The Opuntia ficus indica f. inermis methanolic flowers extract (OMFE) was phytochemical studied, in vitro tested for their potential antioxidant activity using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, linoleic acid peroxidation assays and in vivo evaluated for its ability to prevent ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats. The OMFE was rich in polysaccharide, phenolics and flavonoids contents and exhibited a moderate in vitro antioxidant activity when compared with (+)-catechin and ascorbic acid. Pre-treatment with OMFE at oral doses 250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight was found to provide a dose-dependent protection against ethanol-induced gastric ulcer by averting the deep necrotic lesions of the gastric epithelium, by preserving normal antioxidant enzymes activities, by inhibiting the lipid peroxidation, the oxidation of protein and the DNA fragmentation in gastric mucosa. The antiulcerogenic activity of OMFE might be due to a possible synergistic antioxidant and antihistaminic-like effects.
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