Cereus

What other names is Cereus known by?

Cactus à Grandes Fleurs, Cactus grandiflorus, Cardon, Cereus grandiflorus, Night Blooming Cereus, Reina de la Noche, Reina de las Flores, Selenicereus, Selenicereus grandiflorus, Sweet Scented Cactus.

What is Cereus?

Cereus is an herb. People use the flower, stem, and young shoots for medicine.

Cereus is used for chest pain (angina), fluid retention associated with weak heart function (heart failure), and as a heart stimulant. Cereus is also used for bladder infections and other urinary tract problems, bleeding, and shortness of breath.

Women use it for painful or heavy menstrual periods.

Cereus is sometimes applied directly to the skin for joint pain.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Fluid retention due to heart failure.
  • Heavy menstrual pain and bleeding.
  • Urinary tract problems.
  • Bleeding.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Joint pain, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cereus for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Cereus work?

Cereus contains chemicals that can stimulate and strengthen the heart.

Are there safety concerns?

Cereus seems safe for most people, when used for conditions other than heart disease. But it's UNSAFE to use cereus for a heart condition, except under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. Don't use it on your own because effects on the heart should be monitored.

The fresh juice may cause burning of the mouth, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can cause itching and skin blisters when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cereus during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart conditions: There is some concern that cereus may harm people with existing heart conditions or interfere with heart treatment.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Cereus also seems to affect the heart. Taking cereus along with digoxin can increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take cereus if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.



Medications for depression (MAOIs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Cereus contains a chemical called tyramine. Large amounts of tyramine can cause high blood pressure. But the body naturally breaks down tyramine to get rid of it. This usually prevents the tyramine from causing high blood pressure. Some medications used for depression stop the body from breaking down tyramine. This can cause there to be too much tyramine and lead to dangerously high blood pressure.

Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Dosing considerations for Cereus.

The appropriate dose of cereus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cereus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011

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