Generic placeholder image

Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Agronomic Cultivation, Chemical Composition, Functional Activities and Applications of Pereskia Species – A Mini Review

Author(s): Vinicius B.V. Maciel, Cristiana M.P. Yoshida and Francisco M. Goycoolea*

Volume 26 , Issue 24 , 2019

Page: [4573 - 4584] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/0929867325666180926151615

Price: $65


Background: The exploration of the plant biodiversity as a natural source to obtain sustainable food products and new bioactive pharmaceutical compounds has been growing significantly due to their abundance, safety and economy. Natural pharmaceutical and edible compounds present some advantages when compared to synthetic ones, such as being chemically inert and widely available. In this sense, plants of the genus Pereskia belonging to the Cactaceae family, have been studied. It is an unconventional wild edible plant that contains a large amount of protein and minerals. Studies have demonstrated their biological activities and potential application in different areas such as pharmaceutical, medicinal and food.

Objective: This review is focused on the chemical composition, functional properties, applications on pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food areas and formulation techniques to enhance the stability and bioavailability of bioactive compounds from the underutilized wild edible plant known as ora-pro-nobis (Pereskia aculeata or Pereskia grandifolia).

Conclusion: The latest studies involving ora-pro-nobis demonstrated its great potential due to its biological activities, which could stimulate further investigations. The utilization of this plant as a natural source to supplement the diet, or to prepare new food products and pharmaceutical formulations is an attractive approach to explore and fully realize the potential of the rich biodiversity found in Brazil and in other countries.

Keywords: Ora-pro-nobis, Pereskia aculeata, Pereskia grandifolia, cactaceae, unconventional plant, nutritional value, medicinal food.

