Asia, Israel, Australia, Cyprus and the Canary Islands. The flowers can drop and fruits can rot due to overwatering or excessive rainfall. Bacteria like Xanthomonas campestris causes the stems to rot.

Types of the dragonfruit plant:

  1. Hylocereus undatus: it is also known as pitaya Blanca or the white-fleshed pitaya. The skin of this fruit is pink in colour and it is the most commonly found type of this plant.
  2. Hylocereus costaricensis: it is also called pitaya Roja or the Hylocereus polyrhizus. Both the skin and the pulp of this fruit are red in colour.
  3. Hylocereus megalanthus: it is known as pitaya Amarilla or the selencereus megalanthus. The skin of this fruit is yellow while the pulp is white in colour.

BENEFITS OF DRAGONFRUIT FOR HAIR

  1. It helps in treating the coloured hair as it opens the follicles of the scalp and let the hair breathe and keeps them smooth and shiny.
  2. It contains Omega 3s and Omega 6 fatty acids; it thus stimulates hair growth.
  3. Omega 3s is also vital in increasing the thickness of the hair strands, thus helps in increasing the hair volume. 
  4. Dragon fruit is rich in potassium because of which helps in treating dandruff and fungal infections of the scalp. 
  5. It helps in reducing and treating the split ends and stops the further split ends from occurring. 
  6. It contains minerals and nutrients that make the hair stronger and help to stop hair fall.
  7. The nutrients that are present in this fruit help to rejuvenate the hair and make them moisturised. 

BENEFITS OF DRAGONFRUIT FOR HEALTH

  1. This fruit is known as an “anti-inflammatory” fruit as it helps in curing the problem of arthritis.  
  2. This fruit helps in stabilizing the sugar level and therefore treats diabetes.
  3. It contains high fibre which helps to treat the problems related to stomach like constipation, bloating and indigestion. 
  4. This fruit can be eaten to keep the free radicals, which cause cancer, away. 
  5. It treats cardiovascular problems as this fruit helps in reducing bad cholesterol and maintains the blood flow in the body.
  6. It also helps in cutting down the extra fat from the body.
  7. It is a rich source of fibre and thus helps in improving the metabolism of the body and makes us feel active the whole day.
  8. It contains vitamin C and thus strengthens the immune system of the body and keeps respiratory problems like asthma away.
  9. The seeds of this fruit contain carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals that are required during pregnancy.
  10. This fruit contains beta carotene which helps in increasing eyesight.
  11. This fruit helps in making the teeth and bones stronger because it contains a high amount of calcium.
  12. It prevents the diseases like malaria, dengue as it helps in increasing the platelets in the blood.
  13. It is rich in proteins and nutrients that are the building blocks of the body and hence it is known to cause speedy growth in height of children. 

BENEFITS OF DRAGONFRUIT FOR SKIN

  1. It helps in curing burnt skin. It is rich in vitamin B3 which helps in moisturising the skin and release the heat from the affected area.
  2. Since this fruit is rich in vitamin C, it helps in curing acne. 
  3. It helps in hiding the signs of ageing as it keeps the skin tight, refreshed and removes the fine lines. 
  4. If used regularly, it can treat hyper-pigmentation and redness on the face.
  5. Apply the fruit as a face pack, it will remove all the patches or acne scars from your face.
  6. It is rich in potassium and thus helps in treating skin fungal infections.

20 HOME REMEDIES FOR HAIR, HEALTH AND SKIN

HAIR

Treats the coloured hair

  1. Take out the flesh of the fruit and make a smooth paste out of it by using a blender. 
  2. Apply it on your scalp for 15- 30 minutes, then wash it off using a mild shampoo.

Treats the fungal infection of the scalp

  1. Make a mixture of warm coconut oil and the pulp of this fruit. 
  2. Apply it over the affected areas and let it sit for at least half an hour. Then wash your hair with a mild shampoo. 

Helps to get rid of the dandruff

  1. Mix the pulp of this fruit with olive oil and add aloe vera gel to it.
  2. Churn it thoroughly until it turns into a consistent paste. 
  3. Apply this mixture before you wash your hair and keep it the same way for an hour, then wash your hair with a shampoo.

Helps to keep the hair healthy

  1. It not only keeps the hair healthy but shiny and also helps to overcome the hair fall. 
  2. Make a smoothie using this fruit, spinach leaves, yoghurt or milk and bitter gourd. Drink it twice a week in the morning. 

