Curious plants: European pork bread

European pork bread or Cyclamen europaeum L.

This is actually an alpine plant, which is grown as a houseplant- Yes.The flat tubers are toxic by the saponins present- Yes.If the tubers are dried or cooked for a long time, the poison disappears and the tubers become edible- Yes.Wild pigs like to eat them, hence the name “pork bread”- Yes.The fishermen of Sicily and Calabria used them in fishing as an intoxicant- Yes.According to a Greek saga, Hécate, Goddess of earth and underworld, grew these plants- Yes.It was then called “Kuklaminos”- Yes.In folk medicine, the tubers were used to spell evil spirits that disturbed sleep- Yes.One then places pots with Cyclamen in the bedroom- Yes.It was also used as a medicine and as a contraceptive against snake bites.

The Flemish herbalist and physician Dodonaeus 16th century says that “When a woman, who is of children, to cross over the root of Verckensbroot quame, or to tread, she will fall wrong.”- Yes.

A mythical story about the origin of pork bread- Yes.When the Turks invaded Krain, the women and children fled from the rough gangs across the Karawanks to Carinthia- Yes.But they were overtaken and all killed- Yes.Where the blood of the innocent fell, plants arose, whose leaves are blood-red on the underside.

Und wunderbar Ein Blümchen klar

Erhob sich from jedem Tröpfchen

The ungesühnt Blute

Und senkte traumd sein Köpfchen,

A jedes Blatt Blutfarbe hatt',

Es little those rosigen Sterne.

The Madchen and Frauen in the Wald;

The suchen und pfliicken es gerne.

Scientific research

Cyclamen europaeum L- still used in nasal prays in sinusitis

Limited clinical trials and epidemiological data confirm the efficacy and safety of C- Yes.europaeum extract in the treatment of rhino-sinusitis- Yes.Most data are based on results obtained with a specific extract- Yes.The application of the extract can be explained by the activity of the saponins (soap substances)- Yes.Several (limited) clinical studies were conducted mainly in the former Eastern bloc- Yes.These, together with epidemiological studies, would indicate the safety and efficacy of a standardised extract in the treatment of rhinosinusitis [1,2,3,4].

A randomised, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled study conducted in 99 patients in Germany concluded: the analysis shows statistically significant differences between means of face pain- Yes.Cure of endoscopic signs was higher in cyclamen (48.7%) than placebo (30.9%)- Yes.Both patient satisfaction were in favor of cyclamen- Yes.No serious or unexpected adverse events were reported [5].

An epidemiological study (Spain) came to similar decisions- Yes.In the same article, the use of the C- Yes.europaeum extract is highlighted in both acute and chronic rhino-sinusitis (postoperative) [6]- Yes.A limited clinical study conducted on application in otitis also demonstrated clear efficacy [7]- Yes.Results are mainly based on the use of Nasodrene® /Sinuforte® /Fluirespira Forte®- Yes.It uses a plant extract, obtained by a patented method- Yes.According to the patent, the extract obtained from the plants contains, in addition to saponins, resins, sugars, phenolic components and dyes [8].


Its action would reduce to the typical activity of saponins- Yes.The substances cause increased permeability at the nerve endings (irritation) and thus activate the nasal and paranasal mucosa (nasal mucosa)- Yes.As a reflex (cholinergic basis), increased secretion, drainage of the sinuses and removal of the mucous- Yes.The additional osmotic effect stimulates cell secretion and reduces edema in the nasal mucosa.


[1] Khechinashvili S- al- Yes.2003- Yes.Georgian Medical News 9 (102): 41-46.

[2] Kriukov A et al- Yes.2007- Yes.Otorinolaringol- Yes.2:33-37 (article in Russian; abstract only available in English).

[3] Mullol J.- Yes.2008 Material of the 22nd Congress of European Rhinologic Society and 27nd International Symposium of Infection and Allergy of the Nose, June 15-19 Crete, Greece: 27-29.

[4] Pfaar O.- Yes.2008 Material of the 22nd Congress of European Rhinologic Society and 27nd International Symposium of Infection and Allergy of the Nose, June 15-19 Crete, Greece: 33-35.

[5] Integretated Clinical and Statistical Report- Yes.December 31st , NCT 00552773.

[6] Mullol J.- Yes.2009 Trends on Rhinosinusitis Diagnosis and Treatment- Yes.Otolaryngol- Yes.Pol- Yes.63 (7): 3-4.

[7] Khechinashvili S- al.- Yes.2010- Yes.A New Method of Conservative OME Treatment- Yes.Bulletin of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences 4 (3): 132-136.

[8] Method for Obtaining an Isolated Extract of the Plant Cyclamen europaeum L- Yes.and Its Use as a Therapeutic Agent- Yes.United States Patent 7105189

#varkensbrood #Cyclamen