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Chelidonium majusChelidonium majus (Papaveraceae)

GREATER CELANDINE, COMMON CELANDINE

 

The whole herb, from its delicate bright-yellow flowers to its pale-green leaves, is used by homeopaths and herbalists, East and West, for a wide range of conditions from jaundice to bronchitis.

 

An ancient liver remedy mentioned in many of the great herbals, celandine is named after the Greek for swallows because it starts flowering when they arrive and stops when they leave. It is native to Europe but has been introduced throughout the temperate world. A perennial, it has deeply cut, pale-green leaves that are thin and hairy, and a stem that oozes rich orange latex if cut or broken. Small clusters of delicate bright-yellow flowers are produced all summer, followed by thin pods.

 

PARTS USED

Whole herb.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Alkaloids, including berberine, chelamine, and chelidonine; saponins; choline.

 

ACTIONS

Increases the flow of bile; increases urine production; reduces muscle tension and spasm.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given internally for jaundice, gallstones, and gallbladder disease. Applied externally for eczema, verrucas, and warts. It has also been used to remove cataracts. Used in homeopathy (Chelidonium) for nervous headache, nausea, and vomiting. Chinese physicians prescribe it as a painkiller, cough suppressant, and anti-inflammatory for bronchitis and whooping cough.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture, homeopathic remedies.

 

CAUTION

Only use under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

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