The cactus flower is deemed to be helpful in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) therapy, although there is no published information regarding its clinical effect in patients and on the mechanism of its biological activity. The present study evaluated the ability of cactus flower extracts to exert an effect on BPH through possible inhibition of such processes as lipid peroxidation, androgen aromatization and testosterone reduction. Cactus flower extracts indeed inhibited aromatase and 5alpha reductase activity in cultured foreskin fibroblasts, and also in human placental and prostatic homogenates. The inhibitory activity in both instances was associated with the dichloromethane or ethanol (methanol) extracts, while a marked antioxidative activity was associated with the aqueous extract. The finding that cactus flower extracts interfere concurrently in vitro with aromatase and reductase activity as well as with free radical processes suggests that these substances may prove beneficial in BPH treatment.