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Cyclamen

Botanical name:

Cyclamen. Cyclamen europaeum L. Pain de Porceau, Arthanite, Fr. Erdscheibe, Erdbrod, Schweinbrod, G. Sowbread.—This is an herbaceous, perennial, stemless plant, of the subalpine mountainous regions of Europe. Some of the species of Cyclamen are among the most popular of winter plants on account of their beautiful foliage and exquisite flowers. The corm is globular, with many branched rootlets, almost black without, and white within, inodorous, and, when fresh, of a bitter, acrid, burning taste. By drying it loses much of its acridity, and is said to be rendered edible by roasting. Hogs are said to root it up from the ground and to eat it with impunity, and hence the common name "Sow Bread." The corm is a drastic cathartic, and is used to cause abortion, but has in such cases produced fatal gastro-enteritis. Its active principle appears to be arthanitin of Saladin, the cyclamin of S. De Luca. This is a poisonous glucoside, which, when boiled with diluted acids, splits into cyclamiretin, C15H22O2, and glucose. It is white, amorphous, inodorous, and, when held a short time in the mouth, intensely acrid, extending its action even to the throat. With cold water it swells and becomes gelatinous, but is readily dissolved, and form a solution which froths like soap and water, and is coagulated by a heat of about 65.5° C. (150° F.). Alcohol dissolves it with difficulty when cold, but freely when hot; it is soluble in glycerin with the aid of heat; and is insoluble in ether, chloroform, carbon disulphide, and the essential oils. Its formula, according to an analysis by Klinger, is C20H34O10, although Robert (Chem. Ob., 1893, i, 32) makes it one of the class of saponins, and gives it the formula C20H32O10, which is the same as that of sarsaparilsaponin and smilacin. T. W. C. Martius recommends the following method of preparing it. The tubers, collected in the autumn, dried and powdered, are mixed with animal charcoal, and exhausted at a boiling heat by alcohol of 0.825; the tincture is filtered, concentrated, and set aside for six or eight weeks, when the cyclamin is deposited. This should be washed on a filter with alcohol till it passes colorless, and if the filtrate be concentrated, and set aside, it will deposit a further quantity in a few weeks. The whole is then mixed with animal charcoal and treated with boiling alcohol, which will slowly deposit the pure cyclamin on cooling. Dose, of powdered root, is said to be from twenty to forty grains (1.3-2.6 Gm.).


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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