Popular names: queen of the night, snake cactus.
Parts Used: Young stems and flowers.
Pharmacy name: cactus – Cactus.
Botanical description.The homeland of cacti is almost exclusively America, mainly the deserts and semi-deserts of Mexico, Cuba and the south of the United States, as well as Jamaica. In tropical America, the queen of the night is not only found in the wild, but also widely cultivated. It owes its name to the fact that it opens flowers only once a year at 9-10 pm, in order to permanently close them at 2-3 am. With the help of aerial roots, this plant climbs rocks and walls, where it branches profusely, giving rather thin, often curved lateral branches with 4-8 longitudinal ribs. Flowers, with a strong smell of vanilla, are 18-25 cm long and, opening, reach a diameter of 15-27 cm; outside they are brown-yellow, and inside – light yellow and white. The petals surround a bunch of threadlike anthers. The ribs of the stems are covered with bundles of 6-8 long (up to 2 mm) spines,
Collection and preparation. Homeopathy uses in Germany huge amounts of this pharmaceutical raw material, for which the large-flowered cactus is even grown in greenhouses, since the homeopathic initial tincture must be prepared from freshly picked stems and flowers. However, in official medicine, when preparing extracts, imported material is also used, which is carefully examined beforehand, since often prickly pear (Opuntia vulgaris Miu) is supplied instead of the queen of the night. The active substances of the cactus are still so little studied that no exact data can be given. An alkaloid has been reported, one heart-acting substance has been identified as a glycoside, all kinds of resins have been found, but it is always noted that the action of the cactus seems to be due to the totality of the components.
Healing action and application. The raw material itself in the form of tea has no use, however, a number of finished products for activating blood circulation and sparing treatment of mild cardiac arrhythmias contain a common extract from a cactus. The use of this medicinal plant has more than a century of history. It was introduced into the practice of Rubini, who published the work “The action of the large-flowered cactus” (Naples, 1864). There are many reports from clinical practice confirming the beneficial effect of the queen of the night in angina pectoris. However, its effectiveness in case of weakness of the heart muscle and all kinds of interruptions in the work of the heart, especially with extrasystole, is questioned.
Use in homeopathy. Homeopathic remedy Cactus is very popular for weakness of the heart muscle, heart neurosis, pressure in the heart and angina pectoris. In addition, Cactus is tried to be used in digestive disorders with flatulence and spasmodic pains, also in painful menstruation. The most common forms of a homeopathic remedy are D 1 and D 1 dilutions and the original tincture.
Side effects of this homeopathic remedy are unknown.