The juice from this cactus exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activities against ulcerative colitis in rats

A study has found that a cactus plant called erect prickly pear (Opuntia dillenii) may be used as a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis. The study, which was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, reports that this protective effect may be attributed to the cactus’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Researchers from Sree Siddaganga College of Pharmacy in India evaluated the protective effect of fresh fruit juice of erect prickly pear on acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis in rats.
  • The researchers pre-treated the rats with fresh fruit juice of erect prickly pear or sulfasalazine for seven consecutive days.
  • On the eighth day, they induced colitis by giving rats acetic acid.
  • Then, the researchers assessed the damage in the colon of the rats.
  • The results showed that the treatment with erect prickly pear juice significantly reduced the macroscopic damage, clinical activity score, and wet weight of the colon.
  • Moreover, the researchers found that it significantly decreased the levels of myeloperoxidase, malondialdehyde, and serum lactate dehydrogenase and increased the levels of reduced glutathione in the colon.
  • Erect prickly pear juice was also found to contain phenolics, flavonoids, and betalains – all of which contributed to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

In conclusion, these findings suggest that treatment with erect prickly pear fresh juice may be used to protect against ulcerative colitis.

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Journal Reference:

Babitha S, Bindu K, Nageena T, Veerapur VP. FRESH FRUIT JUICE OF OPUNTIA DILLENII HAW. ATTENUATES ACETIC ACID–INDUCED ULCERATIVE COLITIS IN RATS. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 29 June 2018; 1-12. DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2018.1470128

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