Health benefits of Greater Celandine

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Health benefits of Greater celandine

Greater celandine Quick Facts
Name: Greater celandine
Scientific Name: Chelidonium majus
Origin Deciduous woods of Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America
Shapes Long, cylindrical capsule that is 2-5 cm long
Taste Hot and Bitter
Health benefits Improves Digestion and good for Anxiety and Sleeping Problems
Chelidonium majus, commonly known as greater Celandine, Swallow Wort, wartwort, yellow spit, St John’s wort, Jacob’s ladder, garden calendine, calendine poppy, felonwort and wart wort is a herbaceous perennial plant, the only species in the genus Chelidonium. The plant is native to Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America. 

Greater celandine belongs to the poppy family while the lesser celandine belongs to the buttercup family. Genus name comes from the Greek word chelidon meaning a swallow as it flowered when the swallows arrived. Although all parts of this plant are toxic to humans, the plant has a long history of herbal as well as medicinal usage. It was once supposed to be an effective remedy for wart removal, resulting in the acquisition of common names such as wartweed and swallowwart.

Plant Description

Greater Celandine is an herbaceous perennial plant growing about 30 to 120 cm tall. The plant is found growing in rubble, damp ground, banks, hedgerows, waste places, thickets, roadsides, dry woods and nearly always close to human habitations. The plant prefers a rich soil of a woodland nature and succeeds in any soil other than boggy conditions. The plant has thick and fleshy roots along with weak, slender, round and slightly hairy stem that grows from 1 1/2 to 3 feet high and is much branched; at the points where the branches are given off.


Leaves are alternate, deeply lobed and pinnately-divided with lobed and wavy-edged margins, up to 30 cm long. When injured, the plant exudes a yellow to orange latex. This juice stains the hands strongly and has a persistent and nauseous taste and a strong, disagreeable smell.

Flower & Fruit

Flowers consist of four yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, with two sepals. A double-flowered variety occurs naturally. Inflorescence is small, umbel-like clusters. Flowering normally takes place from April to October. Flowers are followed by long, cylindrical capsule that is 2-5 cm long that split open when ripe to release small, glabrous and black colored seeds.

Health benefits of Greater Celandine

Greater celandine has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions. Today, it is still used to deal with an impressive number of complaints. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of using greater Celandine

1. Anti-Cancer

Greater celandine is one of many plants that have been investigated for their anti-cancer potential and early signs are promising. There is some proof that when greater celandine is introduced into patients with several types of cancer that it can improve survival rates. Several researches have showed that taking greater celandine orally may have an anti-tumor effect on patients with cancer of the esophagus.

However, it should be stated here that the studies have come under criticism because of their poor design. While the results have been promising, until more rigorous testing is conducted, we will not know for sure how effective the plant may be against cancer.

2. Liver protection and gall bladder Health

Due to its depurative properties, Greater celandine can be used to purify and cleanse the liver. It can be used as an effective part of a detoxification program because of its ability to eliminate waste and toxins out of the system. It has natural liver protective properties which not only help to support proper liver health and function but also protect the liver from cellular damage.

It may also help to encourage the gallbladder and keep the organ working properly. Problems with the gallbladder are known to cause numerous other issues like indigestion. Greater celandine is known to help stimulate the production and the flow of pancreatic enzymes and bile which in turn helps prevent inflammation, infection and diseases like hepatitis.

3. For Anxiety and Sleeping Problems

Greater celandine can be used as a mild sedative and anti-anxiety treatment. It has narcotic properties and thus should not be taken in large doses. In smaller doses, it can be used to ease anxiety and tension and because of its analgesic ability, might help relieve pain. A combination of these properties means that it may be suitable for people having trouble sleeping.

4. Improves Digestion

Greater celandine is useful when it comes to treating digestive issues that result in cramping, bloating or feelings of nausea. This herbal extract can help relieve cramping and ease indigestion. It helps the body to produce more bile and other digestive enzymes responsible for effective digestion and can even be used to naturally deal with stomach ulcers.

While there is no scientific proof to back it up, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence accessible to suggest that greater celandine can be used to deal with irritable bowel syndrome and other chronic inflammatory conditions of the stomach.

5. Helps Disinfect Wounds

When used topically, greater celandine is a wonderful microbe zapper. This is exactly why the herb is used traditionally for disinfecting minor wounds and burns for so many years now. Killing off bacteria in the presence of a break in the skin is important for keeping an infection from striking.

6. Heals Skin Problems

Topical use of greater celandine can help to eliminate warts, which are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV. The herb has antiviral properties, too! Traditional healers also use greater celandine for the treatment of various chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

7. Tonsillitis

Traditionally, herbalists and naturopathic doctors have used herbs in the form of tinctures, or alcohol extracts. Chelidonium administered by mouth as a tincture has demonstrated immune-boosting properties in children with chronic tonsillitis. However, occasional reports of liver toxicity from Chelidonium are a concern. Additional research into the safety and efficacy of this herb are needed.

8. For Eczema

Juice of the plant has been used traditionally to treat a range of skin conditions and recent preliminary research has confirmed that it may well be effective against atopic dermatitis. They concluded that the plant had the potential to treat atopic dermatitis however it is not known whether the herb would have a similar effect on humans.

