“The dose makes the poison.” This adage of Paracelsus, while true even for water or oxygen, is to be taken seriously especially when dealing with plants such as cyclamen. This is a plant traditionally used by some people for treating whooping cough, headaches or sinusitis, and confirmed to have antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties by certain scientific studies. But at the same time it is known to have serious side effects when overdosed, sometimes the poisoning being even fatal.
Extracts from various cyclamen species have been proven to contain triterpene saponins, some of which showed cytotoxic activity when tested against certain cancer cells (in Cyclamen trocopteranthum and Cyclamen persicum, for example, the citotoxic activity was weak to moderate, while in Cyclamen hederifolium it was completely absent).
There are also studies that demonstrate the antioxidant activity of, for example, Cyclamen mirabile and Cyclamen graecum and Cyclamen africanum (three studies published in African Journal of Biotechnology in 2011, in Journal of The Chemical Society of Pakistan in 2013, and in Advances in Environmental Biology in 2014, respectively) or the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of Cyclamen repandum (a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2007).
Cyclamen was also proven to be effective in the treatment of acute rhinosinusitis by two studies published in 2012, one in Laryngoscope, the other in Rhinology. In fact, there is even a nasal spray marketed as a fast sinusitis relief that is based on cyclamen extract.
Uses and administration
- Liver disease, asthenia, insomnia
Infusion: Add 1 teaspoon of mashed dried cyclamen tuber in 500 ml of hot boiled water and let steep for 3 hours. Take 1 tablespoon, 3 times a day, after a meal.
Tincture: Add 1 g of mashed dried cyclamen tuber in 10 ml of alcohol 70% and let the mixture macerate for 21 days. Take 30-40 drops in a glass of water, 3-4 times a day.
Grate a few fresh tubers and then squeeze the mass using a cheesecloth. Dilute the obtained juice with water and alcohol (for 1 part of juice add 1 part of alcohol and 2 parts of water). Put 1 drop into each nostril.
- Pulmonary disease
Grate a few fresh tubers and then squeeze the mass using a cheesecloth. Dilute the obtained juice with water (for 1 part of juice add 3 parts of water). Take 1 tablespoon, 2 times a day, before a meal, for 2 months.
- Nervous emotional states
- Rheumatism, gout, neuralgia
- Enlarged spleen
Cyclamen is unsafe in doses higher than 300 mg. Usual symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. In cases of severe poisoning, it causes cold sweats, spasmodic movements and breathing problems that can result in death.