Nov 16, 2015

Nopal Juice: Medicine or Poison? The Truth, Fiction, and How it Became a Crutch for Walnut Cherryville Society

According to Dr. Alejandro, it’s all natural—extracted from nopal cacti found in Walnut Cherryville’s graveyard, the magenta liquid is promised to detoxify the body, heal injuries, reduce inflammation, and promote optimal cellular health. In the newest Eternal Feud book, Revenge of Rivals, nearly every major character has partaken in the use of this drug including: Johnny, Vincent, Laura, Collins, and even a few new characters. Whether they’ve been caught in the crossfire of flying enemy bullets, survived an explosion, or had lost a hand, nopal juice healed all of their injuries in a matter of ten minutes to a few hours.

Warning: the effects of nopal juice in the Eternal Feud series were purposely over-exaggerated. If you have been injured, and you don’t live in Walnut Cherryville, please seek attention from a medical professional. Unfortunately, there is no magical solution in real life that can make people invincible (or at least not yet).

The concept and conflicts surrounding nopal juice was developed while I was writing Reunion at Walnut Cherryville dating around the 4th of July 2012, the most physically painful and scariest night of my life. My family took me to the emergency room because my left leg felt hot and I was experiencing severe pain, pressure, and swelling.  I couldn’t even walk—note at the time I was only 24 years-old.  While I was waiting to be seen by a doctor, I was watching a long infomercial advertising Nopalea Juice on TV.  It sparked my interest because the product was made from nopal cacti fruit, which grew in the Sonoran desert region, where my books take place. The infomercial made tons of crazy claims that this drink could cure chronic neck and back pain, skin diseases, repertory ailments, even sinus infections—the list went on and on. It was pure entertainment that distracted me from my current situation and gave me a great idea for Revenge of Rivals

Do you remember this map featured in Reunion at Walnut Cherryville?         

The nopal cactus on the lower-left was not added in the original final draft.  My college friend and designer, Anne Janecek, modified the map after my personal tragedy to foreshadow what was to come in Revenge of Rivals.    

Five hours and a leg ultrasound later, I was diagnosed with having a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) behind my knee.  Surprisingly the treatment to get rid of my blood clot was not nopal juice, but actually rat poison.  According to, “Warfarin was first used as a rat poison or rodenticide because it was considered to be too potent to be safely used in humans, but after a blood test was developed to measure and adjust its blood-thinning effects, warfarin has become the most widely used oral anticoagulant in the United States.”  I was taking poison to dilute the effect of my body’s supernatural clotting abilities (aka gene mutations), but what about the people in my fictional world?  Were they also taking poison as a cure to heal their wounds?  The evidence in Revenge of Rivals says it’s possible.

The following text is actual content from Revenge of Rivals and may contain small spoilers.

Nopal Juice is an Experimental Drug

Governor Kenneth Quinton gave a speech to the citizens of Walnut Cherryville saying that “After many months, scientists and medical experts in Walnut Cherryville’s laboratories have developed a healing drink extracted from natural ingredients.  The active ingredient, nopal cactus juice, comes from cacti growing in our own backyard and promises to detoxify the body, reduce injury inflammation, and promote optimal cellular health. The medicine is currently in trial testing and will be available to citizens soon via doctor’s prescription once a full list of its side effects is compiled.” 

Created with Kenneth’s Motives In-Mind

Laura, who was forced to marry Kenneth, may become the detective of the future to crack this story in the third book.

“The Quinton family made me hold my tongue for publicity reasons while they promoted nopal juice, Walnut Cherryville’s newest healing product produced from graveyard cacti. Kenneth said in his speech that he was working with scientists to find a cure for my HIV, which was a cover-up for something else. What was he really working on in the scientific wing?”

Does nopal juice interact with the Cockit and Quinton families supernatural abilities?

It minimally interacts with their abilities causing super-speedy healing, if the wound was not inflicted by the sacred dagger.  I am not going to give you the details of this event, but Johnny was injured by the dagger in Revenge of Rivals (don’t worry, he’s ok), and this is what he had to say:  

“The wound wasn’t healing, and the skin around it was abnormally black. There was pus seeping out of my chest, which reeked of rotting roadkill. I tried drinking nopal juice to heal it, but it had no effect.”

The effects and interactions of drinking nopal juice remain to be largely a mystery in Revenge of Rivals.  In the next part of the Eternal Feud series, which is still in the research stages, it will play an important role in altering the Cockit and Quinton genealogy.

Join the Eternal Feud mailing list for a chance to win an ebook copy of Revenge of Rivals. Every month, one lucky winner will be chosen and announced during the last week of the month.

Enter the Goodreads US giveaway between Oct 25 - Nov 22, 2015. Goodreads International Giveaway: between Dec 1 - Dec 29, 2015.

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