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What is Cyclamen Europaeum?

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  • Written By: Angela Williams Duea
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Cyclamen europaeum, also known as ivy-leafed cyclamen, sowbread, groundbread, and swinebread, is a member of the Primulaceae family. This plant grows in temperate areas in central Europe and North America, especially in woodland areas and shady, moist gardens. The plant is also grown indoors and is prized for its oval variegated or veined leaves and bright pastel flowers with backward-folding petals. In homeopathic medicine, the tuberous corms are said to cure many complaints, including vision problems, stomach upset, menstrual problems, anxiety, and nervousness.

In the garden, this plant can be rather tricky to grow, but the beautiful leaves and flowers make them popular plants. Cyclamen europaeum can grow in a variety of climates, in a wide range of temperatures from 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius) to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius). It grows best in light, loamy dirt, but will thrive as long as it is placed in shady areas where the soil is neither waterlogged nor too sandy and dry. The corm and roots of cyclamen europaeum are subject to rot and mildew in overly moist soil, and indoors, the leaves will droop and turn yellow if placed in a dark room.

Cyclamen europaeum is sometimes used in homeopathic medicine; both heat-distilled plant extracts and dried, powdered corms are used. Supplements in pill and powder form are available from online providers and homeopathic practitioners. Making a home herbal remedy of the plant is not recommended due to possible toxicity.

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Homeopathic medicine operates on the principle of “like cures like,” or that an herb that causes specific complaints can cure the same complaint if used in small doses. This herb, in large quantities, can produce vision problems, stomach upset, and menstrual trouble. Thus, in homeopathic medicine, tiny diluted amounts of the plant are sometimes suggested as an herbal supplement to cure the same eye, stomach, anxiety, and uterine problems they cause in large doses.

This plant was called sowbread, groundbread, and swinebread because the foliage was once used as fodder for pigs. However, the corms and roots can be toxic in large amounts, causing violent vomiting and diarrhea. Gardeners should take care to keep children and animals from digging them up and eating them. The advice of a reputable homeopathic practitioner should be followed carefully if using Cyclamen europaeum as a home herbal remedy.

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