To assess if a dehydrated extract of nopal stems retains the effect on glycemia of the entire nopal stems two experiments were performed. A. Six patients with type II diabetes mellitus in fasting condition received 30 capsules containing 10.1 +/- 0.3 g of the extract, and serum glucose levels were measured hourly from 0 to 180 minutes. B. Six healthy volunteers received 30 capsules with the extract followed by 74 g of dextrose orally. Serum glucose measurements were made in a similar fashion. In each experiment a control test with empty capsules was performed. Nopal extract did not reduce fasting glycemia in diabetic subjects. Nevertheless, the extract diminished the increase of serum glucose which followed a dextrose load. Peak serum glucose was 20.3 +/- 18.2 mg/dl (X +/- SD) lower in the test with nopal than in the control one (P less than 0.025). Dehydrated extract of nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica Mill) did not show acute hypoglycemic effect, although could attenuate postprandial hyperglycemia.