Cereus grandiflorus (L)
Synonyms: Selenicereus grandiflorus (Britt. & Rose), sweet-scented cactus, vanilla cactus, large-flowered cactus, queen of the night, reina de la noche
Description: This fleshy, creeping shrub with cylindrical branching stems, has clusters of small spines in radiated forms. Terminal and lateral flowers up to 30cm in diameter emerge from the clusters of spines, expanding in the evening and lasting for about 6 hours; they are vanilla scented. The petals are white and spreading, shorter than the sepals which are linear, lanceolate, brown outside and yellow inside. The ovate fruit is covered with scaly tubercles, orange-red, with small acid seeds. The plant contains a milky acrid juice. It is a native of tropical America, the West Indies, and Mexico.
Parts used: Fresh or preserved young stems, flowers
Collection: The flowers and young stems should be collected in July and a fresh tincture made.
Constituents: alkaloids (including cactine), flavonoids (based on isorhamnetin), resins
Actions: cardiac tonic , cardiac stimulant, diuretic sedative
Indications: angina pectoris
Therapeutics and Pharmacology: This herb has a reputation as a heart tonic, especially in problems related to nerves and debility. It is used in the treatment of palpitations and angina pectoris. The alkaloid cactine is reputed to have a digitalis-like activity on the heart. It is said to greatly increase renal secretion and does not appear to weaken the nervous system. It frequently gives prompt relief in functional or organic heart disease. It also has been used in haemoptysis, dropsy and incipient apoplexy.
Caution: In large doses Cereus produces gastric irritation, slight delirium, hallucinations and general mental confusion.
Preparation and Dosage: (thrice daily)
Liquid Extract BPC 1949, 0.05-0.5ml
Tincture BPC 1934, 0.1-2ml
Additional Comments: The Death Valley Shoshone called this plant 'pain in the heart', and used it to treat angina-like pains. Several groups of Native Americans use the stem to treat diabetes. The Neapolitan homeopath Rubini used Cereus as a specific in heart disease.
Grieve, M. 1931 A Modern Herbal, (ed. C.F. Leyel 1985), London.
Hoffmann, D. 1990 The New Holistic Herbal, Second Edition, Element, Shaftesbury.
Moore, M. 1989 Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.
Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Please complete the 'Subject' heading or your email will be assumed to be spam and automatically deleted. Before you contact me, I'd be grateful if you would please check to see if this website has the answer to your question (search box at the top of the homepage) - I have time to answer only a few of the many emails that arrive in my inbox every day. See also the statement below:
For your safety I am prohibited from giving specific medical advice to individuals over the internet or telephone so please do not waste your time or mine by emailing or calling me with detailed information about your health problems - I can only undertake face-to-face consultations for what should be obvious reasons. Diagnoses cannot be made remotely, and I am unable to offer any advice or treatment until I am completely satisfied that I know what I'm dealing with! The herb profiles and treatment suggestions on this website will help enable you to choose which herbs might be appropriate for minor ailments. For more serious or chronic conditions you should seek professional advice. This is particularly important if you are taking medication from your doctor or pharmacist, as some herbs can interact adversely with other drugs. If you would like to have a consultation with a medical herbalist then you should click here then scroll to 'Professional Organisations' at the bottom of the page to find a qualified practitioner in your area.
Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH
Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK
Last updated 25th June 2014 ęPurple Sage Botanicals