Greater Celandine- Chelidonium Majus

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This Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) monograph is an excerpt from the first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details about this e-book are here.

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Greater Celandine - Chelidonium majus in the Papaveraceae or Poppy family

Part used: Entire fresh plant was used in the past but please see contraindications. It should only be used by health care practitioners who are trained to use it. Historical use is listed below.

Taste/smell: Bitter, acrid.

Tendencies: Cooling.

Dosage: Due to evidence of Celandine causing adverse liver/gallbladder reactions, it may not be the best choice for internal use except in one drop doses for homeopathic/energetic effects. See contraindications. The latex can also be placed on warts for external use. 1:1 fresh liquid extract: 1-2 drops 1-3 times per day

Mental picture and specific indications: The mental picture is one of general lethargy. There is a tendency towards anxiety, and ailments brought on or renewed by weather changes. It is specific for conditions of a bilious nature.

Use: (a) Cholagogue, (b) Choleretic, (c) Hepatoprotective, 57, 267 (d) Antibacterial, (e) Weak analgesic, (f) Anti-inflammatory, (g) Weak central nervous system sedative, (h) Antispasmodic, 257, 279 (i) Stimulates digestive enzymes, (j) Astringent (k) Cholagogue, (l) Choleretic (m) Escharotic, (n) Eases digestive disturbances. 371

The spasmolytic effect is specific for bile ducts and bronchi and disappears with prolonged storage of the dried herb. It is indicated for disease of the liver, gallbladder and spleen where there is cramping. Greater celandine causes the liver to secrete a less viscous and more profuse bile and prevents formation of biliary calculi. It is useful for headaches, including migraines due to bilious complaints that usually present with pain around the right scapula extending up into the back of the neck, behind the right ear and over the head and around the area of the right eye. The latex from the plant can be used to dissolve warts.

Contraindications: Do not use during pregnancy due to the alkaloids, chelidonine, sparteine, protopine, chelerythrine and berberine.  Animal studies have shown these alkaloids to be uterine stimulants. There have been some cases of celandine inducing cholestatic hepatitis. Recently sanguinarine, coptisine, and chelerythrine have been identified as hepatotoxc constituents in Greater celandine. I would recommend that there are other herbs that can be used rather than celandine for internal use. If you decide to use it, watch lab values for liver enzyme levels. This has never been a herb to use over long periods of time or in large amounts any way.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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