Biodiversity, F.A.O. FAO’s role in biodiversity., 2018.Available from:.
Bhati, D.; Jain, S. Micro nutrient composition of unconven-tional wild fruits and vegetables. Biascan, 2016, 11(4), 2405-2409.
Beluhan, S.; Ranogajee, A. Chemical composition and non-volatile components of Crotial wild edible mushrooms. Food Chem., 2010, 124, 1076-1082.
Akinnifesi, F.K.; Kwesiga, F.; Mhango, J.; Chilanga, T.; Mkonda, A.; Kadu, C.A.C.; Kadzere, I.; Mithofer, D.; Saka, J.D.K.; Sileshi, G.; Ramadhani, T.; Dhliwayo, P. Towards the development of miombo fruit trees as commer-cial tree crops in southern Africa. For. Trees Livelihoods, 2006, 16(1), 102-121.
Eleazar, N.P. Cesoiv. Recognition of importance of un-derutilized fruit crops. R & D Notes. Bar Res. Develop. Not., 2012, 14(4), 3.
Grivetti, L.E.; Ogle, B.M. Value of traditional foods in meeting macro- and micronutrient needs: the wild plant connection. Nutr. Res. Rev., 2000, 13(1), 31-46.
[] [PMID: 19087432]
Salvi, J.S.S. K. A review: Underutilized wild edible plants as a potential source of alternative nutrition. Int. J. Bot. Stud., 2016, 1(4), 32-36.
Leakey, R. Potential for novel food products from agrofor-estry trees: a review. Food Chem., 1999, 66(1), 1-14.
Leterme, P.; Buldgen, A.; Estrada, F.; Londono, A.M. Min-eral content of tropical fruits and unconventional foods of the Andes and the rain forest of Colombia. Food Chem., 2006, 95(4), 644-852.
Barreira, T.F.; Paula Filho, G.X.; Rodrigues, V.C.C.; An-drade, F.M.C.; Santos, R.H.S.; Priore, S.E.; Pinheiro-Sant’ana, H.M. Diversity and equivalence of unconventional food plants in rural zone of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rev. Bras. Plantas Med., 2015, 17(4), 964-974.
Azam, F.M.S.; Biswas, A.; Mannan, A.; Afsana, N.A.; Ja-han, R.; Rahmatullah, M. Are famine food plants also ethnomedicinal plants? An Ethnomedicinal appraisal of famine food plants of two districts of Bangladesh; , 2014.
FAO Use of lesser-known plants and plant parts as animal feed resources in tropical regions, 2012.
Kunkel, G. Plants for human consumption: a noted checklist of the edible phanerograms and ferns; Koeltz Scientific Books: Koenigstein, 1984.
Rapport, E.H.; Drausal, B.S. Edible plants.Encyclopedia of biodiversity; Levi, S., Ed.; Academic Press: New York, 2001, Vol. 3, pp. 375-382.
Kinupp, V.F.; Lorenzi, H. Plantas alimentícias não convencionais (PANC) no Brasil, 1st ed.; Nova Odessa: Plantarum, , 2014.
Matilla, P.; Makinen, S.; Eurola, M.; Jalava, T.; Pihlava, J-M.; Hellstrom, J.; Pihlanto, A. Nutritional value of commercial protein-rich plant products. Plant Foods Hum. Nut., 2018. Available from:,
Leuenberger, B.E. Pereskia (Cactaceae). Mem. N. Y. Bot. Gard., 1986, 41, 1-141.
Hunt, D. Cites cactaceae checklist, 3rd ed; Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, England, 2016.
Edwards, E.J.; Nyffeler, R.; Donoghue, M.J. Basal cactus phylogeny: implications of Pereskia (Cactaceae) paraphyly for the transition to the cactus life form. Am. J. Bot., 2005, 92(7), 1177-1188.
[] [PMID: 21646140]
Butterworth, C.A.; Wallace, R.S. Molecular phylogenetics of the leafy cactus genus Pereskia (Cactaceae). Syst. Bot., 2005, 30(4), 800-808.
Pinto, Nde. C.; Scio, E. The biological activities and chemical composition of Pereskia species (Cactaceae)--a review. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 2014, 69(3), 189-195.
[] [PMID: 24862084]
