Sow-Bread, or Cyclamen Europium, L. an exotic plant, sometimes cultivated in the gardens of the curious. There are five species of this diminutive herb, each of which produces several varieties; all bearing beautiful fragrant white, reddish, purple, or flesh-coloured flowers.
All the species of the sow-bread may be propagated by their seeds; and the respective varieties, by dividing their roots : they require a light, dry soil; and to be planted in borders of walks : in case of severe frost, the plants should be sheltered by mats.
In a fresh state, the root of the sow-bread has an extremely acrid and burning taste; but, when dried, it is almost totally divested of such property. It is recommended as an errhine ; or to be formed into cataplasms, for discussing scirrhous and scrophulous tumors.
Internally taken, it operates slowly, though with great virulence, as a. purgative ; and is apt to inflame the fauces and intestines : but, when roasted in embers, it may be eaten with safety. - In Germany, an ointment is prepared from these roots, which serves the useful purpose of relieving costiveness, when rubbed on the abdomen.
If, however, the root of the sow-bread should have been inadvertently swallowed, or eaten among other vegetables, it will be advisable either to take an immediate emetic: or, if some time hate elapsed, to drink large portions of oily and mucilaginous liquors, such as the solutions of mutton-suet in milk, of gum-arabic, salep-pow-der, and similar demulcents.