Phytochemistry and biological activities of Opuntia seed oils: Opuntia dillenii (Ker Gawl.) Haw. and Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. A review
Opuntia species belong to semi-arid and arid regions of Mexico and the United States. O. ficus-indica and O. dillenii are commonly used in alternative medicine to treat various diseases. Up to date, several scientific works have been carried out on the different parts of these plants. However, over the last few years, studies have been focusing on the oil obtained from the fruit seeds of these species. For this reason, this study aims to draw the attention of researchers toward the phytochemical and the pharmacological effects of these two Opuntia oils, which would help set up other scientific projects that promote these products. Phytochemical studies have shown that these oils are rich in biologically active molecules, such as unsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols (mainly linoleic acid and β-sitosterol), as well as vitamin E, which is represented only by the γ-tocopherol. Besides, these oils are rich in polyphenols that protect them from photo-oxidation. Moreover, several studies have shown their antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and gastroprotective activities, as well as their hypolipidemic properties. The beneficial effects of these oils include also their ability to block the weight loss, and what makes them more interesting is their safety, according to the literature.