Lesser Celandine - Best Herb for Health

Lesser Celandine

Ranunculus fica ria or Ranunculus bulbosus Ranunculaceae Also called Pilewort


This perennial plant carpets woodland floors, grassy banks and meadows throughout Europe. Its gleaming green leaves are heartshaped and held on long stalks, which encase the main stem. The roots are long and swollen and the plant's brilliant yellow flowers bloom in spring. The plant has long been a remedy for haemorrhoids, which has given rise to its alternative name of pilewort.


Parts used

  • Whole plant
  • Lesser celandine is uprooted in spring when in full bloom and then dried in a shady place.
  • The dried herb is used in pharmaceutical creams, ointments and suppositories.

Constituents

The lesser celandine is rich in heterosides belonging to the saponin group, which are known to constrict blood vessels. The main saponin is protoanemonin, an irritant but thought to be the active ingredient. The plant also contains essential oil, tannins and vitamin C.


Medicinal uses

The astringent and soothing properties of lesser celandine indicate its use, externally, as a treatment for piles in which bleeding may be present. A paper published in photochemistry in 1984 attributed the anti-hemorrhoid properties of lesser celandine to its saponin constituents. The plant has also been used externally to treat itching, inflamed skin and warts.


No part of the plant should be taken internally; this is due to the protoanemonin it contains, which is a severe irritant.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For external use


TO TREAT haemorrhoids CREAMS, OINTMENTS OR SUPPOSITORIES (containing 3% extract) Apply twice a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


CAUTIONS

  • Like many members of its family, lesser celandine can irritate the skin and mere contact with the fresh plant can cause blisters. It is rendered less toxic when dried, but medical herbalists now restrict its use to external applications only.
  • Excessive use is not recommended.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid lesser celandine.

Cultivation

Plant in moist, neutral to alkaline soil in sun or shade in a wild part of the garden, as it is invasive.



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