Conscience is a just but a weak judge.
Weakness leaves it powerless to execute its judgement.
Cyclamen europaeum. Cyclamen purpurascens. Sowbread. N.O. Primulaceae.
CLASSIFICATION Cyclamen belongs to the Primulaceae, a family of about 28 genera of perennial or annual herbs. The widespread Primrose family is concentrated in north temperate regions. The majority favour cool, moist root conditions and will not succeed in intense heat or strong sunshine. Cyclamen, Anagallis, and Primula are among the Primulaceae species used in homoeopathy. Members of the Primrose family are typically short-day plants. They must have a light period shorter than a critical length, while in long-day plants, such as Hyoscyamus, the light period has to be longer. Primulaceae therefore flower in early spring or fall, with the summer as a dormancy period.
ECONOMIC USES The Primulaceae is mainly of ornamental importance. Many species are cultivated for their attractive flowers either as house pot plants, in rock gardens or in garden borders. Some possess medicinal properties: the common cyclamen [Cyclamen europaeum] contains the poisonous glycoside cyclamin; Anagallis arvensis was once an important medicinal plant and contains a poisonous glycoside similar to saponin; Lysimachia vulgaris yields a yellow dye and also has reputed uses as a fever reducing agent.
GENUS The genus Cyclamen comprises about 15 species of perennial herbs with large, rounded corms or tubers, heart- or kidney-shaped, silvery mottled leaves, and nodding flowers that bear 5 strongly reflexed petals.
FEATURES Cyclamens have no stem above ground, the leaves grow from the base of the plant. The flowers are white, red, purple, pink, rose, or salmon. Native to climates where it rains in the winter and is dry in the summer, the leaves grow throughout winter and spring and die down in summer. The summer is its dormancy period, during which the soil has to be dry. The plant dislikes warm winters and disturbance. Too warm temperatures can make the plant leggy or cause the leaves to fade in pattern. Cyclamens native to Britain are said to be often found in graveyards sheltering at the foot of headstones. Most gardeners think of Cyclamen as delicate indoor plants, but they occur naturally in poor soils and rock crevices in Europe and the Mediterranean. Cyclamen are hardy and will survive temperatures down to minus 20o F if covered by snow. Fertilization seems to take place without the aid of any insect pollinators as the unique design of the pendulous flowers are such that the anthers surround the protruding stigma and there is nowhere else for the pollen to go. The plant is very slow in developing from seed into bloom; this will take it about 15 months! Florist’s Cyclamens, highly appreciated for their white to deep red flowers, are usually hybrids of C. persicum. Cyclamen are poisonous to cats and fish. In Italy crumbled corms have served the same purpose as fishberries [Anamirta cocculus] in Asia: thrown in the water they stupefy fish and make them easy to catch. [Cyclamen contains saponins. Saponins in any form are always toxic to fish and cold-blooded creatures; they provide the basis for many fish poisons harmless to humans.1]
OCCURRENCE Except for Spain and Egypt Cyclamen are known to occur in all countries with a Mediterranean coastline. They are also represented in Switzerland, Austria, Bulgaria, Asia Minor and NW Iran, with their greatest concentration in Greece and its islands, Italy and [former] Yugoslavia. Some are hardy in N Europe [including Britain] and temperate North America but others are tender or need cool greenhouse treatment. Growing these in an alpine house or frame with frost just excluded is a popular method in Britain, although the small hardy sorts are often colonized in light shade beneath trees or in garden pockets. Some of the latter, notably Cyclamen hederifolium [C. neapolitanum], live to a great age [more than a century], making large round tubers carrying hundreds of flowers in early autumn. The flowers resemble miniature swans poised for flight. 2
NAME The name Cyclamen is a contraction of Gr. kyklaminos, from Gr. kyklos, circular. This alludes to the circle at the tip of the flower, to the round shape of the corm, and to the coiled stem of the seed vessel. Its popular name Sowbread comes from the fact that the corms are regarded as a favourite food for swine, e.g. in the South of France, Sicily, and Italy. It is claimed that a diet of cyclamen corms adds particular flavour to the pork products of the Perigord area. Medieval names for the plant include malum terrae, earth-apple, fel terrae, earth-gall, and panis porcinus, swine bread. It owes its German name, Alpenveilchen, literally ‘alpine violet’, to its subtle violet-like fragrance. Commercially grown Cyclamen have lost their natural scent.
