Cantharis; Uses, Dosage, Site Effects, Interactions

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Cantharis vesicatoria (blister beetle) is used in Chinese medicine and has been categorized as highly toxic in the Chinese pharmacopeia. In Europe, Cantharis patches have been used since ages to treat various skin-related diseases. We investigated the cytotoxicity of the Cantharis ingredient, cantharidin, in 41 tumor cell lines (Oncotest panel) and compared the results with those of 60 cell lines of the National Cancer Institute, USA.

Cantharis is a homeopathic remedy that contains a toxic substance called cantharidin from the insect Lytta vesicatoria, commonly known as the Spanish fly or blister beetle. People use cantharis topically to heal burns and blisters, and orally to treat bladder inflammation (cystitis). Although homeopathic remedies are greatly diluted and generally not associated with side effects, high concentrations of cantharis are poisonous. People should only buy cantharis from a reputable homeopathic practitioner and should not use higher-strength concentrations than those provided in the standard homeopathic remedy.

Uses / Indications of 

Bright lights or reflective surfaces such as mirrors irritate, and coffee worsens the symptoms. Cantharis vesicatoria (Canth.) has also been used for types of mania.

  • Intense bladder or urethral inflammation (cystitis or urethritis).
  • Violent burning pain in the bladder with constant and intense urging.
  • Urine passes in drops and feels like scalding water.
  • Cystitis with free blood or large clots in the urine.
  • Increased sexual desire during inflammation of the bladder or urethra
  • Excessive sexual desire that can’t be satisfied.
  • Burning thirst with an aversion to drinking.
  • Burning and bloodstained diarrhea, especially if accompanied by bladder inflammation.
  • Burning gastritis or peritonitis.
  • Skin burns with intense pain.
  • Burning and itching blisters.
  • Anger and irritability from intense burning or cutting pains.
  • Violent behavior from burning and cutting pains.
  • Historically, Cantharis has been used to treat intense states of violent mania.
  • Bladder inflammation combined with meningitis/encephalitis which results in mania.
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Dosage of Cantharis

  • Adult and children 2 years of age and older - Dissolve 5 pellets under the tongue 3 times a day until relieved or as directed by a doctor.
  • Adults and children - Dissolve 5 pellets in the mouth 3 times a day until relieved or as directed by a doctor



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