How to use cactus to survive in the desert!

There are many different types of desert plants. One of the most incredible of desert plants is cacti. They absorb water and retain water at great lengths in order to survive the harsh climate. 


Do you know what cacti are used for? 


Believe it or not, cacti have a lot of practical purposes. In this blog post, we will address the way in which you can use cacti to survive in the desert. If you are stranded in the desert, cacti can be a lifesaver. Not only do they provide shade and food, but also the psychological benefits when surviving. They also provide shade from the sun and protection from the wind. In addition, cacti can be used as a food source.


Take What You Learn From TV With A Grain Of Salt


In the desert, it is important to remember that what you see on television is not always accurate. One example that comes to mind is Bear Grylls, you see him drinking his own urine on television when stranded in the desert. This is actually not a good idea. Urine contains toxins and chemicals that can dehydrate and harm your body. So it is best to avoid drinking it if possible. 


If you find yourself in the desert needing water, try to find a source of freshwater instead of resorting to drinking your own urine. Further down we will talk about the best areas to look for water in a desert. If you are able to, I would try to travel at night to reduce the amount of water loss that will occur traveling during the day. This may not be possible for various reasons. The importance of conserving your energy and water is essential. 


Can you drink water from a cactus?



In most cactuses, you are not going to find a pool of water ready to drink from the cactus. It will all depend on if it has rained recently, and how large it is. The chances are very unlikely. Yes, you want to reduce the water loss in your body but cactuses will not be the solution. 


Fishhook barrel cactus is a type of barrel cactus that you can eat. You are able to eat their yellowish fruits. I have eaten them a few times, and they weren’t that bad.

The Psychological Benefit


They can play a major role in your mental well-being, in that you have found something to assist you to survive. This should only be done in a worst-case scenario. I enjoy prickly pear cactus, as it’s great to eat. It is definitely something that is more of an acquired taste, for some.


This has to do with the inherent “goo” aspect of eating cactus in general.




In a desert survival situation, large Saguaro cactuses can provide much-needed shade from the hot sun. By huddling close to the base of the plant, people can find respite from the blistering heat and howling winds. With its many benefits, it is no wonder that the Saguaro cactus is such an important part of desert life.

The desert can be a brutally hot and exhausting place, and being exposed to the sun can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or even fainting. 


The desert sun is unrelenting as it hammers downward upon the bone dry earth, transmitting beams of heat up from the dirt and sand. It can become clear, very quickly that the sun can quickly become their adversary. The reality is that exhaustion sets in as the body tries to regulate its temperature. 


Dehydration Kills


Then dehydration follows soon after. Without shade, it is only a matter of time before heatstroke sets in and consciousness fades. It is key to find shade, to survive in these conditions. The Saguaro cactus can provide critical cover and protection. By staying out of direct sunlight, people can avoid becoming overheated and dehydrated. Additionally, the Saguaro cactus can help block strong desert winds, providing another layer of protection against harsh desert conditions.


There are many benefits, it is no wonder that the Saguaro cactus is such an important part of desert life. In a survival situation, its shade can be vital for avoiding heat exhaustion and dehydration. Its wind protection can also help reduce the risk of hypothermia at night. For those in a desert survival situation, the Saguaro cactus is can make all the difference.

Cacti Are A Great Food Resource


In many parts of the world, the prickly pear is a common sight. This hardy fruit grows in desert regions and is an important food source for both people and animals. The prickly pear has green or yellow skin with small, sharp spines. The inside of the fruit is pink or red and is full of seeds. The prickly pear can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced.


The prickly pear cactus is high in fiber and calcium and has been shown to help with digestion. It is an excellent source of nutrients and can help people to survive in hot, desert conditions


How To Prepare A Cactus To Eat


If in a survival situation it would be to cut off all of the spikes around the cactus. Or if you are able to start a fire, you can burn the spikes off and scrape any remaining parts with a knife. You do not want to have any cactus spines in your mouth. I have learned the hard way when it comes to having cactus spines in your mouth. So please make sure they are all off, for your benefit. 


The source of water to find in a desert is areas where water has run through it before. I would look for dry creek beds and spots where water most likely would pool in the event of rain. When you find the area/spot, the best thing you can do is dig a hole. If you find moisture the chances are high that you could find water. Now, if it’s dry then it’s time to look for another spot to dig. 


The worst thing I have found when in the desert is digging for water and finding moist soil about a foot down, with no water. This tends to be a good sign that I am in the right area. It also would make me try another spot to dig in the same area.



Cacti are an important part of desert life. They can provide shade, wind protection, and even food in a survival situation. If you find yourself in a desert survival situation, remember to look for cacti as they can help you stay alive. Cacti can help keep you alive, in a desert survival situations

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