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New Latin Creus, genus name, from Latin creus, candle (from its shape), from cra, wax; see cerate
1607, from L. cactus "cardoon," from Gk. kaktos, name of a type of prickly plant of Sicily (the Spanish artichoke). Modern meaning is 18c., because Linnaeus gave the name to a group of plants he thought were related to this but are not.
Other Names: Cereus grandiflorus. Cactus selenicereus. Selenicus grandiflorus.
Common Names: Night blooming cereus.
Homeopathic preparation: Tincture of the flowers and young twigs. (Allen Encyclopedia).
N.O. Subclass: Caryophylilidae; Order: Caryophylilales ; Family: Cactaceae or Cactus Family
see cereus bonplandii
Provings: Allen: Cyclopoedia, V. 2, V. 10. Cyclop. Drug Path., V. 1. Hering: Guid. Symptoms, V. 3. Hale: New Rem., 2d ed. Macfarlan: High Pot. Provings.
Burt: West. Hom. Obs., V. 3, p. 239.
Barnes: Am. Hom. Obs., V. 3, p. 78.
Clark: U. S. Med. Inv., V. 9, p. 345.
Fitch: Med. Eclectic., V. 1, p. 190.
Hencke: A. H. Z., V. 86, p. 173.
Lembke: Neue Zeit. Hom., Klinik, V. 12, 2. N. Am. Jl. Hom., V. 15, p. 533.
Lippe: Cactus grand. Phila., 1865. (Trans. of Rubini.)
Macfarlan: Hom. Phys., V. 12, p. 284.
McGeorge: Hahn. Mo., V. 11, p. 509.
Rubini: Patogenia di Cactus, Naples, 1864. A. H. Z., V. 69, pp. 151, 158, 167, 175, 183: V. 70, p. 151. Brit. Jl. Hom., V. 22, p. 529. N. E. Med. Gaz., V. 21, p. 405. Am. Hom. Obs., V. 2, p. 142. Am. Hom. Rev., V. 5, pp. 413, 360, 499. Propagador Hom., Mexico., V. 2, p. 37.
Description of the substance
Selenicereus grandiflorus is a cactus species originating from the Antilles. The species is commonly referred to as nightblooming cereus, queen of the night (though these two term ared also used for other species), large-flowered cactus, sweet-scented cactus or vanilla cactus.
The night-blooming cereus has branching stems about 1/2 inch wide with 5-8 edges. Its flowers are white, up to 30 centimetres in diameter and have a scent redolent of vanilla. The flowers are sometimes said to be among the most beautiful flowers in existence. The flowers open after sundown, closing and wasting after a few hours.
As an ornamental houseplant the night-blooming cereus is not easy to take care for and therefore it is the pride of every cactus enthusiast whose plant bears flowers. Selenicereus species were often crossed with species from the genus Epiphyllum to produce more durable houseplants with nice big flowers.
The plant is used in homeopathy, and is also assumed to be an aphrodisiac.
Other common names include Organillo, Sweet-scented cactus and Vanilla cactus. Synonyms include Selenicereus kunthianus, Cereus grandiflorus, Selenicereus kunthianus, Selenicereus hallensis and Cactus grandiflorus.
---Description---A fleshy, creeping, rooting shrub, stems cylindrical, with five or six not very prominent angles, branching armed with clusters of small spines, in radiated forms. Flowers, terminal and lateral from the clusters of spines, very large 8 to 12 inches in diameter, expanding in the evening and only lasting for about six hours, exhaling a delicious vanilla-like perfume. Petals are white, spreading, shorter than the sepals, which are linear, lanceolate, outside brown, inside yellow. Fruit ovate, covered with scaly tubercles, fleshy and of a lovely orange-red colour, seeds very small and acid. The flower only lasts in bloom about six hours and does not revive- when withered, the ovary enlarges, becomes pulpy and forms an acid juicy fruit, something like a gooseberry. The plant was brought to the notice of the medical profession by Dr. Scheile but it aroused little interest till a homoeopathic doctor of Naples, R. Rubini, used it as a specific in heart disease. The flowers and young stems should be collected in July and a tincture made from them whilst fresh. The plant contains a milky acrid juice.
---Constituents---No special analysis seems yet to have been made; the chief constituents are resins, the presence of the alleged alkaloid cactine not having been confirmed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic Sedative, Cardiac. Cereus has been used as a cardiac stimulant and as a partial substitute for digitalis. In large doses it produces gastric irritation, slight delirium, hallucinations and general mental confusion. It is said to greatly increase the renal secretion. It does not appear to weaken the nervous system. It has a decided action on the heart and frequently gives prompt relief in functional or organic disease. It has been found of some service in haemoptysis, dropsy and incipient apoplexy.