Mauseth, J.D.; Landrum, J.V. Relictual vegetative anatomical characters in Cactaceae: the genusPereskia. J. Plant Res., 1997, 110(1), 55-64.
[] [PMID: 27520044]
Duarte, M.R.; Hayashi, S.S. Estudo anatômico de folha e caule de Pereskia aculeata Mill. (Cactaceae). Rev. Bras. Farmacogn., 2005, 15(2), 103-109.
Lorenzi, H.; Souza, H.M. Plantas ornamentais no Brasil: arbustivas, herbáceas e trepadeiras 1st ed.; Plantarum:Nova Odessa; , 1995.
Conceição, M.C.; Junqueira, L.A.; Silva, K.C.G.; Prado, M.E.T.; Resende, J.V. Thermal and microstructural stability of a powdered gum derived from Pereskia aculeata Miller leaves. Food Hydrocoll., 2014, 40, 104-114.
Almeida, M.E.F.; Corrêa, A.D. Utilização de cactáceas do gênero Pereskia na alimentação humana em um município de Minas Gerais. Cienc. Rural, 2012, 42(4), 751-756.
Souza, M.R.M.; Pereira, P.R.G.; Magalhães, I.P.B.; Sedi-yama, M.A.N.; Vidigal, S.M.; Milagres, C.S.F.; Baracat-Pereira, M.C. Mineral, protein and nitrate contents in leaves of Pereskia aculeata subjected to nitrogen fertilization. Pesqui. Agropecu. Trop., 2016, 46(1), 43-50.
Souza, L.F.; Gasparetto, B.F.; Lopes, R.R.; Barros, I.B.I. Temperature requirements for seed germination of Pereskia aculeata and Pereskia grandifolia. J. Therm. Biol., 2016, 57, 6-10.
[] [PMID: 27033034]
Gibson, A.C.; Nobel, P.S. The Cactus Primer; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1990.
Santos, I.C.; Pedrosa, M.W.; Carvalho, O.C.; Guimarães, C.D.C.; Silva, L.S. Ora-pro-nóbis: da cerca à mesa. Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária de Minas Gerais – EPAMIG, 2012.Available from:.
Leuenberger, B.E. Leaf-bearing cacti (genus Pereskia) in cultivation. Cact. Succ. J., 1992, 64(5), 247-261.
Tofanelli, M.B.D.; Rezende, S.G. Sistemas de condução na produção de folhas de ora-pro-nobis. Pesqui. Agropecu. Trop., 2011, 41(3), 466-469.
Queiroz, C.R.A.A.; Andrade, R.R.; Morais, S.A.L.; Pavani, L.C. Growing Pereskia aculeata under intermittent irrigation according to levels of matric potential reduction. Pesqui. Agropecu. Trop., 2015, 45(1), 1-8.
Campos, J.A.; Oliveira, N.J.F.; Chamba, J.S.V.; Colen, F.; Costa, C.A.; Filho, A.S.S. Shoot growth of ora-pro-nobis in alternative substrate of carbonized rice husk. HOLOS, 2017, 7, 148-167.
Oliveira, D.C.S.; Wobeto, C.; Zanuzo, M.R.; Severgnini, C. Composição mineral e teor de ácido ascórbico nas folhas de quatro espécies olerí¬colas não-convencionais. Hortic. Bras., 2013, 31, 472-475.
Takeiti, C.Y.; Antônio, G.C.; Motta, E.M.P.; Collares-Queiroz, F.P.; Park, K.J. Nutritive evaluation of a non-conventional leafy vegetable (Pereskia aculeata Miller). Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr., 2009, 60(1)(Suppl. 1), 148-160.
[] [PMID: 19468927]
Almeida Filho, J.; Cambraia, J. Estudo do valor nutritivo do “Ora-pro-nobis” (Pereskia aculeata Mill.). Rev. Ceres, 1974, 21(114), 105-111.
Lima, F.A. Junior; Conceição, M.C.; Resende, J.V.; Jun-queira, L.A.; Pereira, C.G.; Prado, M.E.T. Response sur-face methodology for optimization of the mucilage extraction process from Pereskia aculeata Miller. Food Hydrocoll., 2013, 33, 38-47.
Almeida, M.E.F.; Junqueira, A.M.B.; Simão, A.A.; Corrêa, A.D. Caracterização química das hortaliças não-convencionais conhecidas como ora-pro-nobis. Biosci. J., 2014, 30(1), 431-439.