CONSTITUENTS Cyclamen contains a poisonous glycoside, cyclamin, which causes gastritis, enteritis, cramps, haemolysis, stupor and paralysis. Cyclamin is also present in Anagallis, another member of the Primrose family.
SEED DISPERSAL There are three major mechanisms of seed dispersal in plants: wind-borne, water-borne, and animal-borne. Plants with bulbs, corms, or tubers generally rely on vegetative propagation. The method adopted by Cyclamen resembles that of the peanut [Arachis]. After fertilization has taken place, the peanut bends its stalk downward and buries the developing fruit several centimetres into the ground. Cyclamen utilizes a similar mechanism, albeit with a less penetrating result. It bends its stem down in a spiral movement and presses the five-valved capsule onto the soil. After the capsule has burst open, the numerous small seeds either germinate on the spot or are distributed by ants attracted by the seeds’ fleshy endosperm. Ants frequently drag the seeds off to crevices, one of the natural habitats of Cyclamen. Germination takes a month or two, but seems to be triggered by cold weather.
MEDICINE Cyclamen had many medicinal uses during the first few centuries AD. Dioscorides, a Greek military surgeon and naturalist of the first century, devoted a whole chapter to the plant in his De Materia Medica. According to him, pregnant women will abort if they walk over Cyclamen, but if they wear it on themselves, it will speed up delivery. A decoction can be drunk to counteract any kind of poison, but especially the sea air. Taken with wine, it makes one drunk. The juice of the root can be absorbed through the nose to purge the head. Applied with honey to the eyes, it is good for cataracts and eye weakness. The boiled-down juice of the root cleanses the skin from blemishes and boils. As a plaster, it heals wounds and sunburns, and helps against baldness. Many centuries later Gerard in his Herbal says – “it is reported to me by men of good credit, that Cyclamen or Sow-bread groweth upon the mountains of Wales; on the hills of Lincolnshire and in Somerset-Shire. Being beaten and made up into trochisches, or little flat cakes, it is reputed to be a good amorous medicine to make one love, if it be inwardly taken”. The Arabians employed the root under the name of Arthanita as one of the ingredients of a purgative ointment for rubbing in. This, according to Hahnemann, brought it the “unmerited reputation of a drastic purgative medicine, which it is far from being.” The ointment was rubbed on the umbilicus of children and on the abdomen of adults to cause emesis and upon the region over the bladder to increase urinary discharge.
SKIN Most members of the Primrose family yield saponins and have irritant properties. This is strongest in Primula and Anagallis, and less so in Cyclamen. Leaves of Anagallis can cause dermatitis in persons working in fields and forests. It has been estimated that 6% of individuals are sensitive and develop dermatitis when handling the flowers or leaves. Primula dermatitis is quite common and is, with an incidence of 8% among florists, particularly caused by Primula obconica. Responsible for the dermatitis is the saponin primin. Rook and Wilson  made a detailed study of the clinical features of Primula obconica in a series of 25 patients – 24 females and one male. The sites principally involved were the face, particularly round the mouth and on the eyelids, which were often red and swollen, the neck, arms and hands. Rarely, patches occurred on the ears, thighs, buttocks, or ankles. The affected areas itched, burned, and appeared red, often oedematous, and frequently blistered. A distinctive pattern was often seen, particularly on the arms and forearms, consisting of blotches and linear streaks. This appearance is very characteristic of plant dermatitis, and in Britain is nearly always due to contact with a primula. In addition, the damp pollen of P. obconica is allergenic and can cause dermatitis not only from contact but also by being in its vicinity without any direct contact. Although not considered to be strongly allergenic, some Cyclamen species have produced positive patch test reactions. 3 The homoeopathic provings evoked in 11 persons itching of skin, without eruption, and in 4 persons dry or moist eruptions.
FOLKLORE In flower language Cyclamen represents lack of self-confidence – in allusion, no doubt, to its nodding flowers with bent-back outer petals. The ‘blood-drop’ in the heart of the flower is connected to the sorrow that pierced the heart of the Virgin Mary; whence the use of the flowers to remove grief of the heart. The sorrow bleeding in Mary’s heart gave rise to the common name bleeding nun. Along with mandrake, deadly nightshade and aconite, Cyclamen was dedicated to the Greek goddess Hecate, literally ‘the distant one’ and goddess of the dark hours. When grown in the bedroom, Cyclamen is said to protect the sleeper, and where grown, no noxious spells can have effect.
