The Korean cactus Cheonnyuncho effectively treats constipation

Researchers in Korea looked at the effects of the Korean cactus Opuntia humifusa (commonly known as the eastern prickly pear) on constipation. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, discussed the cactus extract’s ability to alleviate loperamide-induced constipation in mice.

  • In the study, researchers grouped the mice into four: a normal group, a constipation control group, a constipation group receiving three percent of O. humifusa extract in drinking water, and a constipation group receiving six percent of O. humifusa extract in drinking water.
  • The treatment of O. humifusa extracts continued for a period of 25 days.
  • Researchers used fecal parameters, such as the fecal pellet number and fecal water content, as indices of the effect of laxative agents in constipation.
  • Results revealed that the administration of O. humifusa extract significantly increased the fecal output, which indicates that the cactus treatment reduced constipation in the loperamide-treated mice. The researchers suggested that this may be due to the dietary fiber content of the cactus. The beneficial effects of fiber for hypertension, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal disease, hyperlipidemia, and immune function have also been reported.
  • Researchers also observed that the cactus extract was fermented by colonic bacteria and might have increased the population of good bacteria. At the same time, the treatment relieved constipation and improved the bowel environment. Thus, it is believed that O. humifusa extract could be used as a prebiotic.
  • The cactus extract also improved the thickness of the epithelial tissue layer and the density of mucin-containing crypt cells in the mouse distal colon upon loperamide treatment.

The findings of the study indicated that O. humifusa extract can be used to relieve the symptoms of loperamide-induced constipation.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Han SH, Park K, Kim EY, Ahn SH, Lee HS, Suh HJ. CACTUS (OPUNTIA HUMIFUSA) WATER EXTRACT AMELIORATES LOPERAMIDE-INDUCED CONSTIPATION IN RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17(49). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1552-8

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