The prickly pear cactus Opuntia ficus indica (L.) is a tropical and subtropical plant grown in arid climates, such as the Mediterranean and Central America regions. In modern nutrition, Opuntia ficus-indica edibility is limited to the fruit and we have lost the traditional habits and knowledge of the use of this plant. In fact, cladodes have nutritional properties and they have been eaten for years as fresh food or jam, chutney and candies. OPUNXIATM is a highly-concentrated extract of Opuntia ficus-indica cladodes. OPUNXIATM contains a high amount of cladode polysaccharides and it is produced in powder form through specialized technologies to ensure the stability of the active compounds contained in it.


Opuntia cladodes contain active compounds (mainly polysaccharides) with interesting nutrition and health-related properties. Traditional uses and scientific literature have recognized several actions such as emollient and wound-healing effects, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic actions (1).


OPUNXIATM can be used in dietary supplements (capsules, tablets, granules or sachets) and functional foods (solid or drinks) for the general health of the human body and, in particular, of the gastro-intestinal tract.


The benefits of Opuntia ficus-indica cladodes intake and of its active compounds have been suggested by traditional medicines and recognized by scientific literature, thanks to the numerous experiments carried out over the past years (1,6). Opuntia cladodes mainly contain water and fiber such as mucilage, with a small amount of fat. Mucilages are made up of polysaccharide chains with high waterholding capacity, which are responsible for the typical viscosity of the inner part of the cladodes and their beneficial effects. Several actions have been attributed to the active compounds contained in Opuntia cladodes, such as:

  • Protection and support of the gastrointestinal mucosal health. Several experimental in vivo studies have proven that Opuntia mucilages intake maintains and protects the physiological cytoarchitecture of the gastric mucosae against external agents and favors mucus production (2,3).
  • Antioxidant and antinflammatory effects. Opuntia cladodes extract has shown to possess antioxidant activity and to reduce the production of key molecules usually released in chronic inflammation process (4).
  • Regulation of postprandial blood glucose level, leading to the control of hyperglycemia and prevention of diabetic disease (5,6). Clinical trials and in vivo studies have shown that the intake of Opuntia cladodes can regulate blood glucose and serum insulin as well as increase antioxidant protective systems.

OPUNXIATM is an Opuntia cladode extract produced by specialized technologies to obtain a powder form - more stable than the liquid one - and with high concentration of cladode polysaccharides.The biological features suggested that regular OPUNXIA intake can improve the general health of the body (in particular, the gastrointestinal tract), favoring the prevention of related diseases.


1. El-Mostafa K, et al., Nopal Cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) as a source of bioactive compounds for nutrition, health and disease. Molecules 19:14879-14901 (2014).
2. Galati EM, et al., Antiulcer activity of Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill (Cactaceae) ultrastructural study. J Ethnopharmacol 76:1-9 (2001).
3. Galati EM, et al., Study on the increment of production of gastric mucus in rats treated with Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill. cladodes. J Ethnopharmacol 83(3):229.233 (2002).
4. Panico AM, et al., Effect of hyaluronic acid and polysaccharides from Opuntia ficus indica (L.) cladodes on the metabolism of human chondrocyte cultures. J Ethnopharmacol 111:315-321 (2007).
5. López-Romero P, et al., The effect of nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) on postprandial blood glucose, incretins, and antioxidant activity in Mexican patients with type 2 diabetes after consumption of two different composition breakfasts. Acad Nutr Diet 114(11):1811-1818 (2014).
6. Nuῆez-López MA, et al., Functional and hypoglycemic properties of nopal cladodes (O. ficus-indica) at different maturity stages using in vitro and in vivo tests. J Agric Food Chem 61(46):10981-10986 (2013).

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