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 5 provers; method: unknown.
••  Hampe [Austrian proving] – 12 provers [8 males, 4 females], 1856; method: daily increasing doses of tincture, or increasing doses of 1st dil. for a couple of days.
••  Lembke – self-experimentation; method: tincture in doses increasing from 10 drops to 60 drops, observed over a period of 3 months.
The Austrian proving also relates the clinical experiments on 18 hospitalized girls recovering from treatment for gonorrhoea, condylomata, or abrasions of vagina. All of them were treated with the tincture; one girl received the 1st dil. “They had mostly some derangement of menstrual function, but were otherwise well,” says Hughes.
 Mills, The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine.  Perry, Flowers of the World.  Schmidt, Botanical Dermatological Database [website].
FEMALE GENITALIA. Cerebro-spinal axis. Vision. Blood. Digestive tract.
* Left side. Right side.
Worse: Cold. Evening. Fresh air. Sitting. Fat food; pork, butter. At night in bed. Being overheated. Exertion. Standing. Before menses.
Better: MOTION. During menses. Weeping. Open air [coryza]. Walking about [pain in heels]. Indoors; warm room. Rubbing parts. Cold water [headache].
M Chilly Puls. [similarity mainly on physical level and generalities] with mental picture resembling Nat-m. and Aur.
M Ailments from suppressed grief; terrors of conscience.
M SELF-REPROACH [delusion she has neglected duty] and desire for solitude.
• “Tendency to paint an even darker picture of the situation, adopting a guilt-ridden ‘mea culpa’ attitude.” [Grandgeorge]
• “Was only content when she could seclude herself and sit down and weep. Thinks she is alone in the world and persecuted by everyone.” [Kent]
• “Cyclamen would like to have a perfect, unstained earthly life. Instead, there is always a defect somewhere that ruins everything. Cyclamen then paints an even darker picture, and so adds to the existing imperfections. … Cyclamen adults have a notable taste for black humour, mocking sad incidents in the most cynical manner.” [Grandgeorge]
• “Preoccupied with themselves. Cyclamen types truly believe that the world depends on them. The Cyclamen patient will in some way be slavishly and conscientiously dedicated typically to either his family, his work, or an individual in his life.”1
Silent weeping. [e.g. children who blame themselves for the divorce of their parents.]
M Sadness > menses.
M Alternating moods.
Joyous feeling alternating with irritability.
Serenity changes suddenly into seriousness or peevishness.
Great flow of ideas alternates with weak memory.
• “Pale, chlorotic, with deranged menses, and accompanied by vertigo, headache and dim vision” [Allen]
G GREAT TIREDNESS, esp. in MORNING.
Sleeps unusually long in the morning.
More tired in morning on waking than when going to bed the evening before.
G Aversion to OPEN AIR [reverse of Puls.], yet < becoming HEATED. • “Sensation as if the room was too small, but reluctant to go into the open air.” [Tyler] Sensitive to cold, and cold air. But: coryza and sneezing > open air.
c Deborah Collins describes two cases where “there was a spontaneously reported desire for open air, which is opposite to the well-known characteristic aversion to open air in the literature on Cyclamen.”2
G Aversion and aggravation FAT.
Craves acid drinks and salted fish.
G More or less thirstless.
[But less marked than in Pulsatilla.]
G > MOTION, > walking.
• “They cannot think. They are better when aroused and forced to exercise, something like Helonias. When they get up in the morning they feel so heavy and languid that they feel as though they could scarcely go through the day’s duties, but when they once get to work they go on tolerably well until night time.” [Farrington]
• “Only when he is excited his head becomes somewhat clearer, and he behaves like a person wakened up from sleep, having only half understood what has happened about him.” [Hahnemann]
G > TOUCH.
