What is Cantharis? (with pictures)

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Cantharis is an herb remedy for various medicines and homeopathy treatments. It is made from the Lytta vesicatoria beetle found in southern Spain, Asia, and France. The insect and the treatment are most commonly known as Spanish fly.

Cantharis is made from the Lytta vesicatoria beetle.
Cantharis is made from the Lytta vesicatoria beetle.

Severe cystitis can be treated with cantharis. Urinary tract infections and most other conditions resulting in burning pain can also be relieved with the insect remedy. These can include burning foot pain, scalding diarrhea, colitis, shingles, sore throat, and hand rashes. Even some stings, burns, and blisters can be cured by the remedy.

Digestive tract issues have been known to be healed with Spanish fly. This is particularly effective in conditions that result in a distended abdomen. Appetite loss, loss of the desire to drink, difficulty swallowing, and fluid retention can be reversed through its use as well. It may also be effective in treating warts, baldness, and inflammation.

Cantharis may be used to treat shingles.
Cantharis may be used to treat shingles.

Traditionally, the homeopathic medicine was used as an aphrodisiac to increase sexual desire. It is also used, however, to curb excessive sexual desire. Other mental and emotional states it has been used to ease include screaming, restlessness, violent irritability, insolence, fits of rage, and severe anxiety. Lower abdominal and back pain can also be treated with Spanish fly.

A sore throat may be treated with cantharis.
A sore throat may be treated with cantharis.

This remedy is available as a powder, liquid, and as a pill. The highly potent tincture of cantharis is available only by a doctor's prescription. Prepared from the entire beetle body, it may also be combined with other herbs, such as sepia, belladonna, phosphorus, sulphur homeopathic, and mercurius.

Spanish fly should not be used if undiluted. Both use of an undiluted formula and overuse can lead to toxicity. Some side effects can include diarrhea, vomiting of blood, abdominal cramps, stomach and throat pain, kidney damage, and convulsions. In severe cases coma or death can result. A physician should be consulted prior to using the remedy.

Blisters may be treated with cantharis.
Blisters may be treated with cantharis.

Blister beetle is another name for Spanish fly. Cantharis may also be known as N.O. Insecta, coleoptera, or cantharis vesicator. In traditional homeopathic medicine, healers collect the bright green cantharis beetles from their honeysuckle and olive trees at daybreak. This is to capture them while sluggish in order to avoid a possible struggle with the caustic insect.

They are then heated within the steam of boiling vinegar until they die. After this, they are crushed. Finally they are mixed with milk sugar in the trituration process to dilute their toxicity, and to make them suitable for human use.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for TheHealthBoard and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for TheHealthBoard and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

rebelgurl28

While I definitely feel that homeopathic remedies are useful, cantharis is a homeopathic medicine that I have not used.

Even with a professional’s help, (which I agree is vital when considering homeopathic remedies) cantharis and pulsatilla (which can also be very toxic) are two that I am very wary of trying.

jonpurdin

Several websites advertise the cantharis homeopathic remedy, in fact, homeopathic remedies can be found all over the Internet.

It is good for people to learn about alternative medicine, but they really need to be careful and to consult a professional.

As the article indicates, some of these remedies are very powerful and many have undesirable side effects, especially if you are not cautious.

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    • Cantharis is made from the Lytta vesicatoria beetle.
      Cantharis is made from the Lytta vesicatoria beetle.
    • Cantharis may be used to treat shingles.
      Cantharis may be used to treat shingles.
    • A sore throat may be treated with cantharis.
      A sore throat may be treated with cantharis.
    • Blisters may be treated with cantharis.
      Blisters may be treated with cantharis.
    • Cantharis may be used to treat diarrhea problems.
      Cantharis may be used to treat diarrhea problems.
    • Cantharis may be used to reduce excessive sexual desire.
      Cantharis may be used to reduce excessive sexual desire.
    • Cantharis may be used to ease irritability and anxiety.
      Cantharis may be used to ease irritability and anxiety.