Used for weak, irregular heart action, tachycardia, palpitations, aortic regurgitation, and angina.
Mechanism of Action
The amines in night-blooming cactus are credited with cardiotonic effects. The amino acid tyramine is found in the plant and credited with a positive ionotropic action.1 Selicereus can stimulate the heart and dilate peripheral vessels.2 The flowers contain betacyanins and flavonolglycosides, at least eight flavonoids, tyramine (0.3% in dry matter), and hordenine.
There have been no clinical trials or modern scientific investigations on night-blooming cactus as yet. Case reports may be found by Dr. AO Jones from 1890.
Safety in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There are no investigations published regarding the use of night-blooming cactus in pregnancy or lactation.
The plant is considered safe when used in small doses in the traditional manner. Mouse data report the LD50 to be 10,700 mg/kg body weight orally and 145 mg/kg body weight subcutaneously.5,3
Low doses of night-blooming cactus, 10–100 mg QD to BID are clinically effective.
Cereus or Cactus grandiflorus (now classified as Selenicereus grandifloras) is a folkloric medicine used as a heart tonic for blood pressure regulation and the management of the symptoms of congestive heart failure.4,5 Night-blooming cactus is specific for weak, irregular heart action; aortic regurgitation; and angina, especially when associated with depression and lethargy. The early American folkloric notion was that night-blooming cactus was a restorative remedy for the heart, capable of improving function via nutritional and tonic effects.
1 Planta Med. 1982;44(1):36–40. New cardioactive drugs II, detection and isolation of cardiotonic amines with ionpair-HPLC. Wagner H, Grevel J.
2 PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc.; 1998. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C.
3 Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products. 1999. EMEA/MRL/601/99-Final April. Selenicereus grandiflorus summary report. European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, Veterinary Medicines Evaluation Unit.
4 Minerva Med. 1955;46(103):1975–6. A new drug compound with Cereus grandiflorus Mill., a Mexican cactus with cardiotonic action. ROBIOLA PF.
5 Br Med J. 1890;1(1515):70–1. Cactus Grandiflorus in Some Forms of Heart Disease. Jones AO.