Cactus Milk (All You Need to Know)

Cactus is slowly becoming one of those plants that everyone talks about. It has many uses and aesthetic properties which make it stand out.

Cactus plants are being hailed as some kind of superfood due to their health benefits, among other things.

However, they’re just regular plants that have adapted to their environments in many ways to survive.

There’s much deliberation about cactus plants and the purpose of their products.

Like any plant, cactus plants also have various parts that act as useful by-products. Initially, there are the succulents and the gelatinous matter present on the inside of that material.

There is also the presence of cactus juice and cactus milk which can form products in the future.

The research on cactus milk is rather limited. However, we’re slowly seeing an increased interest in the purposes it can serve.

In the article below, we will inform you about all that you need to know about Cactus Milk and the role it may play in your daily lives.

What Is Cactus Milk?

Cactus milk is special white sap that cactus plants extricate. It is a white sap secreted when some cactus species are injured.

The milky substance that it produces is called latex.  The latex can help heal the plant from physical damage.

Overwatering your cactus plant can also release sap. It can also be a poisonous secretion to defend the plant.

Cactus milk is also a substance that attracts ants to the plant. So you may find that if your cactus milk starts releasing all these extra fluids that it’s in some danger.

Properties of Cactus Milk

Cactus Milk is generally a sticky, white sap that the cactus releases. Special cactus plants tend to release this sap, so if you find that your cactus is suddenly releasing it, you may want to check it out. There are many questions when someone’s not used to a milky white supplement being released from a cactus plant. However, cactus milk has other ways to provide sap.

The following are some of the properties of cactus milk.

1. It Is Viscous

The sap from a cactus plant is generally exceptionally thick. This sap is secreted after there’s some attack by other external pests on the cactus.

2. It Is Milky White.

The color of the sap is milky white, and it looks like mucus.

3. It Is Hydrating.

The Aztecs were the first people who noticed how beneficial and hydrating this cactus sap could be. There is ongoing research that identifies the use of cactus milk in moisturizers for retaining the moisture of the skin.

4. It Can Lower Fever.

The sap was also found to be a coolant which is why many Aztecs used it on children and adults alike to break the fever or bring it down.

Out of all the healing properties of a cactus plant, these are the most important ones.

5. It Has Regenerative Functions.

The cactus sap is so rich in antioxidants that it can help you regenerate the mucous lining to your nose. It helps keep it nice and healthy.

6. It Reduces Cholesterol in Blood.

Drinking cactus milk can help with lowering cholesterol in the blood since it eliminates a great amount of fat.

Is Milky Sap Poisonous?

Cactus milk is a mucous-like substance that can ooze from different parts of the cactus plant. This milk pours out when the cactus plant is injured.

Can it be poisonous for animals or humans? Well, it depends.  Generally, the white secretion which you see in a Cactus plant is a result of being attacked.

The cactus plant will secrete a whole amount of milky substance called latex which helps the plant recover when there’s physical damage.

The cactus might release a poisonous sap when it feels threatened.

However, it’s unlikely that the sap is poisonous to animals or humans. Any poisonous sap will immediately irritate your skin.

So if you’re confused, if the sap is poisonous, you can always touch it. If you’re trying to drink the cactus milk, though, you shouldn’t do it.

The reason behind this is that it may cause some regurgitations and vomiting in a high amount.

Additionally, if you’re wondering where the sap is coming from, you will be pleased to know that certain plastids in the cactus plant release the liquid due to changes in the cell wall.

Why Is the Cactus Plant Oozing Milk?

Cactus plants will sometimes ooze milk. However, if they do this, it’s likely because they’re from the genus mammillaria.

The white sap could be a defense against physical damage to the plant. However, it could also mean there’s something wrong with the plant.

The most common thing to check for when you see some issue with your plant is an infestation.

Sometimes the reason behind the cactus plant suddenly oozing milk is that there’s a  pack of aphids or mealybugs who have found a soft spot in your plant and are now feasting on it.

This soft spot can then create a place for pests to create an infestation. The infestation is a way for all these aphids to start feeding on the cactus.

In response, the cactus will then try its best to survive by releasing a toxin in the form of a milky white substance.

The presence of this milky white substance or sap can sometimes go even further and attract ants.

The cactus might also be oozing an insane amount of white milk because you’ve been watering it too much.

Overwatering or watering the cactus plant with bad water could cause the cactus to release some of its water pressure by releasing a milky substance of some kind.

When this happens, you know that you’re in trouble.

The following may be reasons that your cactus is oozing white milk.

1. There’s an Injury

A cactus may be releasing a lot of mucus because it’s sustained a physical injury.  The injury may be to the stems or the pads. It can even occur in the spines.

If you try to cut off the spines, you may find that the cactus releases milk here too.

You can therefore determine that the oozing is a response to the damage and injury that the cactus sustains.

After exuding the milky sap, there may be some oxidization that occurs.

The sap will then convert into a much more congealed form of sap to seal the places where the injury occurred.

2. Overwatering

It may sometimes happen that an overwatered cactus can show that it’s growing and flourishing. However, people also found that the same cactus will wilt and grow weaker after a while.

You might see signs that indicate the plant is dying, such as rotten roots and soft plants.

There may also be leaking water and black or brown stems.

If it seems like your cactus is oozing milky liquid of any kind, then you may find it useful to check how often you’re watering the cactus plant.

If you’re applying a lot of water, you may want to consider that the cactus plant is a desert plant.

Being a desert plant means that it doesn’t have the same requirements as many other plants.

You want to look at the plant’s roots and check if they’re rotten, as that can usually happen in plants that have had too much water in them.

3. Extreme Sunlight

Cacti benefit from sunlight, but too much sunlight can have adverse effects; the plant may get extremely hot and release fluids to maintain temperature.

You might see a white liquid coming from its pads and stems.

If the plant gets a sunburn, then to alleviate this circumstance, the plant may also release some white ooze.

The release of the white ooze makes circumstances exceptionally difficult for the plants as they want to avoid sunburn.

If your plant is exposed to the light too often and is suddenly releasing white milk, you may want to remove some of the older leaves and move the plant to a more shaded region.

4. Bad Water Quality

The water needs to be fresh so that you can keep the plant’s soil soft and moist. If the water is not clean, then you may find that cactus milk is oozing out of the plant’s outgrowth, such as leaves.

The oozing of cactus milk may occur as a response to chemical impurities in the cactus plant, which are harmful to the plant’s growth.

To avoid impurities, you may find it helpful to use distilled water, so you don’t add to the impurities.

What happens when cactus milk in your eye?

Have you ever had cactus juice or cactus milk in your eyes? What happened next? Did you get a burning sensation?

Cactus juice is a natural remedy for eye infections. The cacti contain compounds called polypeptides, which are similar to proteins found in human blood plasma.

These compounds are known to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Cactus juice has been used for centuries to treat eye problems such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis (corneal infection).

In recent years, researchers have discovered that cactus juice contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Final Thoughts

Cactus milk has a whole variety of properties that helps it stand out from the cactus juice or sap.

There are many ways that cactus milk can be useful. It has hydrating properties as well as medicinal ones.

The properties are what make it stand out. Cactus may create milk for several reasons. Knowing the reasons helps you to identify what’s wrong with it.