Greater Celandine

Greater celandine

Chelidonium majus Papaveraceae


Colonising hedgerows, waste ground and damp areas such as ditches, the greater celandine bears small yellow flowers from April to July. The whole plant is covered in fine bristly hairs. If you snap the stalk or root it exudes dark orange sap.


Medicinal uses

In traditional Asian medicine, greater celandine is used to calm the nervous system. The sap has long been a country remedy for wart removal. Today, the herb tends to be prescribed for liver problems.


The herb's antispasmodic action can ease spasms in the upper digestive tract and other digestive disorders, and is also helpful in the treatment of coughs and asthma.


Greater celandine acts against bacteria and viruses. And in 2002 Korean scientists reported that it may also be an anticancer agent.


In vitro studies in Germany in 1996 suggest that greater celandine could have a role to play in treating illnesses of the nervous system. The plant has mild analgesic and sedative qualities and can be used to ease rheumatic pain.


Parts used

  • Whole plant including root
  • The plant is dug up and dried when in flower.
  • Greater celandine is rarely used as an infusion on its own, but is blended with other plants such as dandelion or turmeric.
  • Dry extract of greater celandine is made into capsules.
  • The orange sap is used fresh.

Constituents

This plant's active compounds are alkaloids. The main one in the plant as a whole is protopine, an antispasmodic. The root also contains chelidonine, another antispasmodic alkaloid that also lowers blood pressure. In addition, greater celandine contains organic acids and carotenoids.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


Greater celandine preparations should only be taken internally in consultation with a qualified medical herbalist


For external use


TO TREAT skins conditions such as warts, ringworm and eczema FRESH SAP Apply to the affected area one to three times a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Greater celandine likes moist soil and tolerates sun and shade. Do not plant in gardens used by children or cultivate for home use.


CAUTIONS

  • Greater celandine is poisonous in large amounts and can cause nausea and dysentery: only take this herb under professional supervision.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid this herb.
  • Avoid if you have low blood pressure.
  • Do not give to children.
  • Limit use to two weeks at a time.


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