Mercê, A.L.R.; Landaluze, J.S.; Mangrich, A.S.; Szpoganicz, B.; Sierakowski, M.R. Complexes of arabinogalactan of Pereskia aculeata and Co2+, Cu2+, Mn2+, and Ni2+. Bioresour. Technol., 2001, 76(1), 29-37.
[] [PMID: 11315807]
Sierakowski, M.R.; Corin, P.A.J.; Reicher, F.; Corrêa, J.B.C. Some structural features of a heteropolysaccharide from the leaves of the cactus Pereskia aculeata. Phytochemistry, 1987, 26(6), 1709-1713.
Pinto, N.A.V.D.; Carvalho, V.D.; Corrêa, A.D.; Rios, A.O. Avaliação de fatores antinutricionais das folhas da taioba (Xanthosoma sagittifolium Schoot). Cienc. Agrotec., 2001, 25(3), 601-604.
Kinupp, V.F.; Barros, I.B.I. Teores de proteína e minerais de espécies nativas, potenciais hortaliças e frutas. Food Sci. Technol., 2008, 28(4), 846-857.
Morton, J. Fruits of warm climate, 1st ed; Creative Re-source Systems: Miami, 1987.
Salazar, J.; Velásquez, R.; Quesada, S.; Piccinelli, A.L.; Rastrelli, L. Chemical composition and antinutritional factors of Lycianthes synanthera leaves (chomte). Food Chem., 2006, 97, 343-348.
Ishida, H.; Suzuno, H.; Sugiyama, N.; Innami, S.; Tadokoro, T.; Maekawa, A. Nutritive evaluation on chemical compo-nents of leaves, stalks and stems of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas poir). Food Chem., 2000, 68, 359-367.
Pinto, Nde. C.; Machado, D.C.; da Silva, J.M.; Conegundes, J.L.M.; Gualberto, A.C.M.; Gameiro, J.; Moreira Chedier, L.; Castañon, M.C.M.N.; Scio, E. Pereskia aculeata Miller leaves present in vivo topical anti-inflammatory activity in models of acute and chronic dermatitis. J. Ethnopharmacol., 2015, 173, 330-337.
[] [PMID: 26226436]
Salt, T.A.; Tocker, J.E.; Adler, J.H. Dominance of Δ5-sterols in eight species of the Cactaceae. Phytochemistry, 1987, 26(3), 731-733.
Katan, M.B.; Grundy, S.M.; Jones, P.; Law, M.; Miettinen, T.; Paoletti, R. Efficacy and safety of plant stanols and sterols in the management of blood cholesterol levels. Mayo Clin. Proc., 2003, 78(8), 965-978.
[] [PMID: 12911045]
Sim, K.S.; Sri Nurestri, A.M.; Sinniah, S.K.; Kim, K.H.; Norhanom, A.W. Acute oral toxicity of Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia in mice. Pharmacogn. Mag., 2010, 6(21), 67-70.
[] [PMID: 20548939]
Wahab, S.I.A.; Abdul, A.B.; Mohan, S.M.; Al-Zubairi, A.S.; Elhassan, M.M.; Ibrahim, M.Y. Biological activities of Pereskia bleo extracts. Int. J. Pharm., 2009, 5(1), 71-75.
Pinto, N.C.C.; Santos, R.C.; Machado, D.C.; Florêncio, J.R.; Fagundes, E.M.Z.; Antinarelli, L.M.R.; Coimbra, E.S.; Ri-beiro, A.; Scio, E. Cytotoxic and antioxidant activity of Pereskia aculeata Miller. Pharm. On., 2012, 3, 6369.
Sousa, R.M.F.; Lira, C.S.; Rodrigues, A.O.; Morais, S.A.L.; Queiroz, C.R.A.A.; Chang, R.; Aquino, F.J.T.; Muñoz, R.A.A.; Oliveira, A. Atividade antioxidante de extratos de folhas de ora-pronóbis (Pereskia aculeata Mill.) usando métodos espectrofotométricos e voltamétricos in vitro. Biosci. J., 2014, 30(1), 448-457.
Diplock, A.T.; Charleux, J.L.; Crozier-Willi, G.; Kok, F.J.; Rice-Evans, C.; Roberfroid, M.; Stahl, W.; Viña-Ribes, J. Functional food science and defence against reactive oxidative species. Br. J. Nutr., 1998, 80(S1)(Suppl. 1), S77-S112.
[] [PMID: 9849355]
Philip, K.; Malek, S.N.A.; Sani, W.; Shin, S.K.; Kumar, S.; Lai, H.S.; Serm, L.G.; Rahman, S.N.S.A. Antimicrobial ac-tivity of some medicinal plants from Malaysia. Am. J. Appl. Sci., 2009, 6(8), 1613-1617.
