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Cyclamen by Vanessa Armstrong

Late summer, I was gifted a plant from my friend Rachel’s garden. Her beautiful garden is always a ‘work in progress’ as she makes room for more lovely colourful flowers by juggling with the ones that self seed and multiply. The said plant was a Dicentra and I planted it in my garden. I knew that it wouldn’t do much now, at this time of year, but hoped that I would see the start of a new plant next late spring perhaps..

I was surprised, however, to see new leaves sprout up in its place, but not Dicentra leaves. I waited a couple of weeks to see if I could work out what these dark green ivy shaped leaves belonged to and discovered that it is a cyclamen. I’m rather hoping it will flower as it seems quite settled and happy where it is, but we shall see…

Cyclamen is a perennial flowering plant and has 23 different species. It is a plant which belongs to the Primulaceae family which also makes it a close relative of the Primrose. Cyclamens are native to European countries and some parts of the Mediterranean. The name ‘cyclamen’ is from Medieval Latin ‘cyclaminos’ and also from Ancient Greek ‘kyklaminos’ meaning ‘circle’ – which is probably a reference to the tuber shape from which it grows.

It is also known as Sowbread, Spring Sowbread or Stag Truffle.

The leaves tend to sprout from the tuber in autumn, followed by the flowers which are either white, red, pink or purple in colour. It withstands our winters very well but once spring is in the air, it will lie dormant as its not a fan of the summer sun, although this does depend on which species it is.

It was quite interesting to learn about the healing benefits of cyclamen.

Today it is not really used as a medicinal herb, but it was used quite a bit in the past. The root of the plant was used as it was the most powerful part but it did carry dangerous side effects, which is why it isn’t used today.

Ailments treated by this plant included gout, snakebite, eye disease, tinnitus and as a laxative. Its was also used to help bring on labour to a pregnant woman.

The fact that it was also used as a poison applied to arrows in Ancient Rome makes it a plant not to be used lightly! It is NOT a plant that should be taken internally as it contains a toxin called Saponin Cyclamin.

Cyclamen has some lovely magical attributes. It is a feminine plant, associated with the element of water and the planets Mars and Venus and is sacred to Hecate.

Cyclamen has a lovely feel good energy to it, so is perfect for any magical workings to do with happiness and positivity. Love spells is also on the list but it can also be used to persuade – nicely – a person to go away.

It’s a flower to have around for handfastings because of the ‘love’ connection and can also be given as a houseplant to the newlyweds to promote fertility and libido – ooh-la-la!! The dried powdered root can be used in spells to help build confidence and self esteem. Kept in the bedroom, it will also keep away negativity and nightmares.

The colours of the cyclamen could also be tied in with your intents using colour magic – red for passion, pink for love and friendship and white for purification and cleansing.

References: Wikipedia Witchipedia Rachel Patterson – A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Plants & Herbs

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