Greater Celandine – Majus de Celandonium
Greater Celandine is a native to Europe. It has been used medicinally for centuries. It is a very good example of how the ‘Doctrine of Signatures’ was interpreted: the plant, when cut or bruised, exudes a yellow/orange sap (latex) and because of the colour of the liquid it was considered to be good for the liver and gall bladder. Well, in this case, it happens to be right.
It is a perennial, 30-90 cm high. The stems are slightly hairy and branched. The leaves are pinnate, hairy or glabrous, with 5-7 ovate or oblong leaflets, 30 cm long, wavy-edged or toothed; the underneath of the leaves are blue-green. The flowers have 4 petals. In Provence, they are in flower just now.
The plant is not edible, but has a long medicinal history. The dried or fresh leaves, stalks, roots and latex are used. In herbal and homeopathic medicine, Greater Celandine is used to treat liver and gall-bladder problems, specifically, inflammation of the gall bladder and biliary duct. In addition, it is used to treat jaundice, hepatitis, gout and rheumatism. This plant should only be used internally under supervision of trained herbal or homeopathic specialists. In large doses it is poisonous.
The sap (latex) has been used as a home remedy to treat warts and corns. It has proved to be quite successful. Simply squeeze the latex on to the wart or corn once a day and let it dry.
Bibliography: Herbs and Herbalism – Malcolm Stuart; Kruidenleer Deel 1 – Chris Raes; Greater Celandine – Wikipedia; RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and their uses- Deni Bown