• “Two women patients presented a side of Cyclamen I was not familiar with; hyperventilation, anxiety about health, fear of suddenly dying. … Both women scarcely dared to leave the house for fear of panic attacks, fear of fainting, or worse falling down dead on the spot. During a panic attack they would both become dizzy and the vision would blur. One woman complained of seeing ‘shiny tadpoles’, the other of seeing flashes, coloured spots. … On walking outside ‘everything seemed to wobble’, and there was a desire to hold something for support. A slight touch was enough for reassurance, for instance touching walls occasionally while walking outside, causing them to circle a town square instead of going across. Whereas dizziness and blurred vision could come on by walking unsupported outside, it could be especially alleviated by the slight touch of the partner walking beside them. It seemed as though this was enough to ‘ground’ them.”3
G < While sitting. < Standing. G Feels better during menses [Lach., Zinc.]. G Vertigo and DIM VISION. P VISUAL DISTURBANCES. Diplopia, convergent strabismus, dim vision, flickering, glittering, black spots, sparks, stars, glittering needles. Before and DURING semilateral headache [< L.]; may be connected with menstrual or gastric disorders. P Sneezing and itching in ears. Nasal catarrh and loss of taste and smell. • “These individuals are often allergic to cats, even though they love cats above all else. Feline saliva and hair contain potent allergens that may provoke inflammations of the nasal mucous membranes [rhinitis] and asthma.” [Grandgeorge] P Food tastes too salty; saliva has salty taste. P Hiccough during pregnancy; and yawning. P Diarrhoea < coffee. P MENSES excessive, early, dark or changeable; clotted; less if in motion. Rhees, however, claims the cure of “nine cases of suppressed or scanty menses”, and of “eighteen cases of other diseases attended by vertigo or headache, in which scanty menstruation was also present.” He says that “Cyclamen has proved very efficacious with blond, leucophlegmatic subjects in whom, besides retarded, suppressed or scanty menstruation, or complete chlorosis existed.”4 P Milk in breasts AFTER menses, in non-pregnant women. Or swelling of breasts AFTER menses. P Menstrual disorders in puberty; and acne.  Logan, Cyclamen; Journal of Amer. Inst. of Hom., Dec. 1991. [2-3] Collins, Cyclamen; HL 3/95.  Rhees, Cyclamen europaeum, and its clinical effects; The American Hom. Review, Oct. 1859. Rubrics Mind Activity, alternating with dulness [1/1]. Children are attached to the father [1/1]. Brooding, over imaginary grief [1/1], over imaginary troubles . Aversion to company, feels better when alone . Confusion, > excitement ; as to his identity, sense of duality ; > washing face . Conscientious about trifles . Delusions, being alone in the world , he had committed a crime , being doomed , he has neglected his duty , room is too small , he has done wrong . Dulness, > working [1/1]. Forsaken feeling . Aversion to going out . Irritability, on waking . Mental symptoms during menses, > copious flow [1/1]. Occupation > . Reproaches himself .
As if descending a hill [1*]. Motion > .
Pain, > cold applications , after emotional excitement , from fat food , from excessive joy , > touch , > vomiting , > walking .
Pupils alternately dilated and contracted, connected with respiration, occurring only after each in- or expiration [1/1*]. Swelling, lids, during menses .
Acute, for colours at a great distance [1/1*]. Luminous balls [1/1]. Circles, about light . Dim, during headache , during menses , during vertigo , on waking [3; Puls.]. Diplopia, in morning [1; Gels.]. Flames, on waking at night in bed [1/1]. Flickering, morning, with headache [3/1], in morning on rising [3; Carb-v.; Nat-p.], while reading . Glittering objects, needles [3/1]. Hemiopia, right half lost . Sparks, before headache .
Hiccough, while reading aloud [1/1]. Nausea, after sweets . Pain, > motion .
Diarrhoea, after coffee , after pork .
Menses, daytime only , morning and daytime , night only ; increase, while sitting [1; Mag-m.]; < lying ; > motion ; cease during the pain [2/1].
Sensation as from dust .
Difficult, as from dust .
As from dust .
Sensation of air streaming from nipples [1/1]. Sensation of something alive, heart [1/1]. Milk, complaints after weaning . Swelling, mammae, after menses [1/1].
Pain, > throwing shoulders backward [1/1]; cervical region, > bending head backward .
Prolonged, in morning , with amenorrhoea [2/1].
Money, gold [2; Puls.].
Itching, > menses [1/1], on becoming warm in bed .
* Repertory additions [Hughes].
Aversion: : Beer; bread; bread and butter; butter; fats and rich food; meat. : Cold food; pork.
Desire: : Sardines; strange things. : Lemonade; meat; warm food.
Worse: : Fat; pork. : Coffee; butter. : Bread and butter; rich food.
Better: : Lemonade [= sour drinks].