CELANDINE, Chelidonium majus

Celandine Plant

Many times people ask me to write about some particular herb. Sometimes it is difficult, because not much is written about that herb.

In the last hundred years, the people of this country have gotten away from using herbs. The Europeans, on the other hand, have continued to research and study the use of herbs.

Consequently, there are a number of herbs that are widely used in Europe that are not even in American herb books. One of these herbs is celandine or greater celandine. Originally it was brought over from Europe by the pilgrims, but hasn’t been used much.

Celandine is a herbaceous perennial or biennial plants that has a thick fleshy root and likes damp rich soil. It grows from two or three feet tall, has a round slender stem that is rather hairy and has many branches. There are 5 to 7 yellowish-green leaflets to a stem, they are rather large and resemble that of an oak. The joints of stems and branch are rather swollen and break very easily. When any joint or branch is broken it gives off a bright orange-colored juice. This orange juice has a nauseous taste and a strong pungent or disagreeable odor. This juice will stain most anything, including your hands and it is very acid and a powerful irritant.

I can already hear someone saying, if this herb is so strong an acid and an irritant and a stain why bother with it in the first place? I guess that’s right; however, there are some pretty tough diseases that need strong medicine. For example, let me quote Maria Treben from Austria. This is from her book God’s Pharmacy.

“A few years ago I was told of a farmer’s wife who had a red growth, the size of a little finger tip, on the lower eyelid. The eye specialist from whom she wanted a prescription for glasses did not like the looks of it- she had this growth for 7 to 8 years without any pain. He obtained a biopsy. It was cancer. For the young woman, it was a terrible shock as you can well imagine. Since the family belonged to our circle of acquaintances, I was able to bring celandine to her notice. It was February and luckily a mild winter. Celandine stays green, even in winter. I told her to dig out the plant and put it in a pot to have it handy. She had to dab the affected spot with the orange-yellow juice 5 to 6 times a day. Since the growth was on the lower eyelid, I told her it was harmless to the eye. I told her also to go to the X-ray treatment once a month as the physician had ordered, although the rays do not remove cancer like growths but, in fact, destroy still healthy skin and, often, also bones. Shortly before Christmas, I had the pleasure to hear that the growth had disappeared. When the woman came to see me she hugged me at the door. The eye specialist whom she had seen before had asked her in astonishment what she had done. She answered, ‘I had monthly X-ray treatments’. He replied, ‘If X-ray treatments have removed the growth, it is a miracle.”

Celandine is sometimes called swallow wort. One story is that it flourishes in the spring when the swallows come and becomes dormant when the swallows leave in the fall. Another story is that the swallows take the juice from a stem and rub it into the eyes of their babies to strengthen and heal their eyes.

Maurice Messegue of France says that celandine was his father’s favorite herb and his also. He said, “Like so many plants that benefit mankind, celandine I strong doses is a deadly poison. One can drink tea made from this plan in homeopathic doses, that is in very weak doses, but I prescribe it for EXTERNAL USE ONLY, and for such usage it has many virtues.” He said “Celandine is a diuretic and purgative. I recommend it for rheumatism, gout and kidney trouble. It is a specific for jaundice and liver disease.”

Celandine is good for more than skin cancer and eye problems. But remember;

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