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The name "Cyclamen" suggests that this plant grows in the Alps. However, this is only the case for the European cyclamen. All other species are native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. The scientific name for the European cyclamen (also called "wild cyclamen") is Cyclamen europaeum or Cyclamen purpurascens. Unless otherwise stated, the descriptions below refer to this type of cyclamen. Warning: the plant is toxic to both humans and pets.
Profile of the European cyclamen
- Scientific name: Cyclamen purpurascens, Cyclamen europaeum
- Plant family: Primrose Family (Primulaceae)
- Popular names: Erdbrot, Saubrot, Erdplatte, Cyclame, wild cyclamen
- Occurrence: Southern Alps, Eastern Alps to the Balkans
- Parts of plants used: Tuber
- application areas:
- Menstrual complaints
The tuber of cyclamen contains so-called saponins, which are vegetable glycosides. These substances can be used for medicinal purposes in small doses. However, 0.2 grams of the bulb of the violet is considered toxic and eight grams are fatal to humans.
Therapeutic amounts work
- and immunostimulating.
They also support the absorption of nutrients from the intestine.
Cyclamen - healing effects
The use of cyclamen as a medicinal herb is described in the folk medicine of the Alps. In general herbal medicine, however, it is strongly advised not to use this plant on your own, as, as mentioned above, it is poisonous. However, it is contained in some finished medicinal products and is used as a homeopathic remedy - often in the treatment of women-specific complaints.
The main areas of application for cyclamen are
- strong headache,
- Migraines associated with visual disturbances and dizziness,
- Intolerance to fatty foods,
- Gastrointestinal complaints,
- Amenorrhea (no period),
- Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding),
- Menstrual pain
- and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
In the past it was also used as a laxative.
Cyclamen are not only beautiful to look at because of their strong flower color, they also have something to tell. The Greeks used to make a tincture from the tuber or dry and pulverize the tuber. This should help with snake bites, indigestion and colds.
The Romans also knew the healing effects and used the cyclamen for snake bites and poisoning, and they sprinkled the cyclamen powder on open, oozing and suppurating wounds such as ulcers. Heart and kidneys should be supported by taking dropsy.
The Greek doctor Hippocrates (460 BC - 370 BC) used the cyclamen due to its cleansing properties for cleaning after inflammation and as a menstrual trigger. Recipes for the use of cyclamen exist in old herbal books. However, this is definitely not to be expected. As mentioned, the cyclamen is poisonous and should only be used in the form of finished drop mixtures and in homeopathic form.
The name "Saubrot"
The cyclamen got the unusual name "Saubrot" due to the fact that wild boars like to eat the tuber of the plant. The ancient Egyptians used this in pig fattening hundreds of years ago. The saponins contained stimulated the digestion of the pigs and the feed was better utilized. The pigs are apparently resistant to saponins, which can easily irritate humans. Of course, only if the tubers are fed to the animals carefully and in an appropriate amount.
Fish, on the other hand, cannot tolerate these ingredients, they develop their toxic effects here. Even the smallest amounts lead to paralysis and anesthetize them. In the past, fishermen took advantage of these effects and used the cyclamen as a poison. This made fishing the fish much easier.
Cyclamen - appearance
The wild cyclamen has long-stemmed, heart- or kidney-shaped leaves with rounded leaf lobes and leather-like character. These are evergreen, silvery spotted on the top and dark purple at the bottom. The leaves arise from a disc-like tuber (from Greek cyclos = Disc), which are rooted on the side and below. The flowers sit individually on long stems, are dark pink to purple, nodding and strongly fragrant.
The European cyclamen is the only cyclamen species that, according to its German name, is actually widespread in the Alps. Today it is at home in the Southern and Eastern Alps, right up to the Balkans. It grows wild in Germany in the Berchtesgaden Alps, on the Inn and on the Danube. All other types such as Cyclamen persicum or Cyclamen hederifolium come from the regions around the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, i.e. relatively warm areas.
The plant prefers calcareous soil in light forest areas or in shrubbery, preferably also at altitudes up to 2000 meters. The wild cyclamen is poisonous and is on the red list of endangered animals and vascular plants in Bavaria.
Cyclamen in homeopathy
The European cyclamen is mainly used in homeopathy. This is an alternative medical treatment method that represents an important alternative to conventional medicine for many people. However, it should be noted that there is as yet no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic treatment is used for sleepiness, exasperation and weariness. For this, the fresh root bulb of the Cyclamen europaeum is collected in autumn. Cyclamen is also used for a nightly cough, from which children in particular do not wake up, and a flickering in front of the eyes (possibly in different colors).
It also has its right to exist for complaints in the digestive tract such as
- salty taste,
- cramping pain,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- faster saturation
- as well as in aversion to meat.
In the field of gynecology, cyclamen is recommended for heavy, lumpy, premature menstrual bleeding with labor-like pain. The musculoskeletal system benefits from the homeopathic rubbing of the cyclamen in pain in superficial areas near the bone. In general, Cyclamen europaeum is ideal for all pain in the periosteum (periosteum). A great area of application are unbearable headaches, especially in the area of the forehead and temple, in connection with visual disturbances and circulatory problems. It also treats migraines.
Cyclamen is available in different potencies, but is often used in low potencies such as D3 or D4. "Typical" Cyclamen patients are people who are blond, pale and irritable quickly. Add to that perfectionism, poor memory and the inability to admit your own mistakes. Those affected cannot deal with their own failure and always look for the mistakes in others. Constant brooding and a great need for sleep are also part of it.
Prepared products with cyclamen
Cyclamen is often used in various finished products. Also gladly together with other plants such as tiger lily (Lilium Tigrinum), chaste tree (Agnus castus), Ignatius bean (Ignatia), iris (Iris versicolor), black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and worm herb (Spigelia). Cyclamen is especially found in mixtures that are helpful for migraines, premenstrual syndrome, symptoms during the period and menopausal conditions such as hot flashes. In addition, nasal sprays containing cyclamen are commercially available. These are mainly used for tough mucus.
In summary, although cyclamen is a poisonous plant, it can be a helpful natural remedy in the right dosage and manufacture. Only ready-made preparations from the pharmacy and homeopathic medicinal products should be used. The main areas of application for cyclamen are massive headaches, migraines and disorders in the female cycle. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Pahlow, Mannfried: The great book of medicinal plants: Healthy through the healing powers of nature, Nikol Verlag, 2013
- Boericke, William: Homeopathic Remedies and their Effects, Verlag Fundamentals and Practice, Wissenschaftlicher Autorverlag, 1995
- Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU): Botanical Garden - Cyclamen (accessed: February 10, 2020), JGU
- Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment, Health and Consumer Protection: Red List of Endangered Animals and Vascular Plants in Bavaria, 2003 (accessed: February 10, 2020), Bavarian State Government
- Jagel, Armin; Lubienski, Markus: Cyclamen persicum - Cyclamen (Primulaceae) and other cyclamen in the garden, in: Bochumer Botanischer Verein e. V. (ed.): Yearbook of the Bochum Botanical Association, Volume 9: 195-206, 2018, Bochum Botanical Association e. V.