9. Immune System

Greater celandine is capable of fighting off bacteria, viruses and fungi; it can be used to help defend the body against those invading disease-causing microbes. In other words, greater celandine may be used to help strengthen a person’s immune system.

10. Shoulder and Neck Pain

Chelidonium is often used for aching shoulders, along with chilliness in muscles and the tips of the fingers that ache when touched. In some cases, shoulder pain may have a relation to nausea, vomiting, and sweating. It is also used for right shoulder, wrist, arm, neck, and inner shoulder blade pain. The remedy will both treat and cure all symptoms related to shoulder pain.

11. Headaches

Chelidonium is a powerful homeopathic remedy for headaches. In this case, the person will experience numbness of the face, heaviness on the right side of the head, and neuralgia, particularly in the area above the eyes. The person will also often have a yellow coating on their tongue that also has teeth marks.

It is also worthy to note that the person’s symptoms may be related to an existing liver condition. Symptoms will improve from putting pressure on the affected area and bending backwards.

12. Pneumonia

Chelidonium is often used for pneumonia when the person experiences breathlessness and pain when breathing deeply or coughing—common features of pneumonia. Pneumonia will mainly affect the right lung, and the condition may also be accompanied with liver disorders. Other pneumonia symptoms include teeth-chattering chills, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fever, and tiredness.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Celandine

  • Warts: Apply the fresh juice with a cotton ball 2-3 times a day. (The juice is toxic and may blister the skin. So dab no more than 2 to 3 warts at a time.)
  • Gastroparesis: Take equal amount of wild candytuft, Angelica root, Milk Thistle fruit, liquorice root, Peppermint, Chamomile flower, Chelidonium majus and Lemon balm leaves. Grind them together and take one tsp powder with Luke warm water once a day. OR Prepare a decoction of above given herbs. Drink half cup twice a day.

Traditional uses and benefits of Greater celandine

  • Greater celandine has a long history of herbal use.
  • Traditionally it was used as an ophthalmic to treat and clear the eyesight whilst in modern herbal medicine it is used more as a mild sedative, antispasmodic and detoxifying herb, relaxing the muscles of the bronchial tubes, intestines and other organs.
  • The latex is much used externally to treat warts.
  • Leaves and the sap are acrid, alterative, anodyne, antispasmodic, caustic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, hydrogogue, narcotic, purgative.
  • They are used in the treatment of bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, jaundice, gallstones and gallbladder pains.
  • Plant has anticancer properties and is analgesic.
  • It is an important component of a stomach ulcer drug.
  • Orange-colored, acrid juice is commonly used fresh as an external treatment to get rid of warts, ringworm and corns.
  • It has been used to remove films from the cornea of the eye.
  • Alkaloid found in plant has antispasmodic and sedative effects on the bile ducts and bronchi.
  • It is used in jaundice, eczema, scrofulous diseases, etc.,
  • The infusion is a cordial and greatly promotes perspiration.
  • Decoction of the herb along with few aniseeds in wine has been held to increase its efficacy in removing obstructions of the liver and gall.
  • Along with milk, it is employed as an eye-lotion, to remove the white, opaque spots on the cornea.
  • Mixed with sulphur, it was formerly used to cure the itch.
  • An ointment made of the roots and lard boiled together, also of the leaves and flowers, has been used with advantage for piles.
  • It is still used in Suffolk as a fomentation for toothache.
  • It is widely used as a blood cleanser and remedy for excessive bleeding.
  • It is used to treat cataract and blind spot on the Cornea of Eye.
  • It is beneficial for those suffering from headache. It alleviates the feeling of heaviness on a particular side.
  • It is beneficial to prevent constriction of chest.
  • It is good remedy for curing Hepatitis and prevents the enlargement of liver and pain associated with it.
  • It is effective in curing gallstones and conquers severe pain and enhances the flow of bile in the gallbladder.
  • It combats menstrual problems and cures issues of late menses and heavy bleeding.
  • Root has been chewed to relieve toothache.
  • Chelidonium majus has traditionally been used for treatment of various inflammatory diseases including atopic dermatitis.
  • It is also traditionally used in the treatment of gallstones and dyspepsia.
  • It may also prove to be effective in treating AIDS patients.

Other Facts

  • Whole plant thrives in a bright, orange-colored juice, which is emitted freely wherever the stems or leaves are broken.
  • Juice stains the hands strongly and has a persistent and nauseous taste and a strong, disagreeable smell.
  • It has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the US.


  • The whole plant is poisonous.
  • It is of very low toxicity and this is greatly reduced by drying the plant.
  • Stem juice is highly irritating and allergenic, it may cause paralysis.
  • Large doses cause breathing problems, sleepiness, skin irritation, respiratory tract irritation, violent coughing and dyspnoea.
  • It also stains the urine bright yellow and may cause ulcers.
  • May cause burning sensation in the mouth, nausea and vomiting.
  • Avoid contact with eyes. Direct contact may cause irritation to Mucuos membrane.
  • Concerns of liver toxicity so avoid in those with liver disease.
  • Not recommended during pregnancy and for children under 12.
  • Caution should be employed, especially when the plant is used internally however, because it contains toxic alkaloids.
  • Plant has an abundant acrid bright-orange sap that stains the skin strongly and is powerfully irritant.
  • Avoid celandine if you are suffering from Diarrhea.
  • Use cautiously in patients undergoing radiation therapy, as Ukrain may have a radio protective effect.






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