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Greater Celandine – (Chelidonium majus)

Greater Celandine

Greater Celandine is native to the Mediterranean area and Europe. It has now spread to North America. This relative of the poppy grows up to 120 cm tall and sports bright yellow flowers from May to July. The seeds attract ants, who serve to disperse the seeds. In some areas, this plant is considered aggressively invasive. Celandine is the Greek word for swallow. It is thus named because it begins to bloom when the swallows arrive, and it stops when they leave. Another theory on the name is thought to have come from the legend that swallows open up the eyes of their baby birds with a branch of celandine.

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally –Greater Celandine stimulates the production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, which will ease inflammation of the gallbladder and the biliary duct. It can also help jaundice, hepatitis, gout, eczema, arthritis, rheumatism and other similar disorders. Greater celandine is a mild sedative which has been historically used for asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. It is also used for indigestion and cholecystitis.

Externally – Greater Celandine is used to remove warts, corns and calluses. It has also been used for eye inflammations and cataracts, sprains and bruises, ringworm and psoriasis. The root has been chewed to relieve toothache.

Other Uses – The aerial parts and roots are both used from this plant. The herb is harvested while it flowers and dried. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried. Fresh rhizomes may also be used.

Parts Used

Aerial parts, roots – The aerial parts and roots are both used from Greater Celandine. The herb is harvested while it flowers and dried. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried. Fresh rhizomes may also be used.


Skin contact with the latex inside the plant can cause contact dermatitis and eye irritation. This red or yellow latex can also stain skin and fabric temporarily. The entire plant is toxic in moderate doses. Follow proper dosage instructions to avoid toxic effects. Pregnant and nursing women should never use celandine. It should never be given to children or people suffering from liver disease.

Greater Celandine should always be used under the care of a skilled practitioner. Celandine contains a narcotic, so be wary of excessive use that can cause breathing problems, gastroenteritis, sleepiness and coughing. Side effects may include liver failure, dermatitis, paralysis, erratic blood pressure, muscle spasm and heart damage. Taking the fresh plant may cause upset stomach. There are no known drug interactions with celandine.

Preparation and Dosage

The standard dose is 2 to 4 grams when making an herbal tea. For fluid extracts, 1 to 2 ml can be taken up to three times per day. For capsules, 1 capsule can be taken three times per day with meals. Be sure to drink water with the capsules.

Greater Celandine Herbal Remedies Top