Treats the rough hair strands

  1. Make a hair pack using the pulp of this fruit, curd and lemon.
  2. Apply this pack on your hair from root to tip and wash it after half an hour with a shampoo.

Helps to get rid of the bald patches

  1. Mix pulp of this fruit with aloe vera gel. 
  2. Apply it to the affected areas.

HEALTH

Cuts down the weight or excess fat 

  1. Make a paste of two dragon fruits mixed with 5 tablespoons of cucumber juice. 
  2. Eat this paste every day for breakfast. 

Treats asthma

  1. Eat this fruit scoop by scoop while drinking coconut water.

Treats the cardiovascular problems

  1. Eat this fruit daily, along with its seeds. 

Treats diabetes 

  1. Diabetic people should eat this fruit daily scoop by scoop with yoghurt, after breakfast.

Increases the eyesight 

  1. Drink a smoothie made up of this fruit, cucumber juice, spinach leaves and yoghurt or milk. 
  2. Drink it twice a week and you will witness effective results.

Maintains the digestive system

  1. Prepare a salad using this fruit, mint leaves, flaxseeds and honey. 
  2. Eat this salad as a mid-afternoon snack. 

SKIN

Removes the fine lines and aging signs 

  1. Extract the pulp of this fruit and squeeze it until it turns into a smooth paste. 
  2. Then add yoghurt to it and apply it all over your face and neck. 
  3. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then wash it with lukewarm water.

Treats acne and pimples 

  1. Scoop out the pulp of the fruit and apply (dab) it on your acne with a cotton ball. 
  2. After 20 minutes, wash it with lukewarm water.

Makes the skin look bright and glowing 

  1. Take out the flesh of this fruit and apply it to your face. 
  2. Let it sit for half an hour until your skin completely absorbs it. 
  3. Then wash it with cold water. Do this remedy twice a week.

Treats the sunburned skin

  1. Mix one tablespoon of cucumber juice and one tablespoon of dragonfruit juice.
  2. Apply this mixture to your face and let it sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. Then wash it with cold water.

Treats the hyper- pigmentation

  1. Mix this fruit’s pulp with one tablespoon of honey. Mix it until it turns into a consistent paste. 
  2. Then apply it all over the affected area. 
  3. Keep it the same way for 10- 20 minutes and then rinse with cold water.

Treats the fungal infections 

  1. Scoop out the pulp of this fruit and mix it with aloe vera gel.
  2. Then apply it over the affected areas using a cotton ball. 
  3. For visible results, repeat this remedy at least twice a day for 15 days.

Lightens and softens the elbows, armpits and knees

  1. Prepare a mixture of the pulp of this fruit, aloe vera gel and honey.
  2. Apply it on your elbows, armpits and knees and let it sit for 20 minutes. 
  3. Then wash it with cold or normal water.

Keeps the skin healthy and glowing

  1. Try dragonfruit and coconut smoothie. Add this fruit, blueberries, flaxseeds, coconut and water in a jar and blend it properly. 
  2. Drink this smoothie thrice a week to keep your skin healthy forever.

PRECAUTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS

  1. Do not eat this fruit in excess as it contains fructose which may prove to be harmful, if over-consumed. 
  2. Overconsumption of this fruit can cause slight reddish urine and faeces, this situation is known as pseudohematuria. 
  3. Do not eat the outer skin of the fruit because it may be polluted with pesticides.     

MYTHS AND FACTS

MYTH: A pregnant or a breastfeeding woman should not consume this fruit as it may harm the woman and the child’s health

TRUTH: No, it is false. Instead, eating this fruit is highly beneficial for the mother and the unborn or the newborn baby’s health. It contains nutrients that not only ensures healthy pregnancy but also protects the baby from several birth defects and disorders. To be specific, the dragonfruit with red pulp is more beneficial during pregnancy.  

FAQs

Q1. How to tell if the dragonfruit is ripe or not?

Ans. These fruits are ripe when the skin of the fruit is even in colour and the wings are a mixture of yellow and green and the edges start to turn brown in colour. But, If the peel has dark spots, it may be overripe. If the peel is a combination of green and red, it’s not yet ripe. 

Q2. How this fruit can be stored?

Ans. It can be stored at room temperature or wrapped in a plastic bag and then kept in the refrigerator. 

Q3. How it can be grown?

Ans. Dragon fruit cactus can be started from seeds but it takes a lot of time to grow them and they take too long to reach their maturity. To grow them faster, a one-year-old cutting about 1 foot can be used. Cuttings take even less than two years to grow.

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