Uyub, A.M.; Nwachukwu, I.N.; Azlan, A.A.; Fariza, S.S. In-vitro antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity of selected me-dicinal plant extracts from Penang Island Malaysia on metro-nidazole-resistant Helicobacter pylori and some path. Ethnobot. Res. Appl., 2010, 8, 95-106.
Carvalho, E.G.; Soares, C.P.; Blau, L.; Menegon, R.F.; Joaquim, W.M. Wound healing properties and mucilage con-tent of Pereskia aculeata from different substrates. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn., 2014, 24, 677-682.
Nurestri, A.M.S.; Sim, K.S.; Norhanom, A.W. Phytochemi-cal and cytotoxic investigations of Pereskia grandifolia Haw (Cactaceae) leaves. J. Biol. Sci., 2009, 9(5), 488-493.
Malek, S.N.A.; Shin, S.K.; Wahab, N.A.; Yaacob, H. Cytotoxic components of Pereskia bleo (Kunth) DC. (Cactaceae) leaves. Molecules, 2009, 14(5), 1713-1724.
[] [PMID: 19471192]
Malek, S.N.A.; Wahab, N.A.; Yaacob, H.; Shin, S.K.; Lai, H.S.; Serm, L.G. Rahman, 60. S.N.S.A. Cytotoxic activity of Pereskia bleo (Cactaceae) against selected human cell lines. Int. J. Canc. Res., 2008, 4(1), 20-27.
Maciel, V.; Yoshida, C.; Boesch, C.; Goycoolea, F.; Car-valho, R. Iron uptake by Caco-2 cells from a Brazilian natural plant ex-tract loaded into chitosan/pectin nano- and micro- particles. Proc. Nut. Soc., 2018. 77(OCE2), E45.
Kazama, C.C.; Uchida, D.T.; Canzi, K.N.; de Souza, P.; Crestani, S.; Gasparotto, A., Jr; Laverde, A., Jr Involvement of arginine-vasopressin in the diuretic and hypotensive effects of Pereskia grandifolia Haw. (Cactaceae). J. Ethnopharmacol., 2012, 144(1), 86-93.
[] [PMID: 22960548]
Abdul-Wahab, I.R.; Guilhon, C.C.; Fernandes, P.D.; Boylan, F. Anti-nociceptive activity of Pereskia bleo Kunth. (Cactaceae) leaves extracts. J. Ethnopharmacol., 2012, 144(3), 741-746.
[] [PMID: 23099251]
Guilhon, C.C.; Wahab, I.R.A.; Boylan, F.; Fernandes, P.D. Evaluation of antinociceptive activity of Pereskia bleo Kunth. Planta Med., 2012, 78(11), 1098.
Pinto, Nde. C.; Duque, A.P.N.; Pacheco, N.R.; Mendes, Rde.F.; Motta, E.V.; Bellozi, P.M.Q.; Ribeiro, A.; Salvador, M.J.; Scio, E. Pereskia aculeata: A plant food with antinociceptive activity. Pharm. Biol., 2015, 53(12), 1780-1785.
[] [PMID: 26084799]
Agostini-Costa, T.S.; Wondracek, D.C.; Rocha, W.S.; Silva, D.B. Carotenoids profile and total polyphenols in fruits of Pereskia aculeata Miller. Rev. Bras. Frutic., 2012, 34(1), 234-238.
Agostini-Costa, T.S.; Pêssoa, G.K.A.; Silva, D.B.; Gomes, I.S.; Silva, J.P. Carotenoid composition of berries and leaves from a Cactaceae – Pereskia sp. J. Funct. Foods, 2014, 11, 178-184.
Farago, P.V.; Takeda, I.J.M.; Budel, J.M.; Duarte, M.R. Análise morfo-anatômica de folhas de Pereskia grandifolia Haw. Cactaceae. Lat. Am. J. Pharm., 2004, 23(3), 323-327.
Cruz, G.L. Dicionário das plantas úteis do Brasil, 5th ed.; Bertrand Brasil: Rio de Janeiro, . 1995.
Moran, V.C.; Zimmermann, H.G. Biological control of cac-tus weeds of minor importance in South Africa. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 1991, 37, 37-55.
Murilo, E.; Meléndez-Matínez, A.J.; Portugal, F. Screening of vegetables and fruits from Panama for rich sources of lute-in and zeaxanthin. Food Chem., 2010, 122(1), 167-172.
Thornfeldt, C. Cosmeceuticals containing herbs: fact, fiction, and future. Dermatol. Surg., 2005, 31(7 Pt 2), 873-880.
[] [PMID: 16029681]
Aburjai, T.; Natsheh, F.M. Plants used in cosmetics. Phytother. Res., 2003, 17(9), 987-1000.
[] [PMID: 14595575]
Krishnan, P. The scientific study of herbal wound healing therapies: Current state of play. Curr. Anaesth. Crit. Care, 2006, 17(1-2), 21-27.
Sartor, C.F.P.; Amaral, V.; Guimarães, H.E.T.; Barros, K.N.; Felipe, D.F.; Cortez, L.E.R.; Veltrini, V.C. Study of the healing action of Pereskia aculeata leaves. Rev. Saúde Pesqui., 2010, 3(2), 149-154.
Pinto, N.C.C.; Cassini-Vieira, P.; Souza-Fagundes, E.M.; Barcelos, L.S.; Castañon, M.C.M.N.; Scio, E. Pereskia aculeata Miller leaves accelerate excisional wound healing in mice. J. Ethnopharmacol., 2016, 194, 131-136.
[] [PMID: 27599609]
Sobrinho, S.S.; Costa, L.L.; Gonçalves, C.A.A.; Campagnol, P.C.B. Emulsified cooked sausages enriched with flour from ora-pro-nobis leaves (Pereskia aculeata Miller). Int. Food Res. J., 2015, 22(1), 318-323.
Amaral, T.N.; Junqueira, L.A.; Prado, M.E.T.; Cirillo, M.A.; Abreu, L.R.; Costa, F.F.; Resende, J.V. Blends of Pereskia aculeata Miller mucilage, guar gum, and gum Arabic added to fermented milk beverages. Food Hydrocoll., 2018, 79, 331-342.
Martinevski, C.S.; Oliveira, V.R.; Rios, A.O.; Flores, S.H.; Venzke, J.G. Utilização de bertalha (Anrederacordifolia(ten.) Steenis) e ora-pro-nobis (Pereskia aculeata Mill.) na elabo-ração de pães. Aliment. Nutr., 2013, 24(3), 1-6.
Rocha, D.R.C.; Pereira, G.A. Junior; Vieira, G.; Pantoja, L.; Santos, A.S.; Pinto, N.A.D. Macarrão adicionado de ora-pro-nobis (Pereskia aculeata Miller) desidratado. Alim. Nut., 2008, 19(4), 459-465.
Zem, L.B.; Helm, C.V.; Henriques, G.S.; Cabrini, D.A.; Zuffellato-Ribas, K.C. Pereskia aculeata: biological analysis on wistar rats. Food Sci. Technol., 2017, 37(1), 42-47.
Prajapati, V.D.; Jani, G.K.; Moradiya, N.G.; Randeria, N.P. Pharmaceutical applications of various natural gums, mucilages and their modified forms. Carbohydr. Polym., 2013, 92(2), 1685-1699.
[] [PMID: 23399207]
Sierakowski, M.R.; Gorin, P.A.J.; Reicher, F.; Corrêa, J.B.C. Location of O-acetyl groups in the hetero-polysaccharide of the cactus Pereskia aculeata. Carbohydr. Res., 1990, 201(2), 277-284.
Silva, K.C.G.; Amaral, T.N.; Junqueira, L.A.; Leite, N.O.; Resende, J.V. Adsorption of protein on activated carbon used in the filtration of mucilage derived from Pereskia acu-leata Miller. S. Afr. J. Chem. Eng., 2017, 23, 42-49.
Barbalho, S.M.; Guiguer, E.L.; Marinelli, P.S.; do Santos Bueno, P.C.; Pescinini-Salzedas, L.M.; Dos Santos, M.C.; Oshiiwa, M.; Mendes, C.G.; de Menezes, M.L.; Nicolau, C.C.; Otoboni, A.M.; de Alvares Goulart, R. Pereskia aculeata Miller flour: metabolic effects and composition. J. Med. Food, 2016, 19(9), 890-894.
[] [PMID: 27583638]
Velikov, K.P. Colloidal emulsions and particles as micronu-trient and nutraceutical delivery systems.Functional Foods - Concept to Product, 2nd ed; Saarela, M., Ed.; Woodhead Publishing, 2011, pp. 319-391.
Omwenga, E.O.; Hensel, A.; Shitandi, A.; Goycoolea, F.M. Chitosan nanoencapsulation of flavonoids enhances their quorum sensing and biofilm formation inhibitory activities against an E.coli Top 10 biosensor. Colloids Surf. B Biointerfaces, 2018, 164, 125-133.
[] [PMID: 29413589]
Qin, X.; Kräft, T.; Goycoolea, F.M. Chitosan encapsulation modulates the effect of trans-cinnamaldehyde on AHL-regulated quorum sensing activity. Colloids Surf. B Biointerfaces, 2018.

Rights & Permissions Print Export Cite as
© 2022 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy