Cereus consists of the dried young shoots and flowers of the night-blooming cereus, Cereus grandiflorus, Miller (N.O. Cactaceae), a native of the West Indies. The flowers appear in August, and are from 15 to 20 centimetres in diameter, with fragrant, white, oblong petals, and numerous linear-acuminate, yellowish sepals. They are rarely present in the commercial drug, which may consist largely of the stem of the plant.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of cereus are resins, the presence of the alleged alkaloid cactine not having been confirmed.
Action and Uses.—Cereus has been supposed to act as a cardiac stimulant and as a partial substitute for digitalis, but it is doubtful if it is of any real value in practical medicine. It has been used in cases of dropsy and various cardiac affections, being administered in the form of liquid extract or tincture. (Note. UKians use/used dried plant preparations. Cereus, like a few other plants, is active only if tinctured fresh. -Henriette)
- Extractum Cerei Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF CEREUS. Syn.—Extractum Cacti Grandiflori Liquidum. 1 in 1.
- Dose.—½ to 6 decimils (0.05 to 0.6 milliliters) (1 to 10 minims).
- Tinctura Cerei, B.P.C.—TINCTURE OF CEREUS. Syn.—Tinctura Cacti Grandiflori. 1 in 4.
- Dose.—1 to 18 decimils (0.1 to 1.8 milliliters) (2